United Nations monitors stationed in Syria arrived Friday (June 8th) at the site of a "new massacre" while more than 20 people died in clashes across the country, AFP reported.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 55 people -- including 18 women and children -- were killed Wednesday in an assault on Kubeir, Hama province.
On Thursday, UN observers were fired upon as they tried to reach the scene of the massacre, where armed men, known as shabiha, hacked, stabbed and shot residents as they tried to flee, the Observatory said.
"The observers first headed to the village of Maarzaf where the victims were buried and then to Kubeir to survey the damage from army shelling," said activist Abdel Karim al-Hamwi.
Preliminary evidence in Friday's investigation revealed that Syrian government forces surrounded Kubeir on Wednesday as militiamen entered the village, killing civilians with "barbarity", UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
However, Damascus denied responsibility for the killings, blaming foreign-backed terrorists instead.
Meanwhile, government and opposition forces clashed in a district of Damascus as scores of protests were held across the country.
And at least 20 people were killed in the ongoing violence, including in the opposition-held district of Khaldiyeh, Homs province, which underwent "the most violent shelling it has seen since the revolt began", the Observatory said.