Activists in Syria have reported the deaths of up to 100 people, including children, in the country’s central province of Hama.
They claim pro-government militia men and security forces led an attack on two villages some 20 kilometres from Hama city.
Several of the victims had been stabbed to death and at least 12 bodies burned.
In the Mediterranean province of Latakia, the Syrian army has continued its offensive against rebel positions. Dozens are said to have been killed over the past two days.
Although all footage posted on the internet is difficult to verify, Syria’s 15-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule appears to have grown increasingly bloody in recent months.
In Turkey, at a meeting of British, French and Arab foreign ministers, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a transition strategy in Syria which must include Assad handing over power.
Clinton earlier gave a cool response to Russian proposals to include Iran in future talks and renewed calls for Moscow and Beijing to exert influence over Assad to end the bloodshed.