Sunday, May 27, 2012

Syria joins roll call of civilian slaughter

One of the bloodiest civilian massacres in Syria to date that left over a hundred people dead – at least a third of them children

Martin Chulov, Sunday 27 May 2012

"At noon on Friday, they gathered for their familiar and increasingly futile weekly ritual – an act of peaceable defiance against the regime they loathe. The chants resounded far and wide, audible to the army troops menacingly nearby and to the adjoining Allawite villages largely sympathetic to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. "The Allawites have been hearing our chants for many months," said Houla resident Abu Jaffour. "And neither they, nor the army have liked what we've been saying. Maybe that's why they did what they did."

Three hours later, vengeance rolled into town with a savagery rarely paralleled in the 15-month Syrian uprising. When the shelling and gunfire stopped early on Saturday, close to 100 people had been killed, at least one third of them children. Some appeared to have been killed at close range as they cowered in barricaded homes.

In a few short hours, the town of Houla joined the sorry list of localities whose names have become synonymous with the merciless slaughter of civilians. Srebrenica. Nyarubuye. My Lai. Up to now, the Syrian conflict has killed 13,000 people. But until this weekend, it had yet to include the mass slaughter of nursery-age infants....."

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