During the Memorial Day weekend initial reports by the U.N. had verified that 92 people were killed, including at least 32 children.
The Syrian government immediately denied responsibility for the slaughter. Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said at a press conference that the government’s tanks were not in Houla and its heavy weapons were not aimed at the residents. Makdissi said that heavily armed “terrorists,” complete with mortars and antitank missiles, committed the atrocity.
Makdissi suggested that Syria had been subjected to “a tsunami of lies,” [a.k.a. misinformation campaign]. “We have set up a military and legal committee to investigate…results will emerge within days.” he said.
[I won’t be posting excerpts from Phil DeFranco on a regular basis anytime soon but he has come along way since the early days, no?]
Some results of the investigation have come in. The New York Times reported yesterday:
The May 25 attack at the village left 108 people dead, 49 of them children. Most were shot at close range or stabbed. Villagers said their assailants were shabiha, or armed militiamen controlled by the government, who came from nearby villages and are from the same minority Alawite sect as the president.
While stopping short of blaming Syria directly, the United Nations found indications that the shabiha had carried out the attack, and the Security Council criticized the Syrian government for using heavy artillery against civilian areas.
It all sounds very very complicated and I have to agree with Phil on this one, as tragic as it is…we can not rush to judgement. Hopefully someone will be able to dig up more than speculation as to who controls the armed militia men that shot and stabbed so many people at close range.