Syria activists, state media say many feared dead near Damascus after attack by Islamic rebels

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Syria's state media and an opposition activist group say many civilians are feared dead in a town near Damascus after parts of it were captured by Islamic rebels.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it has documented the names of 19 civilians killed by hard-liners over the past two days in Adra, northeast of Damascus.

The Observatory says the civilians were minority Alawite and Druse.

Syrian Minister of Social Affairs Kinda Shammat described on Friday what happened in Adra as a "massacre."

The TV and other state-run media are blaming "terrorists" for the killings, a term used by the government to refer to opposition fighters.

Shammat told Syrian TV that the army was now carrying out an operation in the area, an industrial section of the town.