Pro-regime forces were held responsible once again for killing dozens of civilians, including women and children, across Syria in an attack Saturday, in a human rights watchdog group report.
At least 83 civilians died Saturday, including 20 killed in a pre-dawn shelling of the southern town of Daraa, in regime-sponsored attacks, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. Dozens more were hurt, some of them in critical condition, in the attacks that occurred in a city considered the birthplace of the 15-month-old uprising.
In the central Homs province, 29 people died in the attacks by the government forces, the UK-based observatory said.
The new report echoes two earlier reports of the regime-sponsored bloodbath in which Shabbiha militia, a group loyal to the President Bashar al-Assad's government, massacred about 200 civilians in two separate incidents in central province of Hama, and in Houla, a cluster of villages in Homs.
The uprising has resulted in the killing of more than 13,500 people so far, most of them civilians.
Shabbiha, considered an Alawite group with Shi'ite leanings, has allegedly been responsible for the killings of civilians belonging to the Sunni majority.
Meanwhile, the UNSC stands divided on the issue of military intervention in Syria, with Russia and China insisting on reaching a solution through negotiations with the Syrian government.
The Syrian opposition and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights have called on the U.N. monitors to investigate the findings.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for broadening the international meeting to include Iran and Turkey while supporting the U.N. envoy Kofi Annan's peace deal. Lavrov said such a meeting was necessary for all external players to reach an honest consensus without double standards.
Beijing reiterated the Russian stance when Chinese President Hu Jintao called for international support for Annan's peace plan.
Both China and Russia blocked two UNSC resolutions calling for tougher actions against the Syrian regime and declared that they were decisively against a military intervention in what they felt was Syria's domestic crisis.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday urged China and Russia to cooperate and end the 15-month-long Syrian crisis during a joint press conference in Georgia with President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Washington has offered its support for an Arab proposal to invoke the U.N. Charter's Chapter VII, which authorizes the UNSC to take action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.