The words Hama massacre are already well known to Syrians, as the small province, which is home to many small farming communities, was the target of the current president’s father in 1982, when at least 20,000 were killed in an effort to stem Sunni rebellion in the area. 30 years later, activists are reporting that the area has seen another massacre, killing at least 78, with more than 40 reportedly women and children.
Syria is no stranger to violence, and, if the report is confirmed, this attack would be the second of its kind in less than two weeks.
Reuters reports that the description of the new attack by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is eerily familiar to the one they received on May 25th, when 108 civilians were murdered in Houla, a massacre U.N. observers attributed to President Assad’s troops, as well as loyalist “shabbiha” militia. The Observatory reported on Wednesday that:
“Shabbiha headed into the area after the shelling and killed dozens of citizens, among them women and children.”
The Telegraph reports that Mohammed Abu Bilal, who claimed to have spoken with a survivor of the massacre, stated:
“They killed everyone they found in houses or streets by knives. Twenty children were killed. Ten of them are younger than two years old.”
Sammy, an activist from the opposition Hama news agency, stated:
“The village is 130 people, it is a farm. It was surrounded by military forces and men from surrounding villages. They started killing — the last count of identified people who have died is about 37. But our reporters there confirmed 78 martyrs.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights urged the international monitors to immediately go to the area, to confirm reports of what has happened. They released a statement, which said:
“They should not wait to tomorrow to investigate this new massacre. They should not give the excuse that their mission is only to observe the ceasefire, because many massacres have been committed during their presence in Syria.”