Nearly 100 die in mass killing as rebels say they are on brink of abandoning negotiated plan to end conflict
Martin Chulov Beirut
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 26 May 2012
"Syria's fragile peace process is in shreds after what was claimed to be a regime-backed massacre left 32 children among more than 90 dead and triggered a wave of international revulsion. As UN observers in the central town of Houla confirmed one of the bloodiest death tolls of the 15-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, rebels said they were on the brink of abandoning a negotiated plan to end the conflict.
Videos uploaded to the internet and purporting to be from Houla show many dead and badly mutilated infants. Residents say some victims were killed with knives, while many more died from 18 hours of relentless shelling that left buildings wrecked and homes destroyed in a large residential area near the centre of town....
The regime has touted such attacks as evidence of al-Qaida at work, while the Free Syria Army has vehemently insisted that the regime itself has been concocting the attacks in a bid to reinforce its narrative.
"Everywhere [the UN monitors] go, something happens to them," Moustafa Abdul Salam told the Observer in the northern Syrian village of Sarji.
"They want to terrorise them into submission and make them doubt their own instincts. Already you have the Americans saying that al-Qaida might be at work here, so that means the regime are winning. And when they feel that way they will behave even more like savages."....."