Syrian activists said Thursday that more than 100 civilians, including women and children, were killed in a village near the central city of Homs.
The London-based group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 106 civilians were shot, stabbed, or burned Tuesday in Haswiyeh, but news of the incident only came to light Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
Homs-based activist Youssef al-Homsi confirmed to the agency via Skype that at least 100 people were killed, giving a list of names. In addition to whole families, the list includes 15 individual female names and 10 children’s names.
Reuters also reported that 106 were slain after forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad stormed the village two days prior.
Neither news agency could independently confirm the incident due to reporting restrictions in Syria.
Opposition activists sent Reuters footage of people dragging the dead bodies of children from the rubble of Haswiyeh, a poor village on the outskirts of Homs.
“The Observatory has the names of 14 members of one family, including three children, and information on other families who were completely killed, including one of 32 people,” Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the of the Syrian Observatory, told Reuters. “This needs to be investigated by the United Nations,” he said.
The United Nations has estimated that more than 60,000 people have been killed since the conflict flared in March 2011.
Homs opposition activist Abu Yazen told Reuters that Assad forces likely punished the town for allowing rebels to enter the area, while some pinned the blame on pro-Assad militia known as shabiha.
In a video seen by AP, five women surrounded by children described what they saw during the massacre.
“They entered homes, slaughtered women and children then burnt them,” a woman said. “They slaughtered members of the same families then turned the diesel heaters on them.” She added, “We did not fight, and we had no gunmen. We are all workers trying to make a living.”
In May of last year, a massacre in the nearby town of Houla that left 108 people dead drew international condemnation against the Assad regime.
A government official told AP that reports of the massacre were not true and said “the army protects civilians and their properties,” saying that the rebels had used civilians as human shields. But state-run media reported that Syrian soldiers moved through the area around Homs, “cleansing the villages of Haswiyeh and Dweir as well as their fields” of gunmen.
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