Damascus: Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad "massacred" about 100 people, including many women and children, at a village in central Syria, the opposition Syrian National Council has said.

"We have 100 deaths in the village of Al-Kubeir" in Syria's central Hama province yesterday, "among them 20 women and 20 children," said Mohammed Sermini, spokesman for the exiled opposition coalition who accused the regime of being behind the "massacre."

Other sources also reported that a "massacre" had taken place in the same area, including opposition activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tentatively put the number of dead at 87.

Pro-regime shabiha militia armed with guns and knives carried out the "new massacre" at a farm after shelling by regular troops, the Britain-based Observatory said in a statement.

"What is certain is that dozens of people died, including women and children," the watchdog's Rami Abdel Rahman told.

Both Sermini and the Observatory urged UN observers to immediately head to the region to investigate the latest atrocity in Syria's 15-month uprising against Assad's embattled regime.

At least 108 people were killed in a two-day massacre that began on May 25 near the central town of Houla, most of them women and children who were summarily executed, according to the United Nations.

The reports came after Russia and China said they were "decisively against" intervention or regime change in Syria, as Arab and Western calls mounted for strong international action in the conflict.

The United States endorsed an Arab proposal to invoke the UN Charter's tough Chapter VII, while refraining from supporting its powers to initiate military intervention.


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