45 Women and Children Stabbed, Burned in Homs
Government killings also reported in Idlib, other locations
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2012 6:27 AM CDT
Armed Syrian men sit in a street in the city of Rastan, near the flashpoint city of Homs, on March 9, 2012 which has been bombed by Syrian forces intermittently since February 5. AFP PHOTO/STR   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Just hours after Kofi Annan told the press yesterday that he was "optimistic" about the chances for peace in Syria, at least 45 women and children were massacred in Homs, reports CNN. Opposition activists said that government forces broke into people's homes, stabbing them and burning the bodies. Syria's official news agency blamed "terrorist gangs" for the killings, as has been its habit, but most reports leaking from the country continue to say that civilians are being slaughtered in a bid to do away with dissidents who want Bashar al-Assad out.

Another 25 were reported killed in Idlib yesterday. "After shelling the city, security forces began a house-to-house search for activists and protesters," a resident of that city told al-Jazeera. "And soldiers have been granted complete freedom to loot everything from homes and shops."