Syria renews attack on Houla

2012-05-30 20:54
Lebanese anti-Syrian regime supporters chant slogans during a protest against the massacre of Houla, in which about 110 people died.  (Hussein Malla, AP)

Lebanese anti-Syrian regime supporters chant slogans during a protest against the massacre of Houla, in which about 110 people died. (Hussein Malla, AP)

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Beirut - Syrian forces launched a fresh assault on Wednesday on the site of last week's Houla massacre, forcing villagers to flee heavy shelling in fear of more carnage, a watchdog organisation said.

Machinegun fire was followed in the afternoon by shelling that targeted the village of Taldu, near Houla, where more than 100 people were killed on Friday and Saturday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"People are fleeing Taldu to other parts of Houla," the Britain-based Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. "They are very afraid."

Smoke was seen billowing above both Taldu village and Houla as residents escaped to other towns in the region "for fear of a new massacre", the watchdog reported.

At least 108 people were killed in Taldu in the two-day offensive that began with heavy shelling, according to United Nations peace observers who visited the site.

Among them were 49 children and 34 women. Some were blown to bits by artillery and tank fire, but most were summarily executed, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous has said there was a "strong suspicion that the Shabiha were involved in this tragedy in Houla", referring to the militia loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Read more on:    un  |  bashar al-assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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