Houla massacre in Syria stirs worldwide outrage
Dozens of women and children killed in brutal clampdown
The latest images from Syria, which has endured a brutal governmental clampdown after the start of a popular rebellion 14 months ago, are especially horrific. At least 100 unarmed civilians have been killed in Houla, 50 of them children less than 10 years of age. There are also reports of many women having been killed.
At least 100 unarmed civilians have been killed in Houla, 50 of them children less than 10 years of age. There are also reports of many women having been killed.
A demonstration in Idlib showed a U.N. vehicle among protesters. Demonstrators are calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Opposition activists report that another 26 people, including five children and three women were killed across the country on Sunday.
Security Council members huddled for closed-door talks on the crisis at the United Nations. A senior U.N. official said the death toll from the killings in Houla had now grown to 108. The undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations Herve Ladsous said that figure came from Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the head of the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria.
Spokeswoman for the U.N. mission Sausan Ghosheh said the dead included 34 women and 49 children under the age of 10.
Britain and the United States condemned the Houla massacre, along with Israel, in a rare public statement on the 14-month-old Syrian conflict.
U.N. monitors visited the town over the weekend, releasing video over the weekend that depicts bodies being loaded into a truck and others being prepared for funerals.
Opposition activists said killings began with a mortar bombardment, followed by a rampage by government-allied militias. Video posted over the weekend showed opposition activists displaying the bloodied remains of more than 10 children, including some with limbs blown off or skulls torn open.
Syrian officials maintain that government troops are fighting to protect their people from "terrorist gangs."
British television reporter Alex Thompson in Houla said its residents appeared to be voting with their feet.
"There are lots of civilians in the rebel-held areas. They are not apparently frightened of the fighters. They are speaking openly to the United Nations," Thomson told CNN. "In the areas of the town held by the army, there is nobody -- it's a ghost town."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told reporters Sunday in Damascus, "We deny that the Syrian armed forces were responsible of what took place in Houla."
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, Houla, massacre, TV reports, video, Internet
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