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." (Read more Syria stories.)