UN monitors blocked from new massacre site in Syria
The body count is at least 70, with some estimates much higher than that. The massacre took place in Hama and activists say that almost half the victims are women and children.
The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday that "dozens" were killed overnight in Mazraat al-Qubair on the outskirts of Hama. But the group, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, is still documenting names.
Another prominent opposition group, the Syrian National Council, tells CBS News at least 70 people were killed in the Hama incident, which they claim strongly resembles what they say happened in Houla at the end of May - when 108 people were killed in shelling and house-to-house raids.
The SNC says, just as in Houla, regime troops first shelled the village in Hama and then government-sponsored militiamen, known as shabiha, came in with guns and knives and killed the civilians, including in this case, they say, 42 women and children.
Assad's regime has denied any responsibility, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, claiming Syrian soldiers entered the village and discovered nine people already dead - their bodies burned - in an abandoned building.
Whatever the truth, Palmer says the killings are bound to play into the debate later Thursday at the United Nations, when Annan will try to convince the world that his peace plan for Syria is not a lost cause.
General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, says that his monitors are being blocked and in some cases, turned away from the massacre site.
Reportedly, Kofi Annan is going to give his peace plan the old college try and attempt to convince the UN to stick with it. He won't get an argument from Russia or China but other Security Council members might not be so accommodating. With the news that there has been another massacre, it just might stir the western nations to action outside of UN management.
What that means is anyone's guess but at the very least, it will probably involve arming the Free Syrian Army and facilitating a civil war in Syria.