Syrian opposition leaders raised the death toll to 260 in a military assault on Saturday on the ravaged central city of Homs, an attack that they described as the government’s deadliest in the nearly 11-month-old uprising. ..

Accounts by activists, independently basing their information on what they described as contacts in Homs, said the barrage was apparently unleashed after defectors attacked two military checkpoints and kidnapped soldiers. One activist put the number of abducted soldiers at 13, another 19. They suggested that enraged commanders then ordered the assault, which lasted from about 9 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday, focusing on the neighborhood of Khaldiya. Five other neighborhoods were also assaulted…

“It’s a real massacre in every sense of the word,” said a resident in Khaldiya, who gave his name as Abu Jihad. “I saw bodies of women and children lying on roads beheaded. It’s horrible and inhuman. It was a long night helping people get to hospitals.”…

“The army has weapons, and the people have weapons,” one opposition activist said on condition of anonymity, recounting Saturday’s bloodshed. “Syria is finished for me. It is a civil war, and nothing will save us anymore.”