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U.N. observers in Syria find blood, smell burned flesh [Video]

June 8, 2012 |  2:37 pm

When United Nations observers were finally able to enter the Syrian village of Mazraat al Kabir, the stench of burned flesh hung in the air.

Turned away and even shot at Thursday as they tried to check the latest allegations of a massacre in the embattled country, the U.N. team arrived in the farming enclave Friday to find homes ravaged by grenades and gunshots, their walls and floors splattered with blood.

The video above, made by the U.N. team, shows evidence of killings: A mattress stained with blood, walls scorched and pocked with holes, a man sobbing after he points to a framed photograph. "That is the martyr," he says.

Another man tells the team in Arabic, "Young children, infants, my brother's family, his wife and seven children, the eldest only in 6th grade -- not one of them is left. I will show you the blood. They burned his house."

The U.N. team said Friday that they were unsure how many people had been killed in the community west of Hama, the third massacre reported in Syria in two weeks.

"The circumstances surrounding this crime are still unclear," U.N. mission spokesperson Sausan Ghosheh said in a statement released after the observers' visit.

Opposition activists say forces loyal to President Bashar Assad killed as many as 78 people, including women and children. Syrian state media countered that "armed terrorist groups" -- the usual government term for rebels -- were behind the attack, killing nine people.

"The only clue to where the bodies of the people may have gone are etched into the road," BBC correspondent Paul Danahar wrote on Twitter as he accompanied the U.N. observers. "U.N. said they were tracks made by military vehicles."

"Whoever did this may have acted with mindless violence but attempts to cover up the details of the atrocity are calculated and clear," Danahar said.


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Video: U.N. observers go to the Syrian village of Mazraat al Kabir, the site of the third reported massacre in Syria in two weeks. Credit: United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria