BEIRUT, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Opposition activists said security forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad killed more than 40 people in a small town outside Damascus on Wednesday, calling it a massacre.

The 18-month-old uprising against Assad's rule has descended into civil war of late and grown increasingly bloody.

Video published by activists showed rows of bloodied corpses wrapped in blankets. The victims shown on camera appeared to be male, from 20-year-olds to elderly men.

"A massacre in the Dhiyabia area," says the voice of an activist in one video. "God damn you, Bashar. The bodies are in the dozens. Look, Muslims, look what this dictator is doing."

In one of the videos uploaded by activists, some of the men appeared to have been shot in the forehead, face or neck.

The assailants may have been rounding up potential rebel fighters. Some activists said women and children were also among the dead, but there was no footage of them available.

Activists said the number of killed in the town of al-Dhiyabia, southeast of the capital, might reach as high as 107. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group with a network of activists across the country, said it could only confirm 40 dead.

The activists' reports could not be verified because the Damascus government restricts foreign media access in Syria.

The Observatory says more than 30,000 people have been killed in the year and half of violence. More than 7,000 of those were soldiers, it said, while the rest were civilians, gunmen and army defectors. (Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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  • Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover in a building during clashes against the Syrian Army in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • In this Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, photo, a Syrian shouts slogans against the regime in front of a flag of the armed Islamic opposition group, the Nusra front, during a demonstration in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. Arabic from the Quran reads, "There is not God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger." (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • In this Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, photo, a Syrian man looks at his mobile phone in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday that nearly 30,000 Syrians have been killed during the 18-month uprising against the Assad regime. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • In this Saturday Sept. 22, 2012, photo, a Free Syrian Army soldier stands next to a dead body in front of Dar el-Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria. Partial translation in Arabic reads, "Free Syrian Army." (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • In this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, photo, Syrian children laugh on a truck, as they flee with their family, due to fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces, in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • Two Syrian men work at a bakery in the Saif al Dawla neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • A Free Syrian Army soldier aims his weapon in Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • A Free Syrian Army soldier looks out a window at a buliding in Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • In this Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, file photo, a wounded woman, still in shock, leaves Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria. Two months into the battle for Syria's largest city, civilians are still bearing the brunt of the daily assaults of helicopter gunships, roaring jets and troops fighting in the streets. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo, File)

  • Free Syrian Army fighter takes a rest in a hole on a building during an attack on Syrian Army positions in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • A Syrian woman cries near Dar El Shifa hospital while the body of her son, killed by the Syrian Army, lies on the street in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • A woman cries near the body of her brother in front of Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter holds a rocket-propelled grenade launcher while taking cover after a tank blast in Aleppo, Syria, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)