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200 Syrians Killed in Taramseh, Hama

July 13, 2012

Syrian troops kill more than 150 in Hama, activists say

About 200 Syrians killed in the village of Taramseh in the central province of Hama, July 13, 2012

Up to 200 reported killed in Syrian village

Russia TV, 13 July, 2012, 01:49

Edited: 13 July, 2012, 18:23

The Syrian opposition claims government forces stormed a village in the province of Hama, killing up to 200 people. One activist claims the majority of those killed were rebels and seven were civilians.
“An army convoy was on its way to the region of Hama when it was attacked by the FSA,” he said. “The army staged a counter-attack with the support of [pro-regime] reinforcements from [nearby] Alawite villages. The FSA resisted for an hour before it was defeated,” AFP quoted the man named Jaafar.

At the same time the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that “several dozen rebel fighters were among those killed."
The Britain-based group added that 40 of those killed rebels have been identified, 30 corpses were burned and 18 were “summarily executed”.

State TV puts the blame on “terrorists”. Numerous reports cite rebel activists who themselves quote local witnesses.

The so-called Revolution Leadership Council of Hama told Reuters that the village of Tremseh had been attacked by helicopter gunships and tanks, and was later stormed by pro-government militia. Several people in the village – most of them civilians – reportedly died in the shelling and others were later shot in the head, the rebel source said.

Scores of dead bodies were scattered in buildings across Tremseh, Al Arabiya quoted opposition activists as saying. More than 150 dead bodies were piled up in the local mosque and the local school was allegedly destroyed too.

The reports could not be independently confirmed. The Syrian government does not allow foreign journalists into combat zones, while the UN observer mission, currently on the ground in the country, suspended most of its activities after violence re-erupted last month, putting an end to a short-lived ceasefire.

State television, meanwhile, has put the blame for the massacre on “terrorists”, adding that government forces only entered the village after residents asked for their help. Damascus says the armed opposition massacred the villagers to swing public opinion against the government and make a case for foreign intervention before the UN Security Council.

The Syrian National Council has called for a UN Security Council emergency meeting over the massacre. It is urging UN observers to head to the site and document what happened there. And the first reaction from the UNSC officials is beginning to come in.

“Reports of Traymseh massacre are nightmarish – dramatically illustrate the need for binding UNSC measures on Syria,” the United States’ UN Ambassador Susan Rice wrote in her Twitter microblog.

International peace envoy Kofi Annan has condemned the mass killing in the Syrian village, saying he is “shocked and appalled by news coming out of the village."

"This is in violation of the government's undertaking to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centers and its commitment to the six-point plan," Annan said.

He also said that UN observers were ready to come to Tremseh to investigate the massacre.

Syrian forces had used heavy weaponry against the village of Tremsa site of a massacre in the rebellious Hama region, in violation of its commitments to his peace plan.

Earlier, RT obtained footage showing the results of an alleged massacre that took place in Hama in April. Sources said opposition rebels had committed the atrocity.

Another massacre occurred in Hama on June 6, when up to 80 people were killed in the village of Qubair. UN observers were unable to ascertain who was behind the attack. The opposition claimed that pro-regime militia group Shabiha was to blame, while the Syrian government said armed terrorists were behind the mass killing.

Similarly, the UN was unable to determine who was behind another massacre of more than 100 civilians in the city of Houla on May 25. The leader of the team of UN investigators, Paulo Pinheiro, said there was no concrete evidence pointing to the regime but "forces loyal to the government may have been responsible for many of the deaths."

The UN estimates 10,000 people have been killed on both sides during the 15 months of unrest, while the opposition gives a figure of 15, 000.


Syrian troops kill more than 150 in Hama, activists say

By News Wires (text)


Syrian government troops using tanks and helicopters Thursday massacred more than 150 people in the central province of Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, while a rebel leader put the toll at more than 200.

Government troops bombarded the village of Treimsa using tanks and helicopters, according to the Observatory, which earlier put the death toll at more than 100.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by telephone that the bodies of 30 villagers had already been identified following the sustained attack, which brought the day's total death toll in the conflict-torn nation to over 200.

Rebel leader Abu Mohamad, chief of a group based further to the north, told AFP early Friday that the attack using helicopters, tanks and multiple rocket-launchers had killed more than 200 people in the village.

Abu Mohamad said he had been in phone contact with a resident of Treimsa who told him that government forces were on hills a few kilometres (miles) outside the town.

The army and the Shabiha, pro-regime militia who are said to accompany troops to make sure they do not desert, started to bombard Treimsa "Thursday around 11:00 am (0800 GMT) and finished around 9:00 pm," Abu Mohamad said.

But a Hama-based activist who identified himself as Abu Ghazi told AFP via Skype that regime troops started shelling the village earlier, at around 6:00 am.

"That was followed by clashes with the (rebel) Free Syrian Army, but the FSA does not have a big presence in Treimsa and could not fight long," said the activist.

"The number of martyrs is very high partly because the army shelled a mosque where scores of people had taken shelter, to treat the wounded and hide from the bombs," Abu Ghazi added.

"But it is obvious that the regime knows no limits. The mosque was shelled, it collapsed, and that killed the people in it."

The village, which had a population of 7,000, he said, "is empty now. Everyone is dead or has run away."

"Almost 30 army vehicles arrived, and surrounded the village completely. There wasn't a single way out," said Ibrahim, another activist from Treimsa. "Anyone who tried to escape through the fields was shot."

Pro-regime militiamen from neighbouring Alawite villages entered the village after the army raided it, Ibrahim told AFP via Skype. "After the shelling, the army came in with light weapons, and the shabiha (militiamen) followed, armed with knives."

Clashes inside the besieged village were vicious, he said, noting that "whole families were killed. There was a real street war for several hours."

Treimsa is located near Qubeir, where at least 55 people were killed on July 6, according to the Observatory. Like Qubeir, Treimsa is a majority Sunni town situated near Alawite villages.

President Bashar al-Assad belongs to the Alawite community -- an offshoot of Shiite Islam -- although the vast majority of Syrians are Sunni.

The state-run SANA news agency said there had been clashes between the army and an armed "terrorist" group in the village but made no mention of a massacre and gave no overall death toll.

"There were heavy losses among the ranks of the terrorists," said the report, adding that three government soldiers were killed.

The head of the opposition Syrian National Council, Abdel Basset Sayda, voiced outrage about the latest killings and called for a tough UN resolution that allows for military intervention against the Damascus regime.

"This was a massacre perpetrated by the Syrian regime," he said, speaking to Al Jazeera TV.

"It is a shame for the UN Security Council and the Arab League."

"What we want is a clear and straightforward resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter which puts all the options on the table, including the use of force. This Syrian regime only understands the language of force."

Abu Ghazi said that with Idlib in the northwest, Homs in the centre and much of the countryside of Aleppo in the north "out of control, the regime is trying to keep Hama on its side."

"Hama is in the centre of Syria, and is a link in a chain of provinces where anti-regime feeling is strong; the regime will do anything to keep it controlled."

The Observatory said more than 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising erupted in mid-March last year.

It is not possible to independently verify death tolls. The United Nations stopped compiling such figures at the end of 2011.

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