BEIRUT - Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have killed at least five children during fighting for the town of Nabak north of the capital Damascus, activists said on Sunday.
The fighting in Nabak pits Assad's army and allied militia against rebel factions including two linked to al-Qaida, the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based pro-opposition monitoring group, said five children were shot dead when pro-Assad forces entered Nabak's industrial area.
Activists posted images on social media of the bloodied corpses of five children and said up to seven had been killed. Some blamed a Shi'ite militia for the killings, but this could not be confirmed. The rebels are mostly Sunni Muslims.
"What we know is that they (the children) were killed by shooting," Rami Abdulrahman, the Observatory's director, said.
Reuters could not independently verify the reports.