Up to 200 massacred in Syrian village

2012-07-13 08:17

Beirut - Syrian government troops using tanks and helicopters on Thursday massacred more than 150 people in the central province of Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, while a rebel leader put the toll at more than 200.

Government troops bombarded the village of Treimsa using tanks and helicopters, according to the Observatory, which earlier put the death toll at more than 100.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by telephone that the bodies of 30 villagers had already been identified following the sustained attack, which brought the day's total death toll in the conflict-torn nation to over 200.

Rebel leader Abu Mohamad, chief of a group based further to the north, told AFP early on Friday that the attack using helicopters, tanks and multiple rocket-launchers had killed more than 200 people in the village.

Abu Mohamad said he had been in phone contact with a resident of Treimsa who told him that government forces were on hills a few kilometres outside the town.

'Everyone is dead or has run away'

The army and the Shabiha, pro-regime militia who are said to accompany troops to make sure they do not desert, started to bombard Treimsa "Thursday around 11:00 (08:00 GMT) and finished around 21:00," Abu Mohamad said.

But a Hama-based activist who identified himself as Abu Ghazi told AFP via Skype that regime troops started shelling the village earlier, at around 06:00.

"That was followed by clashes with the (rebel) Free Syrian Army, but the FSA does not have a big presence in Treimsa and could not fight long," said the activist.

"The number of martyrs is very high partly because the army shelled a mosque where scores of people had taken shelter, to treat the wounded and hide from the bombs," Abu Ghazi added.

"But it is obvious that the regime knows no limits. The mosque was shelled, it collapsed, and that killed the people in it."

The village, which had a population of 7 000, he said, "is empty now. Everyone is dead or has run away."

"Almost 30 army vehicles arrived, and surrounded the village completely. There wasn't a single way out," said Ibrahim, another activist from Treimsa. "Anyone who tried to escape through the fields was shot."

Pro-regime militiamen from neighbouring Alawite villages entered the village after the army raided it, Ibrahim told AFP via Skype. "After the shelling, the army came in with light weapons, and the shabiha (militiamen) followed, armed with knives."

Clashes inside the besieged village were vicious, he said, noting that "whole families were killed. There was a real street war for several hours."

Treimsa is located near Qubeir, where at least 55 people were killed on July 6, according to the Observatory. Like Qubeir, Treimsa is a majority Sunni town situated near Alawite villages.

President Bashar Assad belongs to the Alawite community - an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam - although the vast majority of Syrians are Sunni.


The state-run SANA news agency said there had been clashes between the army and an armed "terrorist" group in the village but made no mention of a massacre and gave no overall death toll.

"There were heavy losses among the ranks of the terrorists," said the report, adding that three government soldiers were killed.

The head of the opposition Syrian National Council, Abdel Basset Sayda, voiced outrage about the latest killings and called for a tough UN resolution that allows for military intervention against the Damascus regime.

"This was a massacre perpetrated by the Syrian regime," he said, speaking to Al Jazeera TV.

"It is a shame for the UN Security Council and the Arab League."

"What we want is a clear and straightforward resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter which puts all the options on the table, including the use of force. This Syrian regime only understands the language of force."

Abu Ghazi said that with Idlib in the northwest, Homs in the centre and much of the countryside of Aleppo in the north "out of control, the regime is trying to keep Hama on its side".

"Hama is in the centre of Syria, and is a link in a chain of provinces where anti-regime feeling is strong; the regime will do anything to keep it controlled."

The Observatory said more than 17 000 people have been killed since the uprising erupted in mid-March last year.

It is not possible to independently verify death tolls. The United Nations stopped compiling such figures at the end of 2011.

  • Mzakes - 2012-07-13 08:31

    I am disgusted with the reaction of world leaders towards this massacre that is happening in Syria. They are busy worrying about when the next meeting will be to have some "Constructive talks", Sies.

      jeffrey.jones.357 - 2012-07-13 09:20

      Problem is the West is damned if they do and damned if they don't. Went into Libya, it is wrong, don't go into Syria it is wrong. Lose-lose situation for the Western powers.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 11:51

      Keep the west, especially the US well away from the place. If they try to help the collateral damage will make the Assadists look positivley beneficent. Just look at Iraq and Afghanistan after their freedom!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-16 03:30

      Fidel's immature anti-West core belief at play again

  • Gichumz - 2012-07-13 08:35

    Send chuck norris on his way! he will sort them all out!!

      customdesign - 2012-07-13 13:56

      People died here numskull

      paul.raad.58 - 2012-07-13 14:52

      You stupid donkey, people are dying here and you think its funny posting stupid remarks like this!!!!

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 09:24

    Peace can only come to Syria when these "Friends of Syria" order their friends to laid down their arms and start talking with the Syrian government. A bad peace is better than a good war!

      Larry - 2012-07-13 09:30

      That is pandering to a genocidal dictatorship, Fidel. The same was attempted with Zimbabwe and look who is still in power. Dictators and tyrranical regimes must be eradicated for the good of all mankind.

      dominic.goller.9 - 2012-07-13 09:35

      you wrong, peace can only come when the dictator and his family leave. a family that will kill to get what they want, even if it means killing members of there own family. now if people like this our willing to kill there family can you imagine what they willing to do to complete strangers.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-07-13 09:39

      Peace will come when Assad is dangling from a tree.

      ricky.hammer.92 - 2012-07-13 09:40

      They tried talking and protesting Fidel,they got killed for their peaceful efforts. Are you really that heartless?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 09:48

      Assad is not only a dictator, he also belongs to a minority tribe and he's going to dig in to ensure the survival of his tribe. It's easy for you to shout "fight till death", but you don't have to do anything other than posting on News24 thread. These rebels aren't going to defeat the Syrian army and China and Russia won't allow Nato intervention. Only two options left, the continued suffering of Syrians or negotiation. An agreed peace initiative will stop the killing by both sides immediately, and fighting prolongs it.

      Stille - 2012-07-13 10:24

      So fidel - you still think this revolution is fake? You are a bloody moron. The assad regime is killing its own citizens. You must be a anc member idiot.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 10:27

      Anthony you clown, what happened 50 years ago doesn't change the facts today. Typing in CAPS LOCK doesn't make your point stronger. You just come off as desperately shouting.

      danmotaung - 2012-07-13 10:29

      Fidel, I am with you on this one. Advocating for war while seated in an airconditioned office is different from being in the frontline. Some are shallow minded like blame one side in situations like these.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 10:39

      @Still Water Obviously, knowing the word 'idiot' does not guarantee that you can see it in yourself.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-13 11:22

      Danmotaung, How is it possible.....that an African, who has been oppressed himself, can deny the same rights he has today, to others !! It is SICKENING and an ABUSE of your freedom!!! And don't let this Fidel talk a hole in your head; Fidel's ONLY contribution on these debates is; HATRED and HATRED and HATRED!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 11:48

      I am sure Mr Motaung don't suffer from group think syndrome like you and is capable of independent thought.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-07-13 11:53

      Munich agreement of 1938 , has a lesson to teach . Appeasement of Assad will not stop what has been happening during the 48yr reign of the deplorable Baathist party . It will only strengthen their resolve , their dispicable ideology and power . The Syrian people know this , they have felt and seen it on the front lines . They ask for what is noble (democracy , freedom and peace) , Assad asks for what is revolting (submission,domination ,absolute power). The Free Syrians leverage is the peoples support , Assads leverage is inflicting further death and destruction. This is what they bring to the negotiation and rightly the Syrians have rejected this .

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 12:09

      What does Assad gain by murdering the Sunni population, which is the majority in that country and army? Since there's no way of knowing whether both Assad and the rebels have the majority support in Syria, what better way to establish that through negotiations.

      jaba.kov - 2012-07-13 12:30

      So fidel supports the minority tribe ruling over the majority.... Did you also support the white minority ruling over the black majority in South Africa? Did you support Apartheid Fidel? Cause you are now! apartheid in Syria! Its amazing that you refuse to give the same freedom we were granted in 94’ to the Syrian civilians in 2012 - fidel you are a heartless, racist, bigoted African b%&@*.

      Larry - 2012-07-13 12:57

      Full circle Fidel. Pestinians have freedom and justice within their grasp. All they need to do is take it by recognising that Israel is also entitled to the same freedom and justice, peace and security.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-13 13:09

      Fidel, I don't mind you swearing, as long as you stop talking CRAP!!! And Jaba is not in the gutter, he is asking you some very direct questions, and you refuse to answer !! THAT is a dictator mentality, only listen to me, but don't ask me any questions!!!!! And there seems to be some confusing with you, re 'group thinking' and 'group rejecting' Everyone expresses their own thoughts here, but 98 % of the ones that read comments, REJECT your views!! Clear ???

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 13:22

      Maybe in the end everyone is searching for answers, and our teachers have just let us out into the world with poor communication skills which do not permit divergent thoughts to co-exist in the same space? It pains me not to have people disagreeing with me, no matter their number. That is the essence of intelligent debate. But of course you have one big sack in which you can put anybody who disagrees with you.

  • gieljam.gomtor - 2012-07-13 09:41

    "Syria ,Syria what does thow" ? To think a nation with thousands of years of culture and history is now showing that some deep rooted problem was smouldering all along.

  • danmotaung - 2012-07-13 10:23

    I so hope that this observatory group looks at the killings from both sides and not just one. It is really said that people should go through this hell when their leaders (from both sides), hold conferences and meetings that yield no ceasefire. My heart goes out to all the citizens especially the young ones. I can imagine the terror on their faces with all these bombings and shootings on a daily basis.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-13 11:10

      No one has a monopoly on lies especial when the news media is already prepped to support one side. I've opened myself to conspiracy theories, and applied total skepticism to official stories. Skepticism should apply equally to official and unofficial information, to rectify this imbalance.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-16 03:32

      But if you hold a biased and immature core anti-West belief, it'll make no difference. Reality will be distorted by virtue of the belief.

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