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Assad Regime Denies Involvement In Hama Massacre

Sarah Parvini |
June 7, 2012 | 11:50 a.m. PDT

Senior Entertainment Editor

Bashar al-Assad. (Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons)
Bashar al-Assad. (Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons)
Syrian activists accused government forces of killing nearly 100 people in the Hama region on Thursday, following United Nations Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s recent attempt to bolster peace efforts in the area. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 87 villagers were killed in Wednesday’s assault, although the Syrian National Council gave an estimate of 100 deaths. Both blamed the shabiha militia loyal to the Assad regime for the violence.

If the numbers are verified, the slaughter will rank among the worst atrocities in the continuous uprising against the government, according to France 24 news. 

Many of the bodies were burned and nearly half of those killed were women and children, CNN reported. The exact death toll in Mazraat al-Qubeir village remains unknown. The Assad regime denies any responsibility for the killings, calling the claims “absolutely baseless.” 

"A terrorist group committed a heinous crime in the Hama region which claimed nine victims. The reports by the media are contributing to spilling the blood of Syrians," the Syrian government said in a statement.

Only 10 families lived in the 20 homes, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army’s military council in Hama told CNN. 

The massacre follows last month’s tragic violence in the town of Houla, south of Hama, which left more than 100 people dead after they were gunned down in their homes. Many Western nations blamed the Syrian government for the civilian deaths but the regime denied any involvement and blamed rebels for the massacre. 

"What happened in Houla and elsewhere [in Syria] are brutal massacres which even monsters would not have carried out," Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said in a televised statement.

The Houla massacre caused global outrage and resulted in the dismissal of Syrian diplomats around the world. 

The Syrian government said the Hama slaughter was a “horrifying crime,” and claimed special forces were in the area to combat the “terrorists” responsible for the bloodshed, according to Syrian State TV.

The al-Qubeir deaths came just a day before United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council were to meet and discuss the 15-month Syrian conflict. 

"If things do not change, the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war," Kofi Annan told the General Assembly Thursday. "All Syrians will lose."



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