108 People Killed in Houla; Russia Blocks UN Statement

108 people, 34 of them children — an increase from original estimates — were killed in the Syrian village of Houla, the United Nations Security Council was informed at an emergency meeting on Sunday. Britain, France, Germany and the US had composed a statement condemning the massacre and the Syrian military for shelling civilian neighborhoods with tank shells. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and his envoy, Kofi Annan — who is scheduled to be in Damascus for talks on Monday — have also issued a joint statement. Notably, the UN has “directly accus[ed] the government of  perpetrating major violence,” says the New York Times.

Amateur videos showed row on row of children, some clearly toddlers, with what appeared to be bloody bullet wounds to their temples. Opposition activists said that the Syria government attacked Houla on Friday after demonstrations following prayers and continued the shelling until Saturday. Anti-government demonstrations have broken out throughout Syria and threaten to break down along sectarian lines: Houla is a Sunni Muslim town, while the three towns around it are Alawite, a minority sect that President Bashar al-Assad, his family and security forces belong to.

The massacre has “soured” Syrians even more about the presence of the UN monitors, who were in nearby Homs when the killings in Houla occurred.

Russia Blocks UN Statement; How To Remove Assad?

But Russia, Syria’s long-time ally and supplier of arms, has blocked the UN Security Council statement and has demanded a private meeting with General Robert Mood, the head of the UN observer mission, about assigning blame for the horrific massacre.

Russia’s support remains key for the US to proceed with efforts to transfer power from Assad under a plan similar to that by which long-time Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh was finally removed from power after over thirty years in February. Despite  Russia’s intransigence about criticizing Syria and condemning Assad’s regime, the example of Yemen has been so “widely discussed” in Moscow that “the option has become known by its Russian term, ‘the Yemenskii Variant,’ even in the United States.” The New York Times highlights the complexities of such a transfer of power:

The biggest problem with the Yemen model, several experts said, is that Yemen and Syria are starkly different countries. In Yemen, Mr. Saleh kept his grip on power for three decades by reconciling competing interests through a complex system of patronage. When his authority collapsed, there was a vice president, Mr. Hadi, who was able to assert enough control over Yemen’s splintered security forces to make him a credible transitional leader.

In Syria, by contrast, Mr. Assad oversees a security state in which his minority Alawite sect fears that if his family is ousted, it will face annihilation at the hands of the Sunni majority. That has kept the government remarkably cohesive, cut down on military defections and left Mr. Assad in a less vulnerable position than Mr. Saleh. Even if he leaves, American officials conceded, there is no obvious candidate to replace him.

President Barack Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin, now reelected to his old post, will meet on May 7.

Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey said that, while there was a “universal response” to condemn the killings in Houla, the “devil is in the details” about who to lay responsibility on. The Syrian government has denied involvement for the brutal killings, offering its standard line that “terrorists” were responsible. Jihad Makdissi, the spokesman for the Syrian Foreign Ministry, said that “We unequivocally deny the responsibility of government forces for the massacre,” at a news conference in Damascus. “Not one Syrian tank went in” to Houla, Makdissi said in Al Jazeera.

How many more children will die this week in Syria?


Previous Care2 Coverage

32 Children Massacred in Syria, UN Confirms (Videos)

Syria: Watch Another Child Suffer (Video)

Syrian Rebel Army Says Six Assad Officials Killed


Photo by FreedomHouse2


Huber F.
Huber F5 years ago

Terror at its worst. Brutal tyrants have no way of expressing their agendas. Crazed tyrants.

Martin L.
Martin L5 years ago

Marilyn, you seem to have forgotton sone important facts like America who has increased its military aid to Israel so that Israel can continue to suppress their Palestinian neighbours.

American military currently occupy large numbers of countries and sovereign states, but Russia does not and America continues to arm insurgent groups for the purpose of carrying out its disastrous foreign policy and world domination in over 100 countries in the past 30 years.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago

Putin, if given half the chance would be just as vicious as Assad. Besides he does not want to give up that Syrian money for the weapons he's selling Assad allowing him to kill more innocents.

TERRANCE N5 years ago

People choose to have short memories and forget the strategic actions behind these developments. the strategic actons I speak of is the project for a new American centuries. The neocons in the Bush 2 administration choose a number of countries to over throw. The countries are Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, North Korean, and a few other counries I can't recall.

The only difference between the intervention in Libya and Syria is that this time Russia, China, and other member countries on the UN security council, especially China and Russia remember the double cross by the West to insure the protection of civilians. After agreeing to a no fly zone by NATO, civilians were bombed and killed anyway.

These war mongers could care less how many civilians are killed in Syria. Where was this outcry when Gaza was being bombed with white phosporous, depleted uranium, and other weapons by the Geneva convention being used on women, children, and other civilians resulting in the deaths of 1,400 mostly civilians.

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley5 years ago

Well, someone definitely needs to do something!
I don't think there's a doubt in anyone's mind who caused this slaughter--it's time it was ended--and not by another bloody war!!
NONE of these countries are models of peace and wisdom, and the USA does not need to bully their way into the country and start more shooting.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

Very distressing.

Martin L.
Martin L5 years ago

I want to pick up on a point made by Richard C:

"I’m disgusted by the refusal of the U.S. government (and other western governments following in servile obedience) to stop the massacre of the Syrian people because of opposition by Russia and China! Did the U.S obtain Russian or Chinese approval to invade Iraq or Afghanistan? Furthermore, since when did Russia and China become arbiters of morality?

Perhaps if the U.S. had done so, they would not have invaded Iraq or Afghanistan and the U.S. would not be in the mess it is in. Illegal intervention in both countries has created not thousands of innocent deaths but 100’s of thousands of innocent deaths and counting.

U.S. military intervention has not and WILL NOT solve a countries internal problems, but as history has shown it WILL compound them. And since when have America ever been arbiters of morality, yeh!, pigs will fly! It’s about time the U.S. gave the other options a chance for once rather than the bomb them and burn them policy.

There is no doubt in my mind and those of us calling for a peaceful end to the Syrian bloodshed, that the Military interventionists among us want from the U.S / NATO and Arab States is bomb Syria and arm the so-called rebels. That’s hardly a way to avoid further bloodshed and tens of thousands more civilian deaths.

John Duqesa
Past Member 5 years ago

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Robin S5 years ago

Dorothy: What about Bahrain?? Are you not aware of the horrendous atrocities the Al Khalifa regime have been doing to their own people for many years? You must also not be aware that the U.S. government and Britain are strong supporters and allies with the Al Khalifa regime, providing them with weapons to carry out the attacks and murders of their civilians! If you are only getting your news from the corporate-controlled lie-machine media you are NOT informed ... you are being brainwashed. The bottom line is the U.S. and other western domineering governments need to stay out of other countries! We are not "winning hearts and minds" ... we are angering hearts and killing minds, as well as breeding more future terrorists by causing a deeper hatred for us around the world!!

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

thanks for posting