News / Middle East

Activists: Syrian Government Shelling Leaves 90 Dead

The bodies of people purportedly killed by Syrian government security forces are laid out in Houla near Homs May 26, 2012.
The bodies of people purportedly killed by Syrian government security forces are laid out in Houla near Homs May 26, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Edward Yeranian
Syrian opposition forces say more than 90 people, many of them children, have been killed in a coordinated assault on a village outside the city of Homs by government artillery and militiamen. Government officials do not deny the massacre but blame unidentified "terrorists" for one of the deadliest incidents since the start of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's administration more than a year ago.

Amateur video

Handout photo released by Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows UN observers at hospital morgue before their burial in central Syrian town of Houla on May 26, 2012.Handout photo released by Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows UN observers at hospital morgue before their burial in central Syrian town of Houla on May 26, 2012.
x
Handout photo released by Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows UN observers at hospital morgue before their burial in central Syrian town of Houla on May 26, 2012.
Handout photo released by Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows UN observers at hospital morgue before their burial in central Syrian town of Houla on May 26, 2012.
Amateur video shows families burying the dead from Friday's massacre between several long rows of cinder blocks. As elsewhere in Syria, emotions in the cluster of towns that make up Houla are running high.

Witnesses say the killing began when government forces shelled the village of Teldau soon after Friday prayers. Opposition activists say some of the victims, many of whom are children, were killed in the shelling, while others were shot by pro-government militiamen known as “shabiha.”

A woman resident of Teldau claims on a video distributed by opposition forces that she and her daughters-in-law managed to escape the village after it came under attack from militiamen who destroyed part of her house.

But she says several other relatives were slaughtered by security forces dressed in black, who killed them with knives.

Observers

A team of U.N. observers  headed by General Robert Mood, arrived in Houla Saturday to investigate the killings.The general condemned the "brutal tragedy" and said the observers counted more than 32 children under the age of 10 and over 60 adults killed.  

Video of UN Observers in Syria

UN Observers in Douma, Syriai
|| 0:00:00
X
May 26, 2012
UN Observers in Douma, Syria

The acting head of the opposition Syrian National Council urged the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss the brutality.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, condemned the violence.  The two described the attacks as an "appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force."

Responsibility

Syrian government TV charged that “terrorists” were responsible for the massacre in Houla. The government often refers to rebel soldiers and other opponents as “terrorists,” claiming that they are part of an outside plot to destabilize the country.

Thousands of mourners turned out Saturday in Syria's largest city, Aleppo, to protest the killings. Large student protests have roiled the city in recent days, after months of relative quiet compared to the rest of the country.

Other attacks

Anti-Syrian regime mourners chant slogans as they carry the body of soldier Khaled Shurbajy, who was shot by Syrian security forces in Dir el Zour last week after disobeying orders to fire on anti-Assad protesters, May 26, 2012Anti-Syrian regime mourners chant slogans as they carry the body of soldier Khaled Shurbajy, who was shot by Syrian security forces in Dir el Zour last week after disobeying orders to fire on anti-Assad protesters, May 26, 2012
x
Anti-Syrian regime mourners chant slogans as they carry the body of soldier Khaled Shurbajy, who was shot by Syrian security forces in Dir el Zour last week after disobeying orders to fire on anti-Assad protesters, May 26, 2012
Anti-Syrian regime mourners chant slogans as they carry the body of soldier Khaled Shurbajy, who was shot by Syrian security forces in Dir el Zour last week after disobeying orders to fire on anti-Assad protesters, May 26, 2012
In the Qaddam district of Damascus, government security forces opened fire on mourners, causing a large crowd to scatter in all directions. It was not immediately clear if there were victims.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, says he doubts the killings in Houla will provoke serious international outrage, since the world has grown weary of the conflict. Still, he sees the killings as a sign that the Assad government is slowly collapsing.

“There [is] no doubt in my mind, that Assad's regime is faltering, but it is dying hard," he said. "Before the regime expires, it will take along with it a large number of innocent civilians.”

Cease-fire

The killings in Houla strike another blow at a cease-fire brokered by Kofi Annan. Close to 300 U.N. monitors are on the ground in Syria to observe the cease-fire which began on April 12, but violence is picking up again, after an initial lull.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported what he called “small progress” in implementing the plan, Friday. He went on to accuse the government of “unacceptable levels of violence and abuses.”

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid