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Al-Qubeir massacre

Al-Qubeir massacre
Part of the Syrian civil war
Al-Qubeir massacre is located in Syria
Al-Qubeir massacre
Location Al-Qubeir, Hama, Syria
Coordinates
Date 6 June 2012 (2012-06-06)
Attack type
Massacre
Deaths 55–78
Perpetrators Shabiha (rebel claim)
Syrian opposition (government claim)


The Al-Qubeir massacre (Arabic: مجزرة القبير‎), also known as the Hama massacre, occurred in the small village of Al-Qubeir near Hama, Syria, on 6 June 2012 during the country's ongoing civil conflict. Al-Qubeir is described as a Sunni farming settlement surrounded by Alawite villages in the central province of Hama.[1] According to preliminary evidence, troops had surrounded the village which was followed by pro-government Shabiha militia entering the village and killing civilians with "barbarity," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council.[2]

Activists, and witnesses,[3] stated that scores of civilians, including children, had been killed by Shabiha militia and security forces, while the Syrian government said that nine people had been killed by "terrorists".[4] It was further claimed by the Syrian National Council that 35 of the people killed were from the same Al Yatim family and more than half of them women and children.[5]

Events

Activists reported that the village was initially shelled by the security forces, before the Shabiha moved in to kill by shooting at close range and by stabbing.[4] A government statement, reported by Syrian state TV, denied responsibility: "What a few media have reported on what happened in Al-Qubeir, in the Hama region, is completely false."[6] State TV had previously stated that the security forces were engaged in an assault on an "armed terrorist stronghold" in the village.[4]

At the time that the reports were issued, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations were unable to verify the reports – monitors stated they would be heading to the area to investigate "as soon as dawn breaks".[7] Later, the head of the UN observer mission said that Syrian government soldiers prevented the observers from entering the village.[8][9] Ban Ki Moon told the UN General Assembly that observers attempting to reach the site of the massacre were shot at with light arms.[8][10]

The UN monitors eventually reached the village on 8 June 2012. A BBC journalist, Paul Danahar, travelling with the UN spoke of the stench of burnt flesh and blood splattered buildings. The UN observers did not find bodies. Local people told them that after Alawite militia had carried out the massacre others had arrived and taken the bodies away.[11]

The Syrian Government appointed its own commission to investigate, but the commission head, Talal Houshan, defected, accusing the government and Shabiha of killing women and children in a video posted on YouTube. [12][13]

Casualty estimates

Casualty estimates vary. In an early report activists stated that at least 78 people were killed, including children.[14] The opposition said that 100 people had been killed in the massacre; Syrian National Council spokesperson Mohammed Sermini said, "We have 100 deaths in the village of Al-Qubeir, among them 20 women and 20 children."[6] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated the number of dead to be 87.[6] Two days later, the SNC revised their death toll to 78 while SOHR revised it to at least 55. Syrian state media gave a figure of nine.[11] When describing the massacre, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon reported how some of the victims were burned, while others were slashed with knives.[15]

Reactions

Domestic

  •  Syria – Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar Jaafari, emphasized that the Syrian government is ready to do everything in its power to make the mission of the UN envoy a success, indicating that Syria has offered all necessary facilitations for Annan's plan and the UN observer mission. He further said that killing innocent civilians in Al-Qubeir took place five hours before any clashes happened, adding that the images broadcast by al Jazeera and al Arabia are not those of the massacre victims.[16] The Syrian government blamed "terrorists" for the massacre.[17]

International

See also

References

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  2. ^ Gun battles rage in streets of Damascus – Middle East. Al Jazeera English (4 October 2011). Retrieved on 10 June 2012.
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