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Syria activists say family of 13 killed in Sunni village

BEIRUT -- Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed at least 13 members of a family in the Sunni Muslim village of Baida today, in what activists said was the second massacre there.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four women and six children were among those killed in the village, which is in a coastal area of central Syria.

“A relative came to look for them today and found the men shot outside. The women and children's bodies were inside a room of the house and residents in the area said some of the bodies were burned,” said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory.

In May, pro-Assad militias killed more than 50 residents of Baida and over 60 locals in the nearby town of Banias. In those killings, some bodies, many of them children, were found burned and mutilated.

Baida is part of a small pocket of Sunni Muslims in the Mediterranean province of Tartous, a stronghold for Assad's own minority Alawite sect.

The two-year-old uprising against four decades of Assad family rule has been led by Syria's Sunni majority. Sectarian clashes and alleged massacres have become increasingly common in a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.

The killings in Baida came a day after a rare eruption of clashes was reported in the area between Assad's forces and the rebels in the coastal enclave.

The British-based Observatory, which has a network of activists across Syria, said all the victims had been executed.

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