DAMASCUS: UN observers said Friday they witnessed blood on the walls and "a strong stench of burnt flesh" in the Syria massacre village of Al-Kubeir, heightening Western calls for tough sanctions against Damascus.
The reports of the grim scenes in the Hama province town were relayed from the United Nations in New York as Syrian activists reported more killings overnight.
Twelve people, eight of them women, were killed by Syrian army fire in the southern flashpoint town of Deraa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Diplomats in New York said Britain, France and the United States would quickly draw up a Security Council resolution proposing sanctions against Syria. "We will move fast to press for a resolution," one UN diplomat told.
More than 20 unarmed UN observers were allowed into Al-Kubeir on Friday, a day after they were shot at and prevented from entering the village.
"Inside some of the houses, blood was visible across the walls and floors. Fire was still burning outside houses and there was a strong stench of burnt flesh," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in New York, delivering a grisly account of the visit.
At least 55 people were killed on Wednesday in an assault on Al-Kubeir, according to the Syrian Observatory.
UN officials, unable to confirm that toll, have made it clear they believe government forces and allies were behind the attack on the mainly Sunni Muslim village surrounded by an Allawite population loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
"Armoured vehicle tracks were visible in the vicinity. Some homes were damaged by rockets from armoured vehicles, grenades and a range of calibre weapons," Nesirky said.
Paul Danahar, a BBC correspondent travelling with the UN convoy, reported seeing gutted buildings in Al-Kubeir and no sign of life or bodies.
"In front of me there is a piece of brain, in the corner there is a mass on congealed blood," he wrote on Twitter.
He quoted activists as saying government forces had removed victims' bodies on Thursday while the UN observers were being hindered from reaching the village.
According to preliminary evidence, troops had surrounded Al-Kubeir and militia entered the village and killed civilians with "barbarity", UN chief Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council.
Damascus denied responsibility and, as it has done repeatedly in the past, blamed foreign-backed "terrorists", using its term for rebels fighters.
Violence in Syria during Friday left at least another 26 people dead, mostly civilians, the Syrian Observatory said.
Activists called for protests after weekly Friday prayers under the rallying cry of "Revolutionaries and traders, hand in hand until victory", reaching out to the middle classes in Syria's two main cities of Damascus and Aleppo.
Thousands of people took to the streets in several provinces, activists said, including in the capital where protesters braved a heavy security deployment.
More than 13,500 people have been killed in the crackdown on dissent that followed the eruption in mid-March 2011 of anti-government protests and the increasingly violent insurgency against Assad's regime, the Observatory says.