Conflict & Justice

Syria massacre: UN observers greeted by smell of burnt flesh


A Syrian man carries a wounded girl next to Red Crescent ambulances following an explosion that targeted a military bus near Qudssaya, a neighborhood of the Syrian capital, on June 8, 2012. At least seven people were killed in blasts near Damascus and in Idlib city in Syria's restive northwest, among them four security forces members, a watchdog said.



Chilling reports body parts and the smell of burnt flesh came from UN monitors on Friday, when they were finally able to reach the Syrian town of Mazraat al-Qubair, where a massacre was reported two days ago, according to MSNBC.

UN spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh said one house was damaged by rocket fire while another was burned with bodies inside. "You could smell dead bodies and you could also see body parts in and around the village," said Ghosheh after returning to Damascus.

Paul Danahar, a BBC correspondent traveling with the UN monitors, said they found buildings butted and burned and the village deserted. It remains unclear what happened to the bodies of the dozens of reported victims.

The victims, mostly Sunni Muslims, were allegedly killed by militiamen, known as shabiha, who are from the minority Alawite community that President Bashar al-Assad belongs to, said the BBC.

Danahar tweeted from the location, "In front of me there is a piece of brain, in the corner there is a mass on congealed blood."

He also said, "The first house had been gutted by fire but the stench of burnt flesh still hung heavy in the air. The scene in next house was even worse," with pools of blood and pieces of flesh lying around.


Nearly 80 men, women and children were reportedly killed in the village on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, and the Syrian government and opposition traded blame on who was responsible.

More on GlobalPost: Syria massacre: UN makes second attempt to reach Qubair village

Ghosheh said the village itself was empty of local inhabitants and the residents' testimonies were conflicting, needing confirmation against names of the missing and the dead provided by nearby villages.

Syrian state media reported that nine people in al-Qubair were killed by "armed terrorist gangs" according to the Guardian. It continued to deny responsibility for the massacre of 108 people in Houla two weeks ago, 39 of whom were children.

More on GlobalPost: Hama massacre: Syria accused of new killings

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council that preliminary evidence suggested that troops surrounded the hamlet and militia entered the village to kill civilians with "barbarity," according to Agence France Presse.

Western powers called for additional sanctions against Damascus as international envoy Kofi Annan called for "additional pressure" to implement the peace plan, said the AFP.

Friday also saw explosions and fighting between government troops and rebels in Damascus, according to the AP.

More on GlobalPost: Going for the hajj? Yeah, there’s an app for that

Watch a video report from the frontlines in the Syrian conflict, courtesy of MSNBC:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy