Family of seven slain by mortar shell, Syrian activists say [Video]
A mortar shell slammed into a home in the Syrian village of Mishmishan early Tuesday morning, killing an entire family, opposition activists said.
Seven members of the same family were slain in the attack near the border with Turkey, one activist from Idlib province said via Skype.
In the video above, which purports to show the funeral procession for the Mishmishan victims, throngs of mourners march down a road. The cameraman holds up a piece of paper listing seven victims and calls the attack a "massacre" committed by regime troops who he says fired rockets randomly on the village.
The attack was part of a Tuesday barrage on villages in Idlib province. Syrian dissidents maintained that it was the worst bombardment of the towns since the outbreak of the revolt against President Bashar Assad more than a year ago.
By late afternoon in Syria, the Local Coordination Committees activist network reported 33 dead, more than half in Idlib villages such as Mishmishan. Syrian state media, meanwhile, reported that two officers were killed by explosives set off by "terrorists," its usual term for the rebels, and warned of a "dangerous terrorist escalation" after twin explosions rocked Idlib on Monday.
The continued attacks have spotlighted the failure of a fragile cease-fire brokered by the United Nations to take hold. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again urged all sides to halt violence on Monday, saying he was "gravely concerned" about the "continuation of violence, killings and other abuses in the country."
The renewed violence also highlights the tough mission facing the 24 U.N. observers trying to monitor the cease-fire in a country with more than 20 million inhabitants. The U.N. has authorized up to 300 unarmed military observers, and the organization's peacekeeping chief reportedly said all will be on the ground by the end of May.
Here are a few more glimpses of what is reported to be happening Tuesday in Syria, as seen through amateur videos uploaded to YouTube and spread by opposition activists. The Times could not verify the exact events shown; the Syrian government often disputes the videos released by activists.
In the video below, purportedly filmed Tuesday in the village of Qamenas, children are seen holding pink balloons with the slogan "Down with Bashar" as protesters chant slogans against the government:
The next video is said to show U.N. monitors driving in the Idlib town of Ariha on Tuesday, one day after activists posted other videos purporting to show tanks rolling in Ariha and gunfire rattling in deserted streets. A group of residents, apparently eager to speak with the monitors, gathers around an SUV and leans over the car door to speak with two helmeted people sitting inside the vehicle:
Opposition activists claimed that orchards on the outskirts of Damascus were raided and targeted with shelling. The next video purportedly shows military reinforcements arriving in the area Tuesday. Several army trucks with machine guns mounted in the front and packed with soldiers drive by:
-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut and Emily Alpert in Los Angeles