Syrian Forces Shell Southern City While UN Observers Investigate Reported Tremseh Massacre

Syrian troops, along with pro-regime militias have stormed and torched a village in southern Syria on Saturday, the same day as U.N. observers were finally able to visit the central village of Tremseh, where a mass killing provoked another round of condemnation from world leaders.

Al Arabiya reports that hundreds of soldiers who were backed by helicopter gunships attacked the village of Khirbet Ghazaleh in Daraa province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Bayan Ahmad, an activist on the ground, told a similar story. He stated:

“The army entered without resistance as the rebel Free Syrian Army left town. The shelling has wounded dozens of people but we don’t have medical resources to treat them.”

Yahoo News reports the new violence comes just three days after more than 150 were reported dead in Tremseh in a massacre activists blamed on the government. Saturday, U.N. officials arrived in the village to review the situation. An 11-vehicle team of observers went into the village after they received confirmation that a cease-fire was in place. Ahmad Fawzi, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in Syria stated that:

“We have sent a large integrated patrol today to seek verification of the facts.”

The BBC reports that the UN issued a statement after they visited Tremseh, saying that they can tell for sure that government forces launched a major attack on Tremseh. They used heavy weapons, tanks, and helicopters against the town. These weapons are strictly against the UN’s cease fire agreement.

UN spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh stated:

“A wide range of weapons were used, including artillery, mortars and small arms. The attack on Tremseh appeared targeted at specific groups and houses, mainly of army defectors and activists. There were pools of blood and blood spatters in rooms of several homes together with bullet cases.”

Observers in Tremseh state that the saw damaged houses and a school that had been burned in the village, but they were unable to ascertain the number of casualties. They intend to return to the Syrian village on Sunday.