Activists: 40 Women, Children Among Victims of New Syria Massacre
Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to President Bashar Assad stood accused by opponents on Thursday of a new massacre of scores of villagers hours before a divided U.N. Security Council convenes to review the crisis.
If confirmed, the killings of at least 78 people at Mazraat al-Qabeer, near Hama, will pile pressure on world powers to act, but there is little sign they can overcome a paralysis born of sharp divisions between Western and Arab states on the one hand and Assad’s defenders in Russia, China and Iran on the other.
Several activists who monitor the 15-month-old revolt gave accounts to Reuters that women and children were among the dead when the village in central Syria came under artillery bombardment before fighters moved in on the ground and shot and stabbed dozens of people to death.
Echoing descriptions of a massacre of 108 civilians at Houla on May 25, which Western powers blame on Assad’s troops and loyalist “shabbiha” militia, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said “shabbiha headed into the area after the shelling and killed dozens of citizens, among them women and children.”