(Reuters) - At least 48 people including rebel fighters have been killed in Syrian government air bombardments around a town in the central province of Homs, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.
Two days of air strikes left women and children among the dead, including a mother who was killed along with five of her children, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of sources.
Around a dozen fighters and multiple rebel commanders were also confirmed killed in the bombardment, which targeted Talbiseh, a town north of the city of Homs on the country's main north-south highway.
In May, Syrian rebels had abandoned their last stronghold in the heart of Homs city, which had been an epicenter of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
The death toll from the bombardment on Talbiseh - which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday - is expected to rise because dozens of people including children were in critical condition, the Observatory said.
More than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria's conflict and millions more displaced, according to the United Nations. The conflict began more than three years ago as a peaceful protest movement and turned into civil war after a government crackdown.