Activists said government forces killed nearly 80 people, including women and children who were shot, hacked to death and burned in their homes. The reports of mass killings came just weeks after more than 100 people were killed in one day in a cluster of villages known as Houla in central Homs province, many of them children and women gunned down in their homes. UN investigators blamed pro-government gunmen for at least some of the killings, but the Syrian regime denied responsibility and blamed the rebels for the deaths.
A statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday said Turkey strongly condemns the mass killings in Hama on the 30th anniversary of the 1982 Hama massacre and extended its condolences. Syria said claims that its forces committed a massacre are “absolutely baseless” and blamed the violence on terrorists trying to provoke foreign military intervention to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
The exact death toll and circumstances of the killings overnight in Mazraat al-Qubair were impossible to confirm. The violence is bound to reinforce the growing belief that a peace plan brokered by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is unraveling as the country spirals toward civil war.
The statement said the Assad regime indiscriminately targets children, women and elderly and once more showed that it is committing crimes against humanity. Turkey said to stop this troubled situation is the shared responsibility of the international community.
The statement added that Turkey will continue its efforts in solidarity with the Syrian people and the international community to prevent the “despotism of the Syrian regime” to kill more Syrian civilians. Turkey added that the level of violence increases the necessity for an immediate start to a political transition to democracy based on the legitimate demands of the people.