Ten children were among at least 48 people killed in a Syrian village earlier this week as regime forces executed the families of five alleged rebels, a monitoring group said Saturday.
The killings took place in the village of Rityan, north of second city Aleppo, which regime forces entered on Tuesday during an offensive aimed at cutting rebel supply lines to the Turkish border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Britain-based monitoring group said that villagers had discovered the bodies of those killed when they returned to their homes after the regime forces pulled back on Wednesday.
The wives of the five alleged rebel fighters were also among the dead.
"The troops and militiamen knew exactly where they lived thanks to the informers who accompanied them," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
"There was no resistance except in one house where a rebel opened fire at troops before being executed along with his family," he added.
Activist Mamun Abu Omar said some of the bodies of the dead had been mutilated.
The brief seizure of Rityan was part of an abortive offensive launched by the army this week to try to encircle the rebel-held east of Aleppo and relieve two besieged Shiite villages to its north.
By Friday all but one of the villages taken by government forces in the initial fighting had been recaptured by the rebels, who include fighters of Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front.
The heavy fighting claimed the lives of 129 regime loyalists and 116 rebels, including an Al-Nusra commander, according to an Observatory toll.