Geneva: Peace envoy Kofi Annan said on Friday he was "shocked and appalled" at reports that tanks and helicopters slaughtered more than 150 during a massacre in a Syria village.

"I condemn these atrocities in the strongest possible terms," he said in a statement.

"I am shocked and appalled by news coming out of the village of Treimsa, near Hama, of intense fighting, significant casualties, and the confirmed use of heavy weaponry such as artillery, tanks and helicopters," said Annan.

The joint UN-Arab League mediator said that it was "desperately urgent that this violence and brutality stops".     It was "more important than ever that governments with influence exert it more effectively to ensure that the violence ends immediately," he added.

The latest incident "is in violation of the (Syrian) government's undertaking to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and its commitment to the six-point plan" said Annan.

UN observers were "ready to go in and seek verification of the facts, if and when circumstances permit," he added.

Annan is just back from talks in Damascus, Tehran and Baghdad. His comments come ahead of a meeting next Monday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.


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