Another Massacre Reported in Syrian Hamlet of Qubeir: 78 Dead, Half of Them Women and Children

Another week, another massacre. One week after the world reacted with horror at reports that pro-government forces in Syria carried out the killings of over 50 children in Houla, Syria, another large-scale killing perpetrated by pro-government forces has allegedly taken place.

United Nations monitors on the ground in Syria to implement Kofi Annan’s faltering peace plan have found an “appalling scene” in the hamlet of Qubeir. According to news reports, 78 people, half of them women and children, were killed on Wednesday. No bodies were found, though, because pro-government forces reportedly trucked the bodies away, although journalists found other evidence pointing to a massacre. UN monitors were blocked from accessing Qubeir yesterday.

The new massacre raises fears that Syria is devolving into an all-out sectarian civil war with no end in sight. Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been battling a year-long uprising, and has used brute force to put the revolt down. According to the UN, at least 10,000 people have been killed during the uprising.

The New York Times has more on the massacre in Qubeir:

Twitter messages and audio accounts by correspondents for the BBC and NPR told of finding pieces of what seemed to be human flesh, a tablecloth “filled with gore,” burned-out buildings, smoldering piles of ash and at least one dead donkey in the hamlet of Qubeir, where, according to activist accounts, as many as 78 people, half of them women and children, were slaughtered on Wednesday. The BBC correspondent, Paul Danahar, said villagers who approached the monitors blamed pro-government militiamen, known as shabiha, for the killings, and said the militiamen had trucked the bodies away. Another said sticks had been used to kill children.

“This has basically been a scorched-earth policy by whoever this was — they’ve killed the people, they’ve killed the livestock, they’ve left nothing in the village alive,” Mr. Danahar said in anaudio recording posted on the BBC Web site. He called it “an appalling scene.”
It was unclear when the team of 20 monitors sent to Qubeir would present their findings publicly.

The monitor trip to Qubeir came as a surge of violence was reported in multiple places around Syria on Friday and as international diplomacy intensified in attempts to find a way out of the 16-month-old Syria conflict, which top officials of the United Nations and Arab League said on Thursday was rapidly escalating into a sectarian civil war.

AlterNet / By Alex Kane

Posted at June 8, 2012, 9:32am

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