Dozens Dead as Assad’s Forces Storm Coastal Village
State forces and militias loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stormed the coastal village of Baida on Thursday, killing at least 50 people including women and children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The pro-opposition monitoring group said the final death toll was likely to exceed 100. Many of those killed appeared to have been executed by shooting or stabbing, it said, and other bodies were found burned.
Activist reports on the killings could not be independently verified as the Syrian government restricts access for independent media.
Hours earlier, rebels had attacked a busload of pro-Assad militiamen, known as shabbiha, killing at least six and wounding 20. In response, government forces and shabbiha surrounded Baida and nearby Maqreb, near the city of Banias, and pummeled them with mortar fire before raiding Baida.
Assad’s forces have mounted a string of attacks reaching from the capital Damascus and the central city of Homs out to the Mediterranean coast, homeland of the Alawite minority sect to which Assad himself belongs.