More than 200 people, mostly civilians, were massacred when Syrian government forces shelled and stormed a village on Thursday in the restive central area of Hama, opposition activists said.
Abu Omar, a military official of the Free Syrian Army in Hama, told DPA that the village of Tremseh, mainly a Sunni area, was heavily shelled and stormed by government forces carrying out executions inside the village.
“More than 220 people were killed, and some 300 others were wounded,” Abu Omar said.
Syrian state television said three security personnel were killed during the fighting in Teraymissha and accused “armed terrorist groups” of committing a massacre there.
A villager who managed to escape the area told Al Jazeera that Alawite militiamen, who strongly support the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, entered after Syrian rebels retreated from the area and committed the massacre. The survivor said that houses and even mosques were set ablaze by the government forces.
Free Syrian Army chief Riad Al-Assad urged all Syrians to observe a general strike on Friday to denounce the massacre.
If confirmed, the massacre would be the deadliest since the uprising erupted in March 2011. Seventy eight people were shot or stabbed dead on June 6, 2012 in the village of Mazraat al-Qubeir, while 108 men, women and children were massacred on May 25, 2012 in the town of Houla.
The new massacre allegation came as the United Nations Security Council met for a first round of discussion on separate draft resolutions on Syria, submitted by Russia and Western nations.
Russia’s draft proposes a 90-day extension for UN military observers in Syria. The Western proposal offers a 45-day extension with sanctions within 10 days if Damascus fails to end the violence.
Diplomats attending the closed-door discussion said the council was expected to vote next week to extend the three-month observer mission, which expires on July 20, 2012.