June 6 - ***GRAPHIC IMAGES*** Amateur video purportedly from Hama shows the aftermath of an attack by pro-Assad forces. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
*****STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES***** ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Activists said pro-Assad forces killed at least 78 people, including children, in Syria's central province of Hama on Wednesday (June 6). Some of those killed in the village of Mazraat al-Qabeer were stabbed to death, the activists said, and at least 12 bodies had been burned. Some activists who spoke to Reuters said at least 40 of the victims were women and children. Unverified video posted on Wednesday on a social media website purports to show a burned out house and charred corpses. Syria's 15-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule has grown increasingly bloody in recent months, raising concerns the country may be slipping towards civil war. The killings came less than two weeks after a massacre in the Syrian town of Houla, in which security forces and pro-Assad militia men known as 'shabbiha' killed 108 people, nearly half of them children. Syrian forces had been shelling Mazraat al-Qabeer and the nearby village of Maazarif, which are around 20 km (12 miles) from the central city of Hama. Both massacres took place in the presence of United Nations observers, a 300-strong force sent into Syria to observe a ceasefire deal brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan. The truce was hardly observed by the government or the rebels, who last week said they would no longer honor the ceasefire because of recent killings. There was no comment from the government, and events on the ground are difficult to verify as Syria tightly restricts access to international media. Activists called for an immediate investigation.