Dozens of civilians in Syria's city of Homs were killed in cold blood, the government and opposition said, disputing responsibility for what both sides called a massacre.
State media in Damascus, which often ignores activists' claims, confirmed killings in Homs on Monday but blamed "armed terrorists" as it frequently calls those behind the uprising.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 16 people were killed Sunday night in Homs, while the Local Co-ordination Committees said 45 were killed. Both groups said children were among the dead.
The carnage in Homs followed the army's launch of an assault on Idlib city in the northwest and coincided with the first visit to Syria by UN-Arab League envoy Annan, who was seeking agreement on a ceasefire, humanitarian access and political dialogue.
According to Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, government forces are pressing on with new offensives in other parts of central and northern Syria.
Reporting from Idlib, McNaught described the bombing as "earth-shaking and relentless."
She compared the battle for Idlib with the fight for the Libyan city of Benghazi, the opposition stronghold played a key role in the uprising against the late Muammar Gaddafi. Read more at AlJazeera...