A Syrian watchdog is reporting a new “massacre” in the Homs region with more than 100 civilians killed on Thursday. The news comes the same day as Russia condemned the US for blaming deadly blasts at the University of Aleppo on the Assad regime.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, reported the new massacre, saying that it came as the army swept through farmlands north of Homs on Tuesday.
The area was home to about 1,000 people who sought refuge from fighting in Syria’s central metropolis. The Associated Free Press reports that the Observatory stated:
“The Syrian regime carried out a new massacre on Tuesday claiming 106 victims, including women and children.”
Witnesses reported seeing several members of the same family killed, some of them in fires that destroyed their homes. Others were either stabbed or hacked to death. Thirty-two members of the same clan are among the dead.
Homs was nicknamed “the capital of the revolution” by the Syrian opposition. It is considered the most strategic city in the country’s largest province.
Al-Watan, the pro-regime daily paper, reported that the army advanced on “gunmen” in the area. Assad’s regime often calls rebels and insurgents “gunmen” and “terrorists,” but activists claim there were no insurgents in Homs when the massacre took place.
Reuters notes that no outside news agencies have been able to confirm the massacre, because of reporting restrictions inside Syria. Warplanes and troops pursued a massive offensive on Thursday as they bombed rebel-held areas and clashed with insurgents. Fighting is often taking place inside cities.
Deraa, Hama, Homs, Aleppo, Damascus, and Deir al-Zor all saw clashes between government and insurgent forces on Thursday, with only Latakia and Tartous, controlled by the regime, being spared from violence.
The United Nations reports that more than 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which will see its two-year anniversary in March. Several massacres, including one reported in Houla in Homs province last May, which killed 108 people, including nine children and 34 women, have also been reported.
Observers were sent to the country from the UN in April 2012, but they left after several attacks on their convoys. Neither side has agreed to ceasefires proposed by UN envoys to the country, making it uncertain when, or if, the fighting will end.
The video below documents the latest massacre in Homs. It contains video of children after the massacre and is recommended for those age 18 or older.