Gunmen backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have killed seven members of a reconciliation team working in Homs province.
The killings happened Monday in the village of Hajar Abyad. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the area is a stronghold for pro-government militia, and that the men were Sunni Muslims.
The reconciliation committee members were part of an effort to convince warring parties in Syria to halt the fighting that has stretched on for more than two years.
Homs is located at a strategic crossroad linking the capital, Damascus, with army bases in coastal regions controlled by Mr. Assad's Alawite sect. The Alawites are an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that has dominated majority Sunni Syria for decades.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.