Amnesty International on Wednesday (September 19th) accused Syrian government forces of waging "relentless, indiscriminate" attacks against the Syrian people.
The London-based rights group said "civilians, many of them children, are the main victims of a campaign of relentless and indiscriminate attacks by the Syrian army."
Amnesty said the findings are based on "first-hand field investigations carried out in the first half of September".
During that period, attacks killed "166 civilians, including 48 children and 20 women, and injured hundreds in 26 towns and villages" in the north-western regions of Idlib and Jabal al-Zawiya, and in the northern area of Hama.
Amnesty said it has new evidence "of a pattern which has emerged in recent weeks in areas where government forces, pushed into retreat by opposition forces, are now indiscriminately bombing and shelling lost territory -- with disastrous consequences for the civilian population".
Civilians are being "killed or injured in their homes, while running for cover, or in the very places where they had sought refuge from the bombardments", Amnesty said.
The report cited the September 16th killings in which eight civilians, including five children, were killed and many more injured in a series of air strikes in Kafr Awayed in Jabal al-Zawiya. Seven of the victims were reportedly killed at a wedding party and in nearby houses, and a six-year-old boy was killed while buying bread.
Such attacks constitute "war crimes", the group said, calling on the UN Security Council to refer the conflict to the International Criminal Court.
The group also warned armed opposition groups that the "fact that government forces violate [international humanitarian law] does not excuse similar grave violations on their part".
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 173 people were killed in Syria on Tuesday, with more than 27,000 fatalities since the conflict broke out in March 2011. The United Nations puts the toll at over 20,000.