Houla Massacre Survivor Describes Slaughter of His Family

An 11-year-old survivor of the Houla massacre has described how he survived by smearing himself with his dead brother’s blood and pretending to be dead. Six members of his family — his parents, siblings and an uncle — were shot by gunmen in his house early Saturday morning, says the Guardian:

“My mum yelled at them,” said the boy. “She asked: ‘What do you want from my husband and son?’ A bald man with a beard shot her with a machine gun from the neck down. Then they killed my sister, Rasha, with the same gun. She was five years old. Then they shot my brother Nader in the head and in the back. I saw his soul leave his body in front of me.

“They shot at me, but the bullet passed me and I wasn’t hit. I was shaking so much I thought they would notice me. I put blood on my face to make them think I’m dead.”

The gunman then looted the family’s possessions, taking televisions and a computer.

A town elder from the Syrian National Council is now caring for the boy and put him in touch with the Guardian. The boy stated that the gunman were al-Shabiha, the militia loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime; he was reportedly “calm and detached until he was pressed” about how he knew the identity of the gunmen.

Houla has been a stronghold of the rebel Free Syrian Army and army defectors have returned to their families there, says the Guardian.

While the UN itself has said the Syrian government is responsible for the massacre and that 85 people in Houla were “summarily executed, Assad’s regime has denied this and, following its standard line throughout the 15-month uprising, has insisted that “terrorists” are to blame. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also reported that, based on reports from the 271 UN monitors in Syria, fewer than 20 of the 110 killed in Houla were shot by artillery and that whole families had been shot inside their own homes.

Kofi Annan, special envoy to the United Nations and the Arab League, arrived in Damascus on Monday and said that he was “shocked and horrified by the tragic incident.” He is meeting with Assad on Tuesday. Annan’s spokesman, Ahmed Fawzi, said that he had emphasized the “grave concern of the international community about the violence in Syria” and “conveyed in frank terms his view to President Assad that the six point plan cannot succeed without bold steps to stop the violence and release detainees, and stressed the importance of full implementation of the plan.”

Annan is apparently seeking to salvage what he can of the peace plan, which had called for a ceasefire between Assad’s regime and the armed opposition. As Al Jazeera says, that ceasefire seems to have broken down.

Should the US consider military action in Syria, as Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, has said should be considered? Writing in The Atlantic, James Traub says that “in recent weeks, Assad had made Annan look like a naïve devotee of peace-at-any-price by first accepting the plannd then systematically trampling on its terms.” But when, asks Traub — citing the massacre at Srebrenica in July 1995 and the genocide in Rwanda – ”do the risks of action become greater than the risks of inaction?” When does the world acknowledge that diplomacy, having been given more than a few chances, has failed in Syria?

The US, Canada, Germany, France, the UK and other countries are all expelling Syrian diplomats and/or ambassadors, in protest at the Houla massacre, a sign that Western nations are reckoning up how much, or how little, diplomacy has been able to do.

32 people have been killed so far today in Syria: One woman, five members of the Free Syrian Army and five children — five more children.

Related Care2 Coverage

116 People Killed in Houla; Russia Blocks UN Statement

32 Children Massacred in Syria, UN Confirms (Videos)

Syria: Watch Another Child Suffer (Video)

Photo by Freedom House2

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Fadi M.
Fadi M.3 years ago

Very sad and disturbing!!

I wonder how much politics stand behind this, and how many countries are involved. I hated and disproved Assad's regime many years before the Syrian uprising, but I honestly believe it is not the one that carried out this massacre, and I fear it is not going to be the last one.

I feel sorry for anyone who suffers anywhere in the world and I hope this madness stops. Humanity must prevail over everything else.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

When dominating a culture any thing will do. Even going in to homes and killing the people in it.
To me the people in charge are sick and need mental help.
There are not any governments that are clear of hurting their people. Even the US.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

When dominating a culture any thing will do. Even going in to homes and killing the people in it.
To me the people in charge are sick and need mental help.
There are not any governments that are clear of hurting their people. Even the US.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons3 years ago

and how much went on behind the scenes from the US to destabilize this country.

Bonnie D.
Bonnie Down3 years ago

I am not convinced. Too much is not making sense. The muslims were killing the Christians or making them leave the country without any possessions. So how many fighting factions are there in Syria? Who were the people who were killed in their own homes? Who were the groups that were fighting each other?. The muslim brotherhood is taking control of the other countries that rebelled against their leader, so they will probably be worse off. Who can say this not another set-up. Some truth here please. There is no excuse for murdering those children, but make sure the guilty ones are identified and punished.

Bill Reese
Bill Reese3 years ago

Has anyone brought up the idea that perhaps this is a set up to taint the world against Assad? It seems to convenient with the timing corresponding with the UN representative arriving, and the first stories were about cannons firing, and now we know that many were shot at close range. Would the Syrian Army loot houses after killing the occupants.

I do not know the answer to all these questions, but I do know it would not be above the Brotherhood or Al-quada to have done the massacure to gain the worlds attention. Just thinking outloud.

Gene Sengstake
Gene Sengstake3 years ago

As the world stands by and watches - - how many times have we seen these baby Hitlers get away with murder? - sometimes of thousands of people. So everyone points their finger at Assad - he is the bad guy - right? Maybe what we should really be afraid of is that so many people are standing behind him - willing to pull the trigger - to kill their own people - other human beings - and for what? - - Are we really surprised? Hasn’t this be going on since the beginning of human civilization? - in one form or another? - the media is just keeping us better informed now days - - How seriously should we regard this behavior? These are all just human beings - like us. Aren’t we just witnessing human nature? - human behavior? - something that is a part of us all - - - so let’s digress for a moment - - Canadian tar sands oil - the land is being raped - air and water polluted - yet the pipelines are going through - with little real opposition - it’s “cheap” energy - - - the whale - dolphin - and seal slaughters - not to mention the videos we have seen from China - these activities make international headlines and yet continue essentially unabated - - how many more examples do you want??? - - the “little" atrocities - veal - foie gras - puppy mills - or how about just the way “we” “think” concerning everything that’s now accepted as “normal”? - - what is “our” responsibility in all this???

Warren Osborn
Warren Osborn3 years ago

When a gang robs a house and kills the people who live there it is the responsibility of the police to put them in jail and up to the courts to keep them there. But when the dead people's government is to blame then it is up to the international community to hold the guilty accountable if the citizens of that country cannot do it for themselves. However it happens, an abusive regime must not be allowed to remain in power. To do my part in making unsafe places in the world safe for children to play is one of the reasons I enlisted in the army national guard on April 4, 1983. Because I volunteered myself, I can say send in the troops.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

This just proves that Islam is NOT a religion of peace as we have been led to believe. Just watch the news once in a while.

John Mccarthy
John Mccarthy3 years ago

I was struck by the statement, "I saw his soul leave his body in front of me." Who is more responsible: the one who orders these atrocities or the ones who carry them out?

I am grateful to the news media for making us aware of man's inhumanity to man.