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.
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 4:09 PM
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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid