Hama deaths due to fire fights- not massacre

Discussion in 'Politics' started by shock, Jul 14, 2012.

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    HAMA DEATHS DUE TO FIRE FIGHTS- NOT MASSACRE

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    THE NEW YORK TIMES

    July 14, 2012

    By NEIL MacFARQUHAR


    BEIRUT, Lebanon — New details emerging Saturday about what local Syrian activists called a massacre of civilians near the central city of Hama indicated that it was more likely an uneven clash between the heavily armed Syrian military and local fighters bearing light weapons.

    The United Nations observers still on the ground in Syria sent a team to the village of Tremseh on Saturday to investigate what had happened, said Sausan Ghosheh, the spokesman for the monitors in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

    A combination of videos, televised confessions of numerous captured fighters and reports from activists outside the area all indicated that a battle on Thursday between the military and local fighters in Tremseh, a village of 11,000 people about 22 miles northwest of Hama, resulted in a slaughter of rebel forces.

    The videos that have emerged so far online, the source of much of the information on any fighting that is available outside Syria, have shown the victims to be young men of fighting age. One showed 15 bodies. Another one, said to show a group of reinforcements being sent to Tremseh, also showed a group of young men in civilian clothes carrying their personal weapons.

    ***

    After the high toll was announced from Tremseh, as was the case with Houla and other similar episodes, Western leaders lined up to condemn the mass killings of civilians. Col. Riad al-Asad, based in Turkey as the ostensible leader of the loose coalition of fighters called the Free Syrian Army, told the Arabic television network Al Jazeera on Thursday that there had been no opposition fighters in the town.

    ***the evidence available suggested that events on Thursday more closely followed the Syrian government account. ***

    The picture emerging is that there was a large group of fighters from the town and the local area bivouacked in Tremseh. The Syrian Army moved in early Thursday, blocking all exits and blasting away with machine guns, tank shells and rockets fired from helicopters, laying waste to the town.

    “Whenever the Syrian Army knows there are fighters concentrated in an area, they attack,” said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the Observatory activist who collects statistics from a network in Syria. “The majority of people killed in Tremseh were either rebel fighters from the village or from surrounding villages.”

    Syrian state television paraded several captured fighters on television on Saturday who said Tremseh had been a regional center of operations for the past 20 days. The captives said that 200 to 300 fighters had gathered there to plot attacks on checkpoints and other military targets.

    ***

    The broadcast also showed the identification card of what it said was a Turkish fighter in the group, and a captured man named Abdelsalem Darwish said there had been a Turkish fighter and some Libyans there, as well as money and arms from Turkey.

    ***

    An initial report by United Nations observers who were unable to enter the town on Thursday said that they thought that the fighting there was a continuation of running battles in the area.

    ***"
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  2. shock
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    Happily,
    a broad line
    has been drawn
    between the actions
    of Hilary
    and those of Bill.
     

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