Syrian human rights activists said that a new massacre took place in a town in central Hama province late on Wednesday night, with many women and children left dead.
Some reports suggest that at least 100 people were killed by pro-regime militia members and government forces in Mazraat al-Qubeir—just over a week after the massacre in Houla, where more than 100 people, many women and children, were killed. In Houla, activists pinned responsibility on pro-regime militia known as “shabiha.”
The head of the United Nations observer mission in Syria, Robert Mood, said his team has been blocked from visiting Qubeir.
“First, they are being stopped at Syrian Army checkpoints and in some cases turned back; second, some of our patrols are being stopped by civilians in the area; third, we are receiving information from residents of the area that the safety of our observers is at risk if we enter the village,” Mood said, according to a news release.
The Local Coordination Committees activist network, which is based in Syria, placed the number of those killed in Qubeir at 78, while the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 48 civilians were killed, including 18 women and children.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking on the violence that has plagued the country despite a ceasefire that was agreed upon last month, said Syria is at a crossroads.
“Syria and the region can quickly move from tipping point to breaking point. The dangers of full-scale civil war are imminent and real,” Ban said in his strongest comment yet on the situation.
The situation is getting worse on a day-by-day basis, the secretary-general added. “Each day seems to bring new additions to the grim catalog of atrocities,” he said.
Syrian state-run television quoted officials as saying the latest massacre was committed by “armed terrorist groups,” a term commonly used to describe opposition fighters.
“Syrian [TV] will air the true images of the massacre … The instigative media channels have taken to airing such fabrications before the U.N. Security Council meetings,” said Bashar al-Jaafari, the country’s special representative to the U.N., according to state television.
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