An attack on a Syrian village on Tuesday killed or injured around 200 members of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority sect, activists said, but it remained unclear who was behind the assault.

Casualty counts varied, but several activists said they could confirm 10 dead. They blamed Assad's forces for the attack, which they said involved the shelling of a house in which at least 200 Alawites were hiding.

The opposition-linked Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 125 were hurt or killed in a series of explosions that destroyed several houses in the town of Aqrab. There were no reports on Syria's state media.

The circumstances of the attacks were unclear and impossible to verify independently. Syrian authorities tightly restrict the activities of journalists.

Wounded children, apparently Alawites from Aqrab, appeared at an opposition field hospital in the town of al-Houla, a few kilometers away, where they were interviewed by activists in videos published on YouTube.

Three young boys interviewed said they and at least 200 other people had been held inside a house as human shields by militias loyal to Assad.

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