An attack by Islamist rebels has left at least 10 people dead over the past two days in the Syrian town of Adra, activists and eyewitnesses say.
Most of the victims were from minority sects, reports said.
State media said on Friday that the army had launched a "broad offensive" in the direction of Adra.
Pro-government forces are thought to have been behind most recorded massacres in Syria, but rebels have also been accused of atrocities.
Adra and the surrounding area have been the scene of heavy fighting between government and rebels in recent days.
Adra, around 21km (13 miles) from Damascus, is a religiously mixed town and reports say many of the civilians killed were from the same Alawite minority as President Bashar al-Assad, as well as some belonging to the Druze community.