Homs: Even worse than we thought
Dozens of civilians in the Syrian city of Homs were massacred in cold blood, according to both activists and the government.
The difference is, each side blames the other.
The government and opposition each said the other side was to blame for the killings in Homs, where Syrian forces retook a rebel-held district on March 1 after a 26-day siege.
"The terrorist armed groups have kidnapped scores of civilians in Homs, killed and mutilated their corpses and filmed them to be shown by media outlets," state news agency SANA said.
Footage posted by opposition activists on YouTube showed men, women and children lying dead in a blood-drenched room.
The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a grassroots opposition network, said at least 45 women and children had been stabbed and burned in the Homs district of Karm al-Zeitoun.
It said another seven people were slain in the city's Jobar district, which adjoins the former rebel bastion of Baba Amr.
Activists contacted in Homs accused pro-Assad Alawite "shabbiha" militiamen of carrying out the killings.
Waleed Fares, an activist in Homs's Khalidiyah district, which is about one km from Karm al-Zeitoun, said that 30 to 40 tanks had arrived in Karm al-Zeitoun on Sunday night.
"We know now that four families have been killed by shabbiha. We have 21 names and we are trying to confirm the names of the rest," he told Reuters via Skype, adding that the victims were all from Syria's Sunni Muslim majority.
"It's quiet now but I have been hearing gunfire all night."
Fares said most of the killings occurred in Karm al-Zeitoun, but some took place in other districts. "The Free Syrian Army helped move the bodies to one place. Otherwise the regime forces would have hidden the evidence," he said.
This doesn't include the civilians who were killed in the assault on Baba Amr where Assad's forces deployed tanks and artillery, shooting indiscriminately into the neighborhood. We may never know how many died in the attack because Assad's military has already covered up or destroyed the evidence.