More than 80 people were reported killed across Syria on Saturday, 52 of them civilians, as regime forces pressed a protest crackdown three days ahead of a deadline to cease fire and pull back.
Monitors reported the latest deaths despite UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s latest rebuke to Damascus for stepping up its assault on dissent hubs ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
Forty civilians died “in bombardment and shooting on the town of Latamna,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britain-based monitoring group said other civilians were killed in Tibet al-Imam, also in Hama, as well as in the neighbouring province of Homs, where Rastan town was bombed, in Idlib to the northwest and Aleppo in northern Syria.
Sixteen rebels and 12 regime fighters were also killed nationwide, it said, adding that 13 bodies were found in Deir Balaa district of Homs and 10 others extracted from rubble in Hreitan, Aleppo province.
The Observatory said the deaths came after President Bashar al-Assad’s forces launched an overnight assault on Latamna and clashed with members of the rebel Free Syrian Army.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has warned of “alarming” casualties as the Syrian government’s year-long crackdown on dissent — which the United Nations says has killed more than 9,000 people — showed no signs of abating.