Combat-plagued Syria is the focus of yet another possible massacre, reported by the Opposition, as well as other activists, who say that Taramseh in Hama province was shelled by Syrian troops and later stormed by the Shabiha (militia loyal to President Bashar al-Assad), leading to the deaths of over 200 people, although some reports say the figure is more like 100.
Reuters reports that Syrian television has reported the deaths of three security personnel in Taramseh, but accused “armed terrorist groups” of committing the massacre there. Of course, from previous speeches, it is already understood that Assad often blames “terrorists” for acts committed against his people, even when the evidence points to him.
While several people were killed in the initial shelling, more were shot in the head later, execution-style. The Hama Revolutionary Council said in a statement Thursday that:
“More than 220 people fell today in Taramseh. They died from bombardment by tanks and helicopters, artillery shelling and summary executions.”
Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Taramseh stated, according to Reuters, that he left his town before the massacre, but that he had been in touch with residents. He reported that:
“It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Taramseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people. Whole houses have been destroyed and burned from the shelling. Every family in the town seems to have members killed. We have names of men, women and children from countless families.”
The Huffington Post reports that the latest massacre comes the same day that another top official, Ambassador Nawaf Fares, announced his defection from the Assad regime. Fares, the ambassador to Iraq, announced his defection on Thursday, stating:
“There is no road map ever with Bashar Assad, because any plan, any statement that is agreed on internationally he delays on and ignores. There is no way that he can be pushed from power without force, and the Syrian people realize this.”
Syria, in true form, immediately denounced Fares, stating they had fired him that the he should face “legal and disciplinary accountability” for his defection.
According to The Herald Sun, Abu Ghazi, a Hama-based activist, stated via Skype that, following the bombardment, the Free Syrian Army attempted to fight back, but they did not have a big presence in the village, so they were not able to fight long. He went on to explain the larger death toll by saying:
“The number of martyrs is very high partly because the army shelled a mosque where scores of people had taken shelter, to treat the wounded and hide from the bombs. But it is obvious that the regime knows no limits. The mosque was shelled, it collapsed, and that killed the people in it.”
As for the village now? Abu Ghazi stated that Tremseh, which used to have a population of about 7,000, “is empty now. Everyone is dead or has run away.”
Do you think that activists are telling the truth about the government participating in yet another massacre in Syria?