Hundreds flee Syrian town after overnight massacre
Sunday 05 May 2013
Hundreds of Sunni Muslims fled Syria's coastal town of Banias yesterday, after reports circulated that fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad killed dozens of people overnight. Activists claimed the killings took place two days after state forces and pro-Assad militias killed at least 50 Sunnis in the nearby village of Baida. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group, posted online a video showing the bodies of 10 people – half of them children. One toddler was covered in burns. Reports and videos of the killings could not be independently verified as the Syrian government restricts access for independent media.
The two-year-old uprising against Assad has been led by Syria's Sunni Muslim majority, and sectarian clashes and alleged massacres have become increasingly common in a conflict that has killed more than 70,000. Minorities such as the Alawites, an offshoot of Shia Islam, have largely stood behind Assad, who is from the Alawite sect.
Banias is a Sunni pocket in a large Alawite enclave on Syria's Mediterranean coast, and activists in the area accuse militias loyal to Assad of ethnic cleansing; another video posted online showed what they said were the bodies of 20 people killed in Banias, all from the same family and including women and nine children. The Observatory blamed the killings on the National Defence Force, a new paramilitary group made up mostly of fighters from minorities that back Assad.
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Ebola outbreak: Nowhere is safe until virus is contained in Africa, claims the top doctor who beat it in Nigera
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...
£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Special Educational Needs Teach...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...