Bellingcat

Friday, 25 May 2012

Syria - The Houla Massacre

May 31st update - Since this post was made more facts have become available thanks to the work of UN observers, HRW, AI and Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News.  On the night of the events I was unable to find any pictorial or video evidence of throats being cut, but Alex Thomson reported seeing videos of those injures when he visited Houla.  The UN has also reported on the number dead as 108 people, included 49 children and 34 women, the vast majority of which were killed close up, not by shelling.

May 30th update - A new attack took place today, you can find details here.

May 27th update - All the latest videos from the past 24 hours can be found on this post.

Coverage of the night's events can be found at the bottom of this post.

WARNING - This post may contain extremely graphic and distressing images.

Over the last few hours there's been report via Twitter of a massacre in Houla, a village near Homs in Syria.  The number of dead varies greatly depending on reports, but from videos posted on Youtube it seem apparent many have been killed, including a very large number of children.

Videos

Injured baby receiving treatment

Dead man

Two dead men

Room with about a dozen shrouded corpses

Another room (or possibly the same as above) with a dozen shrouded corpses of men, women and children

Room with about a dozen dead women and children

Around a dozen dead small children with injuries that appear to be from shrapnel

Injured civilian with a missing hand

A pile of corpses


While it's difficult to be sure of exact numbers it's clear a large number of civilians have died, apparently from shelling, including at least a dozen children if not more.  Despite some claims there's no evidence anyone has had their throat cut.

The following channels are posting videos from Houla:
hassan699721
FreedomAlhoula
nontherful
samerd3

There's now a live stream from Houla on Justin.tv
Live Stream

Thanku4theAnger has tweeted about the UN response:
Hadi AbdAllah called head of UN monitors about HoulaMassacre. His reply "Regime does not allow us to travel at night"
Hadi Abdallah : We have more than 300 injured dying infront of us & we can't even provide basic emergency care  
NMSyria has tweeted about the response to the massacre across Syria
Demonstrations have started in #Damascus, #Daraa,and #Idlib to condemn the massacre in Houla.
23:34 BST - Live stream of protest in Rukn Eddine neighbourhood of Damascus for Houla massacre via @HamaEcho

23:36 BST - Video of a protest in Qusair, Homs tonight supporting Houla via @HamaEcho

23:38 BST - Live stream of a protest in Daraa in solidarity with Houla via @HamaEcho

23:40 BST - Facebook page in Arabic linking to various videos from Houla

23:41 BST - Video of a protest Talbisah, Homs in solidarity with Houla tonight via @HamaEcho

23:45 BST - Live stream of a protest in Old Homs tonight in support of Houla via @HamaEcho

23:46 BSTHamaEcho reports "Protests have also started in Midan and Tadamon neighbourhoods of Damascus tonight in support of Houla."

23:49 BST - NMSyria is tweeting reports of heavy gunfire in the Hamme, Damascus, and Atareb, Aleppo

23:52 BST -Michael Nahum tweeted that the first English subtitled video of the massacre has been posted online here.

23:54 BST - A new video of victims of the Houla Massacre has been posted online here.

23:57 BST - @Adbulnafia tweeted a graphic image of a child with a major neck injury.

23:58 BST - @HamaEcho tweets "Protests in Mazzeh, Jobar, Qadam, Assali, Hajar Aswad, Shaghour, Barzeh, Midan & Tadamon neighbourhoods for Houla tonight"

00:01 BST - @HamaEcho tweets "Protest and takbir campaign started in Old Damascus in the heart of the city in response to Houla massacre"

00:04 BST - @HamaEcho tweets a video of "Jouret al-Shayyah neighbourhood of taking an oath of victory or death in support Houla tonight"

00:07 BST - Um Farouk tweets a video of "Protest chanting tonight for in "

00:10 BST - NMSyria tweets "#Damascus Suburbs: Jdeidet Artouz: A nighttime demonstration is taking place now in solidarity with the martyrs with #HoulaMassacre #Syria" and "Massive demonstration in Tadamon, #Damascus in solidarity with #Houla. #Homs #Syria"

00:13 BST - @Thanku4theAnger tweets "Breaking: Very heavy clashes being reported across Homs now #Syria"

00:20 BST - Via Facebook "Idlib: Massive Demonstration in Ariha in Solidarity with Houla"

00:21 BST Translation of an interview with Activist Hadi Abdulla on Al Jazeera Arabic:
Testimony of Activist Hadi Abdulla on Al Jazeera, speaking about the massacres committed by the Syrian Regime against the civilians on 25 May 2012..

Three massacres were committed in AlHola City, and more are being committed now
76martyrs are confirmed in AlHola alone, and more than 300 wounded
AlHola city has been under shelling for more than 12 hours

Shooting started at demonstration with bullets and artillery, and shelling has not stopped for more than 12 hours
Hundreds of missiles hit the civilian homes, causing the burning of hundreds of them

Assad thugs (Shabeeha) supported by the security gangs attached the houses located at the edges of AlHola city, and committed field execution against the civilians, they slaughtered them with knives, most of the killed are children.

I called up to the UN monitors and begged them to come to AlHola, they promised to come tomorrow morning
I asked the UN monitors to stop the shelling for only half an hour.

The UN monitors are sleeping now, while the massacres are being committe

We used to count the number of martyrs, but now, we are counting the number of families slaughtered
The whole world help killing the Syrian, not only the Syrian regime

We have many martyrs and wounded that we could not reach them because of the continuous shelling, and the cut-off of electricity

We are still discovering more massacres in the city
The Syrian regime is now killing under the nose of the whole world and in the name of the UN monitors
00:32 BST @ALGRGOR tweeted "Homs: Houla: Fatima Ahmad Abdel-Aal was martyred as she was fleeing the shelling in town"

00:37 BST Shaista Aziz tweets "Rami Abdel Rahman,Syrian Observatory for Human Rights "It was a real massacre that took place - UN observers are just staying silent" "

00:41 BST New video posted of an injured baby, probably a few months old, bandaged and with appears to be a chest drain.

00:45 BST Summary report Homs The Syrian Revolution General Commission - Massacre in Al Houleh 25/05/2012
The Friday protests of Al Houleh bring about a fear to the regime as the area shakes with chants and rises against oppression. The surrounding suburbs of Al Houleh are pro-Assad and continue to fire onto protests using shells to disperse protests but also damaging homes of civilians and defectors.

Today, they repeated the same thing, homes were shelled and this led to dozens of injuries and a number of martyrs. The pro-regime suburbs used artillery, Shilka [anti-aircraft], mortar shells, machine guns, BMP and tank shells on civilian homes. The Free Syrian Army began to defend the civilians thus large clashes took place at the regime checkpoints leading to a loss of lives and also weaponry. The shelling continued after midday for more than 7 hours and continues till now. This resulted in people escaping as also several homes fell in on their inhabitants. A refugee shelter was hit which was sheltering more than 200 families and this led to dozens of deaths and injuries, some of the martyrs are known and others are being confirmed.

The shabeeha [regime thugs] from pro-Assad areas burnt the fields that belong to the civilians in an attempt to further destroy their lives. The regime shabeeha [thugs] led a sectarian attack on civilians in Al Houleh, storming homes that lie at the edges of Taldaw. The shabeeha came from Alqabo, Alsheneyeh and Feleh suburbs and killed several women, children and men with names still arriving but it has exceeded 50. The Al-Kurdi family has been found killed entirely in Aqrab village with the bodies not reachable yet due to the continued shelling. Names arrived from the Alkurdi massacre are father Mahmoud Alkurdi, his sons Fadi Alkurdi, Mohamad Alkurdi and grandson Omar Alkurdi. His mother is in a critical condition [Zainab Arooq]. Their bodies were found with severe torture marks and then executed with knives. This is the typical acts of pro-regime shabeeha [thugs]. The field hospitals can no longer cope as injuries and dead flood in by the minute.

The area is still being bombarded by rockets that are targeting residential houses. The pace of the shelling is getting fiercer by the minute. According to witnesses near the rocket launchers stationed near Kherbet Al Sowda, rockets are fired from there to the north (to Al Houleh). The area is witnessing mass exodus too as civilians are leaving Al Houleh, trying to take refuge in safer areas.
More details on the original page.

00:55 BST - @Thanku4theAnger tweets "Houla: Reports of mass defection of 50 soldiers in Homs to join FSA tonight"

01:08 BST - @LCCSY posts a video of "Night time Demonstration to Show Solidarity with Houla in Jdeidet Artouz"

01:17 BST - Via LCCSy's Facebook page: "Raqqa: A demonstration with female participation started on al-Wadi street in solidarity with Houla; participants condemned the regime's massacre"

That's it from me, as always I highly recommend following @HamaEcho, @NMSyria, @tweetsforpeace and @Thanku4theAnger on Twitter for the latest information from Syria.


You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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