The small town of Tremseh has suffered what may be the single worst atrocity of the Syrian uprising, say eyewitnesses
Martin Chulov in Beirut
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 14 July 2012
"Residents of the battered Syrian town of Tremseh have described being chased from their homes and hunted down by regime forces after seven hours of shelling during a major assault that left more than 150 people dead last Thursday.
The first observers to reach the devastated town on Saturday described widespread scenes of destruction, and many residents appeared to be too traumatised to talk about their ordeal. The massacre in the small farming community of 6,000 to the north-west of Hama is being described as the worst single atrocity of the Syrian uprising.
Two eyewitnesses from Tremseh who spoke to the Observer blamed regime forces and the pro-regime militia, the Shabiha, for the attack, which has seen many of its residents flee and left more than 100 people missing. "We don't understand why they attacked us," said a local woman, Umm Khaled. "We haven't brought harm to the region. All we've done here is hold demonstrations."
Khaled, who had lived in Tremseh – a Sunni Muslim enclave – all her life, said people trying to flee through nearby fields were shot dead as they ran. She claims some of the bodies were taken away by regime forces and that others were handcuffed, then summarily executed.....
In a recent report on Houla, the UN said it could not say who was responsible for the massacre, which killed 108 people, but implied that regime forces and their backers had played a role. The two Tremseh witnesses who spoke to the Observer claimed that some of their attackers came from the direction of Alawite villages, which they named as Safsafeyeh, Tal Sikeen and Falha. "Relations between us and the Alawite villages were always peaceful but some of the Shabiha did come from there," said Mohammed.
Umm Khaled said: "We had no problems with them for a long time, but now we fear them. We don't want to go near their villages."......"