Syrian activists are claiming to have discovered more than 200 bodies in a town outside Damascus, apparently killed "execution-style" by the government, according to Reuters.
Abu Kinan, an activist in Daraya, said most of the victims were found in houses and basements of buildings and had been shot by troops conducting house-to-house raids.
Due to restrictions on non-state media, it was impossible to independently verify the accounts.
"In the last hour, 122 bodies were discovered and it appears that two dozen died from sniper fire and the rest were summarily executed by gunshots from close range," Kinan said.
"Assad's army has committed a massacre in Daraya."
The Daraya Coordination Committee activists' group said in a statement that among those found with shots to the head were eight members of the al-Qassaa family: three children, their father and mother and three other relatives.
Their bodies were found in a residential building near Mussab bin Umeir mosque in Daraya, the group said.
Video released by activists showed numerous bodies of young men side-by-side at the Abu Suleiman al-Darani mosque in Daraya, many with what looked like gunshot wounds to the head and chest. [Emphasis added]
The New York Times is reporting the number to be closer to 40 or 50, while al-Arabiya puts it at closer to 300.
The fresh violence erupted a day after new international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi admitted he was “scared” of the enormity of the task he faces to try to end the increasingly ferocious conflict, now in its 18th month.
Brahimi, who takes over from former U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan next month, held talks with U.N. leaders in New York on Friday, saying the Syrian people “will be our first masters.”
Annan, a former U.N. chief, quit earlier this month after the failure of his six-point plan to try to bring peace, which was left in tatters by the relentless bloodshed and divisions among world powers over how to tackle the conflict.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have left the possibility of military intervention on the table, particularly if Syria will become a trafficking site for chemical weapons.
"We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that's a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons," Obama said. "That would change my calculations significantly."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.