Al-Qubeir massacre

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Al-Qubeir massacre
Part of the Syrian civil war
Location Al-Qubeir, Hama, Syria
Coordinates 35°10′37″N 36°30′54″E / 35.17694°N 36.51500°E / 35.17694; 36.51500Coordinates: 35°10′37″N 36°30′54″E / 35.17694°N 36.51500°E / 35.17694; 36.51500
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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Domestic[edit]

  •  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[edit]

  •  Italy – Italy warned that Assad's policies risk creating "genocide" unless swift action to stop him is realized.[22]
  •  Malta – Foreign Minister Tonio Borg condemning the attacks, said that the Syrian government is not willing to stop the violence.[23]
  •  Saudi Arabia – Abdullatif Salam, Deputy Chief of the Saudi Mission at the United Nations, addressing the UN General Assembly on 8 June 2012, asked the world community to shoulder its responsibilities to end bloodshed in Syria.[26]
  •  TurkeyPrime Minister Erdoğan emphasized that Turkey will never remain silent in the face of mass killings in Syria, recalling the mass killings in a farmland in Hama province and that Assad will sooner or later leave the country and he is now preparing his end. He also added that "you already know which countries are helping him."[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Siniora condemns massacre in Syria’s Al-Kubeir". Now Lebanon. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Gun battles rage in streets of Damascus – Middle East. Al Jazeera English (4 October 2011). Retrieved on 10 June 2012.
  3. ^ Chulov, Martin (7 June 2012). "Syrian regime troops and militiamen 'seen walking towards massacre site'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d "New 'massacre' reported in Syria's Hama province". BBC News. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Karam, Zeina (9 June 2012). "Regime Denies Violence". Huffington Post. AP. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "100 killed in new Syria 'massacre': opposition". Hindustan Times. Agence France-Presse. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Syrian army stops UN from reaching 'massacre'". Al Jazeera. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Syria UN team 'shot at' near Qubair 'massacre site'". BBC News. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Syrian army blocks U.N. monitors entering Hama ‘massacre’ site: activists, U.N. official". Al Arabiya. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Annan: 'All-out civil war' looms in Syria". Al Jazeera. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Syria Qubair: Bloody traces of massacre seen in village". BBC. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  12. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySLin1CU9YY&feature=youtu.be
  13. ^ Weaver, Matthew (26 July 2012). "Syria crisis: Aleppo battle looms". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Syrian activists:New massacre in Hama". The Guardian. Reuters. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Assad regime has lost humanity – UN". The Guardian. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Al Jaafari: Arab, Regional Capitals Support Armed Groups which Boast of Committing Terror Acts in Syria". SANA. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "Activists: Shelling in Syrian City Kills 15". Voice of America. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "UN mission 'can't say who to blame' in Hama massacre". Russia Today. 9 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "EU condemns latest brutal killings of civilians in Syria". EU Neighbourhood Info Centre. 8 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "Gillard condemns bloodshed in Syria". Herald Sun. 8 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "Germany 'Horrified' by al-Kubeir Massacre, Urges Russia to Act on Syria". Naharnet. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  22. ^ "New Syria massacre includes 40 women and children: reports". SMH. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  23. ^ "Malta condemns ongoing violence in Syria". Times of Malta. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  24. ^ "Syria: China in rare call for both sides to halt violence". The Telegraph. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  25. ^ "Russia, China Get Syrian Request to Investigate Houla Massacre". Bloomberg. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  26. ^ "Kingdom calls for buffer zone in Syria". Saudi Gazette. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "Bashar Al-Assad Preparing His Own End, Says PM Erdogan". Turkish Weekly. Anadolu Agency. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.