‘Massacre’ in Syria’s Homs, hundreds fleeAgence France-Presse . Damascus
Nearly 50 women and children were found with their throats cut or bearing stab wounds in Syria’s Homs, prompting hundreds of families to flee the restive city, the opposition and activists said on Monday.
Hadi Abdallah, a Syrian activist in the central city, said the bodies of 26 children and 21 women were discovered in the Karm el-Zaytoun and Al-Adawiyeh neighbourhoods of the besieged central city.
‘Some of the children had been hit with blunt objects on their head, one little girl was mutilated and some women were raped before being killed,’ he said, adding that most victims had been stabbed to death or had their throats cut.
Activists posted videos online showing graphic images of charred bodies and children with mutilated and bloodied faces.
Syrian state television attributed the killings to ‘armed terrorist gangs’, saying they had kidnapped residents of Homs, killed them and then made video footage of the bodies in an attempt to discredit Syrian forces.
News of the killings sparked a mass exodus from the city, which has been besieged by Syrian forces for more than month, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
‘Hundreds of families fled Homs overnight, notably from the Karm el-Zaytoun neighbourhood, for fear of new massacres by regime forces,’ Abdel Rahman said in Beirut.
The main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the ‘massacre’, which it said took place on Sunday.
‘The Syrian National Council is making the necessary contacts with all organisations and countries that are friends with the Syrian people for the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting,’ the SNC said in a statement.
And in a clear reference to Russia and China, the SNC said that allies of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad shared responsibility for the ‘crimes’ committed by his regime.
The latest killings in Homs came after UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan left Damascus on Sunday without managing to secure an accord to end bloodletting in Syria, where more than 8,500 people have died since the revolt against president Bashar al-Assad erupted a year ago according to the Syrian Observatory.
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