UN observers investigate reported Syria massacre

BEN HUBBARD
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This image made from amateur video from Hama Revolution 2011 and accessed by AP video Friday, July 13, 2012 purports to show families gathered around bodies of victims killed by violence that, according to anti-regime activists, was carried out by government forces in Tremseh, Syria, about 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the central city of Hama. Anti-regime activists in Syria said Friday that government gunners rained shells on a poor, farming village before armed thugs moved in, leaving scores of people dead in what rebels claim is one of the worst single days of bloodshed in the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo/ Hama Revolution 2011 via AP video)

BEIRUT (AP) — A U.N. spokesman says U.N. observers in Syria have entered a central village where government forces reportedly killed dozens of people this week.

Ahmad Fawzi, a spokesman for the mission in Syria, said Saturday an 11-vehicle observer team entered the village of Tremseh to "seek verification of the facts." He said they went in after the U.N. was informed that a cease-fire there was in place.

Anti-regime activists say government troops surrounded the village on Thursday and shelled it before they entered with pro-regime thugs and killed people in the streets. They say they have confirmed the deaths of 150 people and that many more are missing.

The government says 50 were killed but denies its troops caused the deaths.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Turkey's prime minister has warned Syrian leaders that the Syrian people will "make them pay" for massacres like the reported killing of dozens in a farming village by government forces this week.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls the killings an attempted "genocide" and says such acts of violence are "the footsteps of a regime that is on its way out."

World leaders have heaped criticism on President Bashar Assad's regime for the mass killings Thursday in the village of Tremseh.

Activists say they have confirmed the deaths of more than 150 people at the hands of regime forces. Many more remain missing. The government says 50 were killed but denies its troops caused the deaths.

Activists say more than 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising's start in March 2011.