Media outlets for rebel groups in Syria claim troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are burning women and children alive in Aleppo.
Pro-rebel news source Aleppo 24 claims Assad’s forces have burnt alive nine children and four women in recent days and have also used firing squads in a killing spree which has claimed the lives of "at least 80" non-combatants.
The United Nations, citing local media, has released its own report saying at least 82 civilians have been murdered by pro-government forces in Aleppo in recent days.
The UN says the civilians were killed execution-style and many of the victims were women and children.
Government forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad are poised to retake rebel-held areas of Aleppo, but thousands of civilians are still trapped in the eastern part of the city.
Facing bombardment as the Syrian forces close in, the New York Times is reporting that some of the civilians have no shelter to shield them from the barrage.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed his "grave concern" for the plight of the civilians, while making clear it's the responsibility of "the Syrian government and its allies" to uphold the law.
His statement reads: "The Secretary-General is alarmed over reports of atrocities against a large number of civilians, including women and children, in recent hours in Aleppo.
"While stressing that the United Nations is not able to independently verify these reports, the Secretary-General is conveying his grave concern to the relevant parties.
"He has instructed his Special Envoy for Syria to follow up urgently with the parties concerned.
"The United Nations underlines the obligation of all parties on the ground to protect civilians and abide by international humanitarian and human rights law.
"This is particularly the responsibility of the Syrian Government and its allies."