Dozens of civilians, mostly women and children, have been reported killed in Syria’s central province of Homs.
Opposition activists have accused Syrian regime forces of carrying out a “massacre” of around 50 people, as part of the yearlong crackdown on antigovernment protesters.
Syrian state-run media have blamed “armed terrorist gangs” for the killings, saying the murders were aimed at discrediting security forces.
Neither claim could not be independently confirmed because of reporting restrictions inside Syria.
Reports of the bloodshed emerged after the UN-Arab League envoy on the Syrian crisis, Kofi Annan, left Damascus without securing a cease-fire deal.
The UN says more than 7,500 people have been killed in the past year of violence. Other estimates put the casualty toll higher.
Meanwhile, big power foreign ministers are expected to discuss their differences over how to respond to the Syrian conflict during talks on March 12 at the United Nations in New York.
Foreign ministers of Russia, the United States, Britain, Germany, and France are gathering at the UN to review the past year's Arab Spring uprisings.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are expected to hold bilateral talks.
China and Russia, a traditional Syrian ally, have blocked Western efforts to approve a Security Council resolution addressing the Syrian crisis.
With Reuters, AP, and AFP reports