Syria: at least 200 killed in Hama province massacre, say activists

If confirmed, killings in village of Tremseh would represent single biggest massacre since uprising began

, The Guardian, Thursday 12 July 2012
Syria: government troops participate in a live fire exercise. Activists say more than 200 people have been killed in a massacre in Hama province. Photograph: AP

[Syria: government troops participate in a live fire exercise. Activists say more than 200 people have been killed in a massacre in Hama province. Photograph: AP]

Syrian government troops and a pro-regime militia have killed more than 200 people, mostly civilians, in a village near the city of Hama, opposition activists reported in the early hours of Friday morning.

The massacre is said to have taken place in the village of Tremseh, starting early Thursday morning, when government forces are alleged to have surrounded the village and opened fire with mortars and artillery. Then an Alawite pro-government militia, the Shabiha, are reported to have moved into Tremseh and started carrying out executions.

A statement by the Hama Revolutionary Council said: “More than 220 people fell today in Tremseh. They died from bombardment by tanks and helicopters, artillery shelling and summary executions.

“It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Tremseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people. Whole houses have been destroyed and burned from the shelling,” Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Tremseh, told Reuters.

Sameh said he had left the town before the reported massacre but was in touch with residents.

“Every family in the town seems to have had members killed. We have names of men, women and children from countless families,” he said, adding that many of the bodies were taken to a local mosque. Continue reading