Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has announced 7 May as the date for parliamentary election to be held, Reuters has reported.

Following a visit by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, Assad issued a decree setting the date for the elections that were delayed last year.

The vote is part of a stack of reforms announced by Assad in a bid to calm a year-long uprising against his regime. Earlier this week, Annan said he was waiting for a response from Assad on "concrete proposals".

"Once I receive their answer, we will know how to react," he said.

The opposition dismissed the move as a cynical bid to cling on power. "That Assad announced parliamentary elections is just more proof that he is not willing to share power," tweeted activist Shakeeb al-Jabri.

Meanwhile, the New York-based Human Rights Watch denounced the Syrian regime for planting landmines near its borders with Lebanon and Turkey along routes used by refugees escaping from the massacre.

The Syrian National Council, the main opposition group, has called for an immediate emergency meeting at the UN after footage emerged of 57 men, women and children who were massacred in Homs.