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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/6/2013 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Syrian militia loyal to president blamed for massacre

Photos and videos are emerging from Syria of dozens of innocent men, women and children brutally murdered by Syrian militia gangs in Baniyas. The photos, pixilated due to their horrific and graphic nature shows bodies shot, stabbed and burned, lying in the village streets.

At least 77 people - 20 from the same family - were killed, a day after 72 died in nearby Bayda. Assad's regime claimed it had fought back against 'terrorist groups' and restored peace and security to the area.

At least 77 people - 20 from the same family - were killed, a day after 72 died in nearby Bayda. Assad's regime claimed it had fought back against "terrorist groups" and restored peace and security to the area.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/6/2013 (11 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Baniyas, massacre, sectarian violence, Sunni Muslims, Syria


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Some children are shown lying in pools of blood. Another toddler was covered in burns, her clothes singed and her legs charred. Some of the women victims were mutilated.
 
At least 77 people - 20 from the same family - were killed, a day after 72 died in nearby Bayda. Assad's regime claimed it had fought back against "terrorist groups" and restored peace and security to the area.

Harrowing video clips, posted online by activists backing up their claims is that pro-regime militia known as the Shabbiha is involved in the operation.

The BBC's correspondent Jim Muir claims there is a strong sectarian dimension to the killings, as Baniyas is a pocket of Sunni Muslims in the middle of a large Alawite enclave on Syria's Mediterranean coast. Activists in the area accuse militias loyal to Assad of ethnic cleansing.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the names of at least 50 dead in Bayda, confirming reports of men's bodies, some blindfolded, and lying in the street. The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists, quoted witnesses as saying that some of the victims were killed with knives or blunt objects and that dozens of villagers were missing.

The massacre began following clashes with Assad forces that had earlier arrested villagers and killed them in prison after torture.

"Security and Shabbiha militia entered the village with knives and guns and started to kill everybody they met," a survivor told newspaper journalists. "Almost 60 per cent of the women and children of the village were killed."

Hundreds of Sunni families are now fleeing the area, heading for nearby towns like Jableh and Tartou.

 "Now the army is turning people back at the checkpoints outside the town, telling them to go back to Baniyas, that nothing is wrong," Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory says. "There are also announcements going out on mosque loud speakers telling people to return home."


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