Rebels targeted in Treimsa massacre, UN says
UN observers investigating a Syrian village where more than 150 people were killed this week said on Saturday that various weapons were used to attack the homes of army defectors and activists opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
AFP - A variety of weapons were used in an attack on the Syrian village of Treimsa, where more than 150 people were killed this week, with the homes of rebels and activists bearing the brunt, the UN mission said on Saturday.
"A wide range of weapons were used, including artillery, mortars and small arms," the UN spokeswoman, Sausan Ghosheh, said in a statement.
"The attack on Treimsa 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."
Ghosheh, spokeswoman for the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, said a team of observers had visited the village in central Syria on Saturday.
"On the basis of this preliminary mission, UNSMIS can confirm that an attack, using a variety of weapons, took place in Treimsa on July 12," she said.
"The UN team also observed a burned school and damaged houses with signs of internal burning in five of them."
She added that the number of casualties was still unclear.
The Treimsa killings have triggered a global outcry against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon calling for urgent action to stop the bloodshed.
The head of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP it "might be the biggest massacre committed in Syria since the start of the revolution" against Assad in March 2011.
If confirmed, the 150-person toll would exceed that of a massacre at Houla on May 25, when a pro-Assad militia and government forces were accused of killing at least 108 people.
A spokesman for Syria's military said the army had killed "many terrorists" in Treimsa, but no civilians, in a "special operation... targeting armed terrorist groups and their leadership hide-outs."
Ghosheh said the observers planned to return to Treimsa on Sunday for further investigations.
"UNSMIS is deeply concerned about the escalating level of violence in Syria and calls on the government to cease the use of heavy weapons on population centres and on the parties to put down their weapons and choose the path of non-violence for the welfare of the Syrian people who have suffered enough," she said.