Helicopter gunships and tanks of the Syrian government are believed to have killed as many as 200 villagers in the country's Hama province, making it the 'worst massacre' since the uprisings began more than a year ago to oust President Basshar al-Assad.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Syrian troops, along with the pro-government Shabbiha militia, shelled the village of Treimsa, killing several people. More villagers were shot dead later.
Assad's army also reportedly destroyed a village school.
"The village school was totally destroyed," The Telegraph quoted Hama-based activist Abu Ghazi as saying.
According to the report, bodies of over 30 civilians have been identified but the names of more than 100 still remain unknown.
The state-run SANA news service confirmed that a massacre hit the town of Treimsa but gave no indication of the number of civilians killed.
"There were heavy losses among the ranks of the terrorists," said the report, adding that three soldiers were killed.
The incident comes after the high-profile defection by Syria's former ambassador to Iraq, who urged soldiers in Assad's army to turn their weapons on the regime and "join the ranks of the revolution".