Syria massacres: regime, rebels blame each other

The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces on March 1 accused government troops of executing 72 people and burning their bodies in a village near the northern city of Aleppo. The Aleppo Media Centre, run by a network of anti-regime activists, said children, women and elderly people were among the victims, who it said were targeted on suspicion of collaborating with opposition fighters. (Al-Shofra, US CentCom, March 1) Controversy still surrounds a Jan. 15 massacre at the village of Haswiya, on the edge of the central city of Homs, where some 100 were killed, a BBC reporter seeing charred bodies still lying inside one of the houses. Syrian security forces who escorted the BBC team to the site of the killings insisted they were the work of the Nusra Front rebels. Opposition activists say the pro-regime Shabiha militiawas to blame. (BBC News, March 11) 

The Islamic State of Iraq, political front of al-Qaeda in Iraq, claimed responsibility for a massacre of nine Iraqi border guards and 48 Syrian soldiers who sought respite in Iraq from Syria’s civil war March 4. The attack in Anbar province came a day after the Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant claimed to have “liberated” the border crossing. (Long War Journal, March 11)

  1. More terror in Damascus
    A suicide car bomb killed at least 15 people and wounded 53 in the main business district of Damascus April 8, in what the Syrian prime minister said was a response to army gains against rebels around the capital. The bomb near a school in the Sabaa Bahrat district, which also houses the Central Bank and Finance Ministry, set cars ablaze and damaged buildings, state TV footage showed. (Reuetrs, April 9)