What really happened – update 2June 10, 2012
The following text is a translation of an article in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, an article which is so breathtakingly different from the usual Wester media drum beat for war that I took the effort to translate and post it here. The original source is:
New insights into deaths of Houla
Again massacres in Syria
07/06/2012 · In Syria, in another massacre near Hama at least 55 people were killed. UN observers who wanted to visit the crime scene, came under gun fire.
By RAINER HERMANN, DAMASCUS
At least 55 people were killed in a massacre in the village Qubair near Hama in Syria. Activists of the Local Coordination Committee reported even 86 fatalities. 18 of the dead are women and children. Many burned to death in their homes or were stabbed with knives. Most of the dead were members of one family. While the rebels accused the regime militias of murder, the state television made a “terrorist group” responsible for the massacre.
The UN observers stationed in Hama wanted to visit Qubair on Thursday. The UN observers reported that the Syrian army prevented their access to Qubair. The head of the UN observers, General Robert Mood, said that civilians were also blocking the observer. The observers were told, that their safety would not be guaranteed, it they should enter the village. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon later on said at the UN General Assembly in New York, the observers had been under fire. He called the massacre “shocking and disgusting” and said that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad had “lost all legitimacy.”
At first glance the massacre looks similar to the one in Houla, where 108 people were killed on May 25. In the past few days Syrian opposition figures who come from the region were able to reconstruct the probable course of events in Houla from credible witness reports. The result contradicts rebel claims, that Shabiha militias, shielded by the Syrian army, committed the atrocity. The sources don’t want to have their names disclosed, because opposition figures who oppose violence have been murdered or at least threatened.
The Houla massacre tool taken place after Friday prayers. Fighting started, when Sunni insurgents attacked the three army checkpoints around Houla. The checkpoints have the purpose to protect the Alawite villages around the predominantly Sunni Houla against attacks.
One attacked checkpoint called army units from a nearby military base for reinforcement. Dozens of soldiers and rebels were killed in the ensuing battles, which lasted about 90 minutes, and the three villages of Houla were completely cut off from the outside world during the fighting.
According to the eyewitnesses the massacre occurred during this period. Targeted were almost exclusively families of Houla’s Alawite and Shiite minority. More than 90 percent of Houla’s population are Sunni. For instance several dozen members of a family, which in recent years converted to Shiite Islam, were slaughtered. Killed were also members of the Alawite family Shomaliya and the family of a Sunni member of parliament, who was considered a collaborator. The perpetrators filmed their victims immediately after the massacre, declared them as Sunni victims and distributed the videos via the Internet. Representatives of the Syrian government confirmed this version, but pointed out that the government had agreed not to speak publicly about Alawites versus Sunnis. President Bashar al-Assad is a member of the Alawites, the opposition is supported mainly by the Sunni majority.
Meanwhile, Syrian expatriate businessmen in Qatar’s capital Doha established a 300 million US$ fund to finance the Syrian opposition and the rebels. Mustafa Sabbagh, president of the Syrian Business Forum in exile, presented the Fund. Wael Mirza, Secretary General of the Syrian opposition National Council, said that half of the amount has already been spent and partly directed to the FSA (Free Syrian Army).
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile called for an international conference about Syria, where all the countries which influence actors in Syria should participate. Lavrov said, that the conference should include countries beyond the “friends of Syria,” because this group is supporting only the “radical demands” of the Syrian National Council. Lavrov mentioned in particular members of the UN Security Council, the EU and the Arab League as well as Turkey and Iran. The aim of the conference should be to implement the Annan plan “correctly and without ambiguity.”
On June 13, the Berliner Zeitung wrote in a report:
Eyewitnesses told the organization Human Rights Watch, that first armed men attacked two checkpoints of the Syrian military in the town, prompting the army to respond for hours with heavy weapons.
In late afternoon men in uniforms arrived, who killed the other persons. Alone 60 of the victims were members of one family, a family that was viewed as supportive of the regime.