07:04 - Source: CNN
Struggling to survive in town near Homs

Story highlights

NEW: Opposition activists say they think more vidoes of horror in Baba Amr will surface

Video footage purportedly shows the bodies of 17 civilians discovered near Baba Amr

A man describes entire families slaughtered by President Bashar al-Assad's forces

Avaaz: At least six people killed came from the same family

CNN —  

New videos posted from the Syrian flashpoint city of Homs suggest a fresh wave of killings by the Syrian military after the fall of the neighborhood of Baba Amr.

Activists have provided CNN with footage purportedly showing the bodies of 17 civilians that were discovered February 29 in villages near Baba Amr following an all-out assault on the Homs neighborhood that had held off a government assault for weeks.

Much of the video is too graphic to show on air, but analysis of the video showed at least 12 bodies.

In one, bodies are piled up in the back of a truck bed covered in blankets. Snow falls on the bodies as people in the background wail, some shouting, “There is no God but God!” One man off camera says, “These are the victims of the massacre by the Shabiha (a government militia), entire families slaughtered by the forces of Assad” – a reference to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Several of the victims appeared to have been shot in the head, with some showing signs of deep cuts to the face and other body parts. At least one victim appeared to have had his arms tied up using red strips of cloth.

Activist group Avaaz listed 17 names of the victims that it said it had confirmed, and claimed at least six of the men came from one family, named Sabouh.

In another video, the camera pans down a line of five bodies wrapped in shrouds, as someone off camera reads off their names.

A third video shows a woman wailing, “Bring an end to Bashar” as people try to console her before she falls to the ground, shaking. The activist who provided the video said the woman was the mother of one victim, Mahmoud al-Zoubi, and that she had just seen his body for the first time since his death.

It was not clear how the activists managed to film the bodies. Opposition members say it is increasingly difficult to get videos and information out of the besieged city, with internet access mostly cut off and activists risking their lives to show what is happening.

“Those are civilians from Baba Amr who were killed two days ago, and today their pictures finally arrived,” Rania Kisar, a Chicago-based member of the Syrian Revolution General Commission.

Activists insist this is just one massacre among many. They say they expect more videos to surface.

“Homs is the capital of the resistance. Baba Amr is a strategic point in Homs because it gave the Free Syrian Army the freedom to conduct operations, access other neighborhoods and launch attacks against the regime,” said Osamah, the SRGC’s media director in Hama. He did not want to be fully identified for safety reasons.

Residents in Homs tell harrowing stories of food, fuel and electricity shortages during the biting winter cold and a neighborhood besieged with raining shells and snipers firing from rooftops.

One Syrian activist contacted by CNN offered further details about the killings in the videos.

The activist said the Sabouh family were local farmers in the area known as Aysoon, where many of the armed forces were stationed and where artillery and rocket launchers were deployed.

The activist cited eyewitnesses as claiming that Shabiha and armed forces rushed through the area opening fire on residents. Six men of the Sabouh family were killed, and when other neighbors came to help they were killed as well, the activist said.

The incident occurred as many of the rebel Free Syrian Army forces were abandoning the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, and as residents were trying to flee the city.

CNN cannot independently confirm the details of the killings because the government has severely restricted the access of international journalists.

The United Nations estimates more than 7,500 people have died since then, while the LCC says more than 9,000 people have died during the conflict. The Syrian government says more than 2,000 security personnel have been killed in the violence.

CNN’s Saad Abedine contributed to this report.