A Syrian activist group says 124 people have been killed across the country, including 64 who died while fleeing an embattled area in the central city of Homs.

The deaths were reported Monday by the Local Coordination Committees, one of the main Syrian activist groups.

The group says 64 of those killed Monday were fleeing the area of Baba Amr, a rebel-held neighborhood in Homs. Syrian government forces have been shelling the area for weeks.

Earlier Monday, the government hailed the approval of a new constitution by almost 90 per cent of voters as a success of its democratic reforms.

"The referendum was marked by high turnout despite attempts to terrorize citizens," the state-run news agency SANA quoted Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar as saying. "This democratic process took place in an atmosphere of freedom, transparency and impartiality."
The Interior Ministry said voter turnout was more than 57 per cent.

The opposition boycotted Sunday's referendum on the new constitution, which opens the door for political parties other than the ruling Baath, saying President Bashar Assad would use its results to intensify a military offensive against rebels seeking his overthrow.

Western powers have also dismissed the vote as a farce. "Yesterday's referendum vote has fooled nobody," British Foreign Minister William Hague said. "To open polling stations (while continuing) to open fire on the civilians of the country has no credibility in the eyes of the world."