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The capital itself has been relatively calm, and on Saturday, thousands attended a rally marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of Syria’s ruling Baath party. A large poster of Assad hung from a facade facing a city square and supporters waved Syrian flags.

Saturday’s deadliest fighting was reported in al-Latamneh in the central Hama province. Regime troops stormed the village after shelling it, killing at least 40 people, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Amateur video posted by activists showed al-Latamneh residents crying “Allahu Akbar” as they held up the body of the dead baby. Another video showed the bodies of several men covered in white sheets lined up on the ground.

In the nearby province of Homs, activists reported shelling of the city as well as the rebel-held areas of Rastan, Deir Baalabeh and Qusair.

In all, at least 87 civilians and 16 opposition fighters were killed Saturday, the group said, while 13 unidentified bodies were found in the Deir Baalabeh neighborhood of Homs and 10 in Hreitan, in the northern province of Idlib. The Observatory said two dozen Syrian troops were also killed.

The grassroots Local Coordination Committees put the day’s death toll on the opposition side at 121, including 59 in the Hama area.

The Syrian government restricts access of foreign journalists, and the activists’ accounts could not be independently verified.

Syrian officials said troops arrested large numbers of gunmen and killed “some others” in the Damascus suburbs and in the center of the country. The government said it seized large amounts of weapons and ammunition Saturday. The regime claims the revolt is a foreign-led conspiracy, rejecting its portrayal as a popular uprising.


Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut and Abdullah al-Shihri in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, contributed reporting.