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A U.N. human rights report released last week said the civil war increasingly is a sectarian conflict between rebels from the country’s Sunni Muslim majority and government forces largely supported by the country’s religious and ethnic minorities.

The Observatory said Syrian army helicopters bombed the town of Talbiseh, in the central province of Homs, killing at least 14 people, five under the age of 18. The Local Coordination Committees said the attacks targeted a makeshift hospital and a bakery.

Reports by anti-regime activists about a government airstrike Sunday in the rebel-held central town of Halfaya that killed scores of people also cast pall over Mr. Brahimi’s visit.

Some activists said the strike had targeted a bakery. Amateur videos posted online showed the bodies of many dead and wounded scattered in a street. The videos appeared to be genuine and corresponded with other AP reporting.

The Observatory for Human Rights said Monday it had collected the names of 40 men and three women killed in Halfaya.

The group also reported seeing photos of the dead bodies of 15 more unknown men. On Sunday, it reported 60 dead.