FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               7th June 2012

Another Houla? 

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Weissemail or phone +44 (0)20 7340 4520 (office) 
or +44 (0)77 666 41670 (mobile)

OBLSyrian activists are reporting a new regime massacre less than two weeks after the world witnessed the Assad regime's slaughter of 108 people, half of them children, in the village of Al Houla. Reports from the village of Mazraat al Kabeer, on the outskirts of the central city of Hama, tell an eerily familiar tale. The village was shelled by artillery and tanks for several hours, after which pro-government shabiha militias allegedly moved in, going house-to-house and killing men, women and children. Activists say that at least 78 people were slaughtered including 42 women and children. Many of the bodies were set on fire and, as in Houla, several of the victims were stabbed and others were shot at close range. 


This latest testimony from Mazraat al Kabeer comes as UN envoy Kofi Annan attempts to resuscitate his widely violated and much maligned peace plan. Annan's proposal would involve elections to replace Bashar al Assad as President and provide for the writing of a new constitution, but neither side seems amenable to negotiations. Last week the opposition Free Syrian Army announced that in light of myriad regime violations of the cease fire and especially massacres like that in Houla, they no longer considered themselves bound by the cease fire that had been agreed in April. 


Michael Weiss, Syria expert at the Henry Jackson Society, said today: 


"The important thing to remember about the Houla massacre is that it wasn't at all unique. Assad and his regime have been slaughtering people on an industrial scale for well over a year now and there's no reason to think they're going to stop because Kofi Annan politely asks them to. In fact, the regime is committing these fresh atrocities while UN monitors are in Syria in yet a further indication of Assad's deranged disregard for what the international community thinks. How many more of these bloodbaths will the West abide by without intervening to protect Syria's civilians?" 


OBLMichael Weiss

Communications Director

A widely published journalist, Michael has expertise in the Syrian uprising, contemporary Russian politics and human rights in the Middle East. He is the author of the influential reports "Intervention in Syria? An Assessment of Legality, Logistics and Hazards," which was repurposed and endorsed by the Syrian National Council, "The Case Against Non-Intervention in Syria," and the co-author of "Revolution in Danger: A Critical Appraisal of the Syrian National Council
," and "Age of Impunity: Russia After Communism and Under Putin." Weiss has been published in Slate, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The New Criterion, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Prospect, Standpoint, World Affairs, The American Interest and The New Republic. Michael writes a regular blog on foreign policy for The Telegraph.

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