Syrian forces massacre 47 women and children in Homs

Dozens of women and children were massacred by Syrian troops in Homs on Monday. (Shaam News Network)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Just hours after UN envoy Kofi Annan left Homs without securing a cease-fire, 47 women and children were slaughtered by government troops in the besieged city’s Karm al-Zeitoun district on Monday.

Footage posted by opposition activists on YouTube showed mostly women and  children, plus several men, lying dead in a blood-drenched room.

Children were stabbed to death in front of their mothers, and women and minor girls were sexually assaulted before being shot, according to the human rights network.

Hadi Abdallah, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian Revolution General Council, said the attacks occurred after “Syrian forces and thugs” stormed homes.

The opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria called the killings a “massacre orchestrated by the regime” of President Bashar al-Assad. A total of 108 civilians were killed by government forces across the country Sunday, activists said.

By Monday afternoon, another 14 people were killed, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. The deaths included five members of the rebel Free Syrian Army in Damascus; three people in Daraa, including two 15-year-old boys; three people in Idlib; one in Aleppo; and two in Raqqa, who were shot when security forces stormed their houses, the network said.

Tuesday will be an official day of mourning across Syria, the LCC said.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights described a scene of brutality, saying the men were separated from the women and children and “systematically tortured” for hours. Some were sprayed with gasoline and set on fire, while others were shot, the network said.

Activists managed to recover 31 bodies, the human rights network said. Others were burned, and still others were moved to unknown locations by security forces.

In reaction, Syrian state-run media said the bodies shown were killed by “armed terrorist groups,” which the government blames for the violence in the year-long uprising. “The terrorist armed groups have kidnapped scores of civilians in the city of Homs, central Syria, (and) killed and mutilated their corpses and filmed them to be shown by media outlets,” the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

The United Nations says more than 7,500 have been killed in a year of the uprising, but opposition groups place the number so far at more than 9,000.

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