Syrian troops pounded opposition areas on Saturday, activists said, killing 53 people in an offensive that has sent thousands of refugees surging into Turkey before next week’s U.N.-backed ceasefire aimed at staunching a year of bloodshed.
Each side has accused the other of intensifying assaults in the run-up to the truce due to take effect early on Thursday if government forces begin pulling back from towns 48 hours earlier in line with U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan.
The military shelled Deir Baalba district in the restive city of Homs, killing four people, the grassroots Local Coordination Committees opposition group said. Thirteen men were also found killed in cold blood in the same area, it said.
Amateur activist video showed scenes of carnage said to be the aftermath of the shelling. Mangled limbs and body parts in blankets were being loaded on a pick-up truck. A second video showed 13 men who appeared to have been tied up and executed.
No comment was immediately available from Syrian officials. The videos could not be independently verified. The government has placed tight restrictions on media access in Syria.