UN: Victims in Syria Houla attack were executed

AP, AFP and Reuters, Tuesday 29 May 2012

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says a minority of those killed died from artillery fire, and most were summary executions

People gather at a mass burial for the victims purportedly killed during an artillery barrage from Syrian forces in Houla in this handout image dated May 26, 2012, (Photo: Reuters).

The UN human rights office says the global body's investigators have concluded that children were among almost 90 people summarily executed in the Syrian area of Houla on Friday.

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says UN monitors found that less than 20 of the 108 people killed died from artillery fire.

Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva that most of the other victims were summarily executed in two separate incidents.

"I believe at this point, and I would stress we are at very preliminary stages, that under 20 of the 108 killings can be attributed to artillery and tank fire," he said, adding that "most of the rest of the victims in Taldo, one of the areas of Houla, were summarily executed in two separate incidents."

Colville says the conclusions of the UN monitors are corroborated by other sources.

He says witnesses blamed pro-government militias for the attacks.

The killings in the west-central area of Houla brought widespread international criticism of the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Short link: