Syrian opposition forces claim that government forces killed more than 80 people in one town on Wednesday, with more than half of the victims being women and children. Details are still sketchy and unconfirmed, but the Syrian National Council tells the BBC that there has been a massacre in the small villages of al-Qubair and Maarzaf in the province of Hawa, where victims were "executed with guns and knives." CNN's Araw Damon tweets that al-Qubair has a population of just 150 people, but that half the population may have been "slaughtered."
More than 100 people were killed in an earlier attack on May 25, when government troops shelled the town of Houla — an incident marked by student protesters in the picture above — prompting nations all over Europe to expel their Syrian ambassadors and increase calls for Western intervention. Next week will mark two months since an April 12 U.N.-negotiated "cease-fire" that has been routinely ignored by Bashar al-Assad's security forces. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is scheduled to present a new peace proposal to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday. The latest massacre also comes on the same Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a "Friends of Syria" meeting in Washington to discuss the possibility of further sanctions.