The ongoing protest against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria has taken a bad turn with residents and activists discovering mass graves in and around Deraa city. Four villagers contacted the city defense force upon finding collective graves near wheat fields, reported Reuters on Tuesday.

The graves containing as many as 26 dead bodies including that of an unidentified woman and a child were buried under heaps of mud. Decomposed bodies were unearthed using shovels and mechanical diggers. The Syrian government, calling it a campaign of incitement and totally false information, denied any existence of mass graves in the city, reported Syrian state news agency, Sana.

Another local official was quoted saying five dead bodies have been discovered in the town on Sunday by the same news agency. With the discovery of mass graves in Deraa City, it becomes very hard to ignore the need for immediate action by the international community to prevent further bloodshed in the country, said Ausama Monajed, a member of the opposition umbrella group, the National Initiative for Change.

The reports however remain unverified as the authorities have denied access to international media operating in Syria, a Reuters report said. As the Military assault continues in Tel Kelakh, a city on the northern Lebanese border, activists said scores of people have been arrested and at least 700 civilians killed so far. Assad's forces have been firing at several neighborhoods in the city of 30,000 people in an effort to crackdown the protests, which the United States has condemned as barbaric.

The government, however, has blamed most of the violence on Islamists and outside powers, who, it said, are backing armed groups which have killed more than 120 soldiers and police officials so far.