More than 200 people have been killed in an attack on the Syrian village of Tremseh, opposition activists say.
If confirmed, it would be the bloodiest single event in the Syrian conflict.
Residents said the village, in Hama province, was attacked with helicopter gunships and tanks, and later by the pro-government Shabiha militia, who carried out execution-style killings.
State media blamed “terrorist groups” who were trying to raise tension ahead of a key UN Security Council meeting.
The mandate for the UN’s observer mission to Syria expires on 20 July.
UN observers are now trying to get to Tremseh to investigate the killings.
Some 16,000 people are thought to have been killed since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in March 2011.
Individual reports of casualties often cannot be independently verified, as Syria severely restricts journalists’ freedom of movement.
Reports suggest the army was trying to take back Tremseh after it had fallen into rebel hands.