The Syrian government on Thursday denied having carried out a massacre in the central Hama region where around 100 people were reported to have been killed Wednesday.
"What a few media have reported on what happened in Al-Kubeir, in the Hama region, is completely false," the government said in a statement on official television.
"A terrorist group committed a heinous crime in the Hama region which claimed nine victims. The reports by the media are contributing to spilling the blood of Syrians," the statement said.
The opposition Syrian National Council told AFP earlier that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad "massacred" about 100 people, including many women and children, at al-Kubeir on Wednesday.
Other sources also reported that a "massacre" had taken place in the same area, including opposition activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tentatively put the number of dead at 87.
Pro-regime shabiha militia armed with guns and knives carried out the "new massacre" at a farm after shelling by regular troops, the Britain-based Observatory said in a statement.