A Syrian refugee girl poses with a placard depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad with his children (L) and children who protesters say were killed by government security forces during a protest in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, May 26, 2012, agains
A Syrian refugee girl in Lebanon poses on Saturday with a placard depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad with his own children, left, and other children, right, who demonstrators say were killed by government security forces during an attack by Assad's forces on the Syrian city of Houla. The U.N. reported Saturday that more than 92 people were killed in what activists said was an artillery barrage by government forces. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim

Top officials of the United Nations on Saturday condemned in the strongest possible terms the confirmed killing of dozens of men, women, and children -- and the wounding of hundreds more -- in the village of Houla, outside Homs.

Among the more than 90 civilians killed were 32 children, according to the U.N.

Observers from the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria [or UNSMIS] have viewed the bodies of the dead and confirmed from an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired at a residential neighborhood, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the U.N., and Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the U.N. and the Arab League for Syria, said in a statement.

This appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centers and violence in all its forms, Ki-moon and Annan said.

Those responsible for perpetrating this crime must be held to account, they said.

Gen. Robert Mood, the head of UNSMIS, issued a statement in which he confirmed that U.N. observers had counted the bodies of more than 32 children under the age of 10 and more than 60 adults as a consequence of the attack on Houla.

The U.N. estimates that more than 9,000 people, primarily civilians, have been killed in Syria since the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad began about 14 months ago.