Hama Massacre: Qubair, Syria, Site Of Fresh Violence, According To Unconfirmed Reports

Reports: New Massacre In Syria

BEIRUT, June 6 (Reuters) - Activists said pro-government militia men and security forces killed at least 78 people, including children, in Syria's central province of Hama on Wednesday.

Some of those killed in the village of Mazraat al-Qubair were stabbed to death, the activists said, and at least 12 bodies had been burned.

The unconfirmed reports suggest that at least 40 victims were women and children.

According to CNN, an activist reported that the Syrian army shelled Qubair for an hour on Wednesday evening. The anonymous activist said that "militias loyal to the regime raided the village and began executing people using knives and AK-47s."

An activist told the BBC's Robin Lustig that there were "Dozens of civilians killed with knives."

Qubair is a small farming village with a population of just 150 located 12 miles from Hama.

If confirmed, the renewed violence will be the second massacre in Syria in less than two weeks. In May, over 100 people, including dozens of women and children, were killed in Houla, Homs province.

Both massacres have happened 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.

"The Syrian Observatory for Human rights calls on the international monitors to go immediately to the area. They should not wait to tomorrow to investigate this new massacre," the British-based Observatory said in a statement.

"They should not give the excuse that their mission is only to observe the ceasefire, because many massacres have been committed during their presence in Syria."

This is a developing story, please stay tuned for updates.

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