The bodies of dozens of young men, all apparently executed with shots to the head, were found on Tuesday in a river in a rebel zone of Syria's Aleppo city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
A rebel Free Syrian Army captain at the scene confirmed the discovery, saying that at least 68 bodies had been found and that many were still being dragged from the water.
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Dozens of bodies reportedly exhibited signs of torture, in one of the worst atrocities in Syria's 21-month conflict.
The report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights came as a gruesome video emerged on the internet of a separate slaying of three children who had their throats slashed, also in the capital.
"Thirty bodies were found in the Barzeh district. They bore signs of torture and have so far not been identified," said the Britain-based Observatory.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission, a grassroots network of anti-regime activists, estimated there were 50 bodies, and added "their heads were cut and disfigured to the point that it was no longer possible to identify" them.
The Observatory also reported the killing of the boys, who opposition activists said had been kidnapped the day before at a checkpoint on their way home from school.
These reports could not be verified independently because of media restrictions by the Syrian authorities.
Regime warplanes, meanwhile, bombarded rebel positions on the northeastern and southwestern outskirts of Damascus, leaving eight civilians dead including two children, said the Observatory.
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