Syria: 47 women and children dead in massacre, opposition claim

The Telegraph reports: Syria’s opposition has accused security forces of killing 47 women and children in Homs and urged the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the killings.

Hadi Abdallah, a Syrian activist in the besieged central city, said the bodies of 26 children and 21 women, some with their throats slit and others bearing stab wounds, were found in the Karm el-Zaytoun and Al-Adawiyeh neighbourhoods.

“Some of the children had been hit with blunt objects on their head, one little girl was mutilated and some women were raped before being killed,” he said.

The main opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the “massacre”, which it said took place on Sunday.

“The Syrian National Council is making the necessary contacts with all organisations and countries that are friends with the Syrian people for the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting,” the SNC said in a statement.

And in a clear reference to Russia and China, the SNC said that allies of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad shared responsibility for the “crimes” committed by his regime.

State television blamed “armed terrorist gangs” for the killings, saying they had kidnapped residents of Homs, killed them and then made video footage of the bodies in an attempt to discredit Syrian forces.

News of the killings came after UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan left Damascus on Sunday without managing to secure an accord to end bloodletting monitors say has claimed more than 8,500 lives since March last year.

Annan departed at the end of a two-day mission during which he said he presented Assad with “concrete proposals” to halt the unrest that has rocked Syria since pro-democracy protesters rose up against his regime on March 15, 2011.

On the ground, more than 150 people – 61 of them civilians caught in the crossfire – were killed weekend clashes between armed rebels and regular soldiers in various flashpoint areas, according to figures of rights monitors.

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