Syrian activists said on Friday that more than 200 people had been killed in Hama province amid reports of a massacre by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Witnesses said most of the dead, in the village of Tremseh, were civilians.
Unverified video uploaded to a social media website purportedly showed wounded survivors from the shelling.
Activists said the village, about 10 kilometres from the city of Hama, was attacked by helicopter gunships and tanks. Reports said the deadly Shabbiha militia then moved in, carrying out execution-style killings.
If confirmed, Thursday’s massacre would be the worst of the 16-month-old uprising.
Syrian state TV blamed “armed terrorist groups” for the deaths.