(LONDON) — The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of committing a massacre of civilians in the southern town of Sanamayn.
According to the British-based human rights group, at least 60 people were killed in the onslaught, although a news blackout in the country made the claim difficult to verify immediately.
Rebel forces have taken control of towns near Sanamayn, which is situated between Damascus and Dara’a, the city where government forces began the first crackdown on Syrians demanding democracy in March 2011.
The assault on Sanamayn, which began earlier this week, involved shelling which then progressed to soldiers going house-to-house to perform executions, according to anti-government activists, including the main political opposition group, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
Al-Assad’s opponents called the alleged massacre revenge killings for territorial gains made by the insurgency.
There was no report of an attack on Sanamayn by Syria’s state-run media.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Don Melvin, Joshua Berlinger and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Chieu Luu and Huizhong Wu, CNN