Skip to main content

Syria activists: 78 killed in village

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:04 PM EDT, Wed June 6, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 35 of the victims are from one family, activists say
  • Half of the dead are women and children
  • Activists say the deaths happened after Syrian forces shelled the village
  • Syrian government blames terrorist group for killings

(CNN) -- At least 78 people were killed in one Syrian village Wednesday, with at least half of the dead women and children, Syrian opposition activists said.

The deaths happened in Qubeir, a small farming village of 200 people in Hama province, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria. It blamed the deaths on Syrian government forces.

Syrian state TV later accused an "armed terrorist group" of carrying out the killings.

Just 10 families live in Qubeir in a cluster of about 20 homes, said Lt. Khaled Ali, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army's military council in Hama.

Security Clearance: U.S., Russia grapple for common ground

Front Lines: Syria expels diplomats
Valerie Amos: 'Syrian people need help'
Rebels face off with government in Syria
Who are Syria's Shabiha?

The Local Coordination Committees said that 35 of the dead are from one family.

Rami Abdulrahman, a spokesman for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, another activist group, confirmed "dozens" of deaths in Qubeir but said he could not give a specific number "until all names have been confirmed."

An activist who was less than two miles from Qubeir also said that at least 78 people had been killed the village. He said he was working with others to evacuate the bodies, many of which were burned.

He said 38 of the victims were men, and the rest were women and children.

A video posted on YouTube late Wednesday showed a row of bodies covered in blankets, which the cameraman said were from Qubeir. The first body is that of a child, and another body is charred.

The cameraman says the location is Maarzaf, a town near Qubeir, and he gives the date as June 6. CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video.

The deaths happened after regime tanks shelled the village for at least an hour, activists say. Militias loyal to the regime then went through the village, executing people with knives and guns, Ali and the Local Coordination Committees said.

Rebels face off with regime troops in 'sniper alley'

Ali said that Qubeir is surrounded by villages that support the Alawite regime of President Bashar al-Assad and that the militia members came from two of the neighboring villages.

Syrian state TV said an "armed terrorist group" had committed the "horrifying crime" in Qubeir. It did not mention an overall death toll but said nine women and children were killed, some of them with their legs and hands tied.

State TV also reported that government forces were headed to the village to help.

"An official source in Hama says that the security forces have responded to calls for help and complaints from the people in al-Qubeir ... and raided a terrorist cell and killed a number of them and confiscated their weapons," state TV reported.

The incident in Qubeir follows last month's massacre of more than 100 people in the town of Houla, just south of the Hama area. Members of the U.N. Security Council have blamed the Houla massacre on government forces.

"The massacre of Qubeir is an exact repeat of what we saw in Houla," Ali said Wednesday.

Al-Assad denies that his forces were behind the Houla killings.

State TV noted that the Qubeir killings happened a day before the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council plan to hold meetings on the 15-month Syrian crisis. It said the massacre was intended "to be used to pressure Syria."

CNN's Yousuf Basil, Amir Ahmed and Arwa Damon contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
updated 7:41 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
updated 4:25 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
updated 5:19 PM EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
updated 6:19 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
updated 10:37 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT