68 civilians killed in Homs region ‘massacre’

Filed on February 28, 2012

BEIRUT - Armed men killed 68 people on Monday in a “massacre” in the rebel central province of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head said.

“Sixty-eight civilians were killed today in the western countryside of Homs, in a rural area between the villages of Ram al-Enz and Ghajariyeh, and were taken to the state hospital in the city of Homs,” said Rami Abdel Rahman.

“The bodies bore signs of gunfire and knife wounds,” the head of the Britain-based monitoring group added.

According to Abdel Rahman, “the Observatory received information indicating that the victims were residents displaced from the city of Homs” which has been bombarded by regime forces for 24 straight days.

“They were killed by ‘shabiha’ (pro-regime gunmen),” according to the reports received by the Observatory, Abdel Rahman said. “But we cannot confirm or deny this information.”

The Observatory called for an independent investigation into the killings which the group labelled a “massacre.”

The Local Coordination Committees, a network of activists, also reported a massacre in the Homs region.

A statement from the group said that “64 people who were trying to flee the bombardment in Baba Amr (district of the city of Homs) were killed at a security checkpoint in the Abel region of Homs.”

It was not immediately clear if the Observatory and LCC were referring to the same incident.

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