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Syrian Activists Report Scores Dead in Homs Massacre

Photos of mutilated corpses of women and children in Karm el-Zeytoun were posted online hours after UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan departed Damascus empty-handed.


Syrian activists on Sunday reported a "massacre" in the formerly rebel-held Homs neighborhood of Karm el-Zeytoun. Photos posted online by activists show children with gaping head wounds. (WARNING: Extremely graphic images.) Reuters reported that both the government and activists acknowledged the killings were done "in cold blood," but disputed who was responsible.

The Associated Press reported that activists blamed the attacks on "shabiha," a word used to describe armed militias. Syrian government media acknowledged the killings but blamed them on "terrorists" who hope to "bring international condemnation to the regime" in advance of a United Nations Security Council meeting today. Hadi Abdullah, an activists, said "Syrian forces and thugs" were responsible, according to CNN.

Different activist groups gave different counts of the dead, the AP said. The Local Coordination Committee, an activist group, pegged Monday's dead count at 108, with 70 dead in Homs, 45 of which it attributed to the massacre.

Today, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet in New York at a UN Security Council meeting reviewing the Arab Spring so far. The AP said "much attention" will be paid to a private meeting between the two diplomats, who have previously sparred over efforts to end Syria's violence.

Hours before the alleged massacre, Kofi Annan, the joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, left Damascus without any agreement to end the violence. Opposition leaders and president Bashar al-Assad ruled out a ceasefire, the BBC reported.