The Washington Post

Syrian activists: More than 100 killed in village

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad swept through a small farming village in central Syria this week, torching houses and shooting and stabbing residents in an attack that killed up to 106 people, including women and children, activists said Thursday.

The assault on Haswiyeh, outside the city of Homs, took place Tuesday, activists said, but was coming to light only two days later. The attacks appeared to be sectarian in nature and resembled the attack in May on the nearby village of Houla that killed 108 people and drew international condemnation of the Assad regime.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll in Haswiyeh at 106 and said some of the dead were “burnt inside their homes while other were killed with knives” and other weapons. It also cited reports that “whole families were executed, one of them made up of 32 members.”

Youssef al-Homsi, an activist based in Homs, also said at least 100 people were killed in Haswiyeh, sending via Skype a list of 100 names of reported victims.

Omar Idilbi of the Local Coordination Committees activist group put the death toll at 37 but said that the figure was from Wednesday and that more bodies had been found since then.

It was not possible to confirm the activist accounts because of severe reporting restrictions in Syria.

A government official in Damascus flatly denied the reports of carnage, saying no such killings took place in the area. He said “the army protects civilians and their properties” and accused rebels of using civilians as “human shields.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

However, the pro-government daily al-Watan reported Thursday that Syrian troops had advanced in the countryside of Homs, “cleansing the villages of Haswiyeh and Dweir as well as their fields” of gunmen. It did not elaborate.

Rebels and government troops are known to have clashed in the area around Haswiyeh this week.

The observatory and Homsi said all of the dead in Haswiyeh appeared to be Sunni Muslims. Homsi also said residents reported that many of the attackers came from the nearby village of Mazraa, which he said is predominantly Shiite.

Sunnis make the majority of Syria’s 23 million people, while Assad and most of his top officials belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

— Associated Press



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Be a man and cry
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Chicago's tacos, four ways
Play Videos
What you need to know about filming the police
What you need to know about trans fats
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
Play Videos
Riding the X2 with D.C.'s most famous rapper
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.