DAMASCUS, Syria, June 6 (UPI) -- At least 78 people -- 40 of them women and children -- were killed in the Syrian village of Qubeir Wednesday, opposition activists said.
The Local Coordination Committees of Syria said Syrian government forces carried out the massacre in the village of about 200 people in Hama province, CNN reported.
Lt. Khaled Ali of the rebel Free Syrian Army's military council in Hama said Qubeir was home to 10 families, and the Local Coordination Committees said 35 of those killed were from one family.
A spokesman for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of deaths had been confirmed but a final count would not be available "until all names have been confirmed," CNN reported.
Citing reports by activists, the U.S. news network said regime forces in tanks shelled the village, and forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar Assad then killed the villagers with knives and guns.
Ali said the militia forces came from two neighboring villages that support Assad.
Syrian state television said government forces sent to Qubeir following the massacre "raided a terrorist cell and killed a number of them and confiscated their weapons."
The official state media said the massacre was carried out as a means "to pressure Syria" one day ahead of planned U.N. General Assembly and Security Council meetings on Syria, CNN reported.