The Syrian opposition claims government forces stormed a village in the province of Hama, killing up to 200 people. One activist says the majority of those killed were rebels and seven were civilians.
“An army convoy was on its way to the region of Hama when it was attacked by the FSA,” he said. “The army staged a counter-attack with the support of [pro-regime] reinforcements from [nearby] Alawite villages. The FSA resisted for an hour before it was defeated,” AFP quoted the man named Jaafar.
At the same time the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that “several dozen rebel fighters were among those killed.”
The Britain-based group added that 40 of those killed rebels have been identified, 30 corpses were burned and 18 were “summarily executed”.
State TV puts the blame on “terrorists”.
The so-called Revolution Leadership Council of Hama told Reuters that the village of Tremseh had been attacked by helicopter gunships and tanks, and was later stormed by pro-government militia.
Scores of dead bodies were scattered in buildings across Tremseh, Al Arabiya quoted opposition activists as saying. More than 150 dead bodies were piled up in the local mosque and the local school was allegedly destroyed too.
The reports could not be independently confirmed. The Syrian government does not allow foreign journalists into combat zones, while the UN observer mission, currently on the ground in the country, suspended most of its activities after violence re-erupted last month, putting an end to a short-lived ceasefire.
State television, meanwhile, has put the blame for the massacre on “terrorists”, adding that government forces only entered the village after residents asked for their help. Damascus says the armed opposition massacred the villagers to swing public opinion against the government and make a case for foreign intervention before the UN Security Council.
The Syrian National Council has called for a UN Security Council emergency meeting over the massacre. It is urging UN observers to head to the site and document what happened there. And the first reaction from the UNSC officials is beginning to come in.
“Reports of Traymseh massacre are nightmarish – dramatically illustrate the need for binding UNSC measures on Syria,” the United States’ UN Ambassador Susan Rice wrote in her Twitter microblog.
International peace envoy Kofi Annan has condemned the mass killing in the Syrian village, saying he is “shocked and appalled by news coming out of the village.”
“This is in violation of the government’s undertaking to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centers and its commitment to the six-point plan,” Annan said.
He also said that UN observers were ready to come to Tremseh to investigate the massacre.
Syrian forces had used heavy weaponry against the village of Tremsa site of a massacre in the rebellious Hama region, in violation of its commitments to his peace plan.
Earlier, RT obtained footage showing the results of an alleged massacre that took place in Hama in April. Sources said opposition rebels had committed the atrocity.
Another massacre occurred in Hama on June 6, when up to 80 people were killed in the village of Qubair. UN observers were unable to ascertain who was behind the attack. The opposition claimed that pro-regime militia group Shabiha was to blame, while the Syrian government said armed terrorists were behind the mass killing.
Similarly, the UN was unable to determine who was behind another massacre of more than 100 civilians in the city of Houla on May 25. The leader of the team of UN investigators, Paulo Pinheiro, said there was no concrete evidence pointing to the regime but “forces loyal to the government may have been responsible for many of the deaths.”
The UN estimates 10,000 people have been killed on both sides during the 15 months of unrest, while the opposition gives a figure of 15, 000.