U.N. reports shelling, possible executions in Syrian town
ANTAKYA, TURKEY -- United Nations investigators said Sunday that they had found evidence of heavy shelling and possible summary executions in the Syrian town of Treimseh, site of an alleged massacre last week.
A team of U.N. observers entered the town Saturday and Sunday and gathered accounts from more than two dozen villagers, the U.N. said in a statement Sunday.
The U.N. released a video chronicling its monitors’ visit. The footage shows destroyed buildings, bullet-pocked walls and blood-spattered homes in the town.
The government assault on the town Thursday began with shelling, followed by ground operations and house-to-house searches, the U.N. said, citing accounts from residents. Villagers alleged that some men were killed after being asked for their IDs, the U.N. said.
The attack on the town “appears targeted at army defectors and activists,” the U.N. said.
However, the U.N. gave no casualty figures for the attack.
Opposition activists have alleged as many as 200 people were killed, including women and children. The government has called such figures greatly exaggerated and says almost all of those killed were armed insurgents who fell in battle.
Syrian authorities say the death toll in Treimseh was 39 -- two civilians and 37 “terrorists,” the government’s standard label for armed insurgents. The government denies any massacre and says terrorists were killed when they attacked security services. The government says it used only light weapons and did not conduct heavy shelling of the town.
-- Patrick J. McDonnell
Photo: An image from a video released by the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria shows a U.N. observer looking at a Syrian man holding bloodstained clothes in the Syrian village of Treimseh on Sunday. Credit: United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria