Mass dumping of bodies of those trying to flee Syrian attack
The bodies of dozens of men were found dumped on wasteland on the outskirts of the stricken city of Homs on Monday in what appeared to be one of the worst instances of mass killing since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule began last March.
The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, said the bodies of 64 men were taken to the National Hospital in Homs and that an unknown number of women and children who had been with them are missing. Activists said they believed the men had been attempting to flee the violence with their families when they were stopped and gunned down by security forces.
The details available were murky, however, and the bodies had not been identified, making it difficult to establish exactly how or why the men had died.
The discovery came as Syria’s state media announced that a big majority of Syrians had voted to approve a new constitution whose terms would allow Assad to remain in power until 2028. U.S. and European leaders have condemned as meaningless an exercise that seemed designed primarily to ensure Assad’s survival rather than to implement genuine reforms.
The apparent mass killing in Homs spoke to the rising ferocity of the violence engulfing many parts of Syria as the government seeks to quell the revolt and the once peaceful protest movement increasingly resorts to arms to resist the onslaught, stirring fears of a civil war that could ignite a wider regional conflict.
The deaths were among 124 reported across Syria on Monday as the Syrian government’s efforts to crush the nearly year-long uprising showed no sign of letting up.
They included an additional 25 victims of the continued shelling of the Bab Amr neighborhood in Homs, which has been subjected to daily bombardments by tank and artillery fire since a massive offensive launched Feb. 3. The assault is aimed at crushing anti-government resistance in what had emerged as one of the biggest strongholds of the loosely organized Free Syrian Army rebel movement.
...The despots in Damascus are having a difficult time restoring enough fear in the population to make them compliant to the will of the regime. They are becoming ever more brazen in their killing and the Russians and Chinese are still protecting them from international sanctions. It is going to take a willingness to decapitate this regime to stop the killing, but there does not appear to be the will for that operation at this point.