The United Nations has condemned the massacre of 92 civilians including 32 children in Syria.
While Syrian state TV blamed “armed terrorist gangs”, a spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon and international envoy Kofi Annan accused the Syrian government of carrying out a “brutal” breach of international law.
UN observers have visited the town of Houla in Homs province to see for themselves the bodies of the dead from Friday’s violence.
Head of the UN monitoring mission to Syria Major General Robert Mood said: “The death of 32 innocent children, lots of women and men but in particular the children, is an unacceptable attack on the future and on the aspirations of the Syrian people. Whomever started, whomever responded, whomever contributed to it.”
The rebel Free Syrian Army has warned that the shaky ceasefire which began last month is as good as over, while the Syrian National Council has called for international air strikes on government forces.
Friday’s violence, some of the worst since the uprising began, is likely to top the agenda at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday.