The attack on this village could be the worst massacre so far since the uprising began 16 months ago, if opposition claims are confirmed. Some opposition groups said up to 250 people were killed in the village on thursday. In other reports, there was talk of around 160 deaths.
Activists reported that the army first bombarded tremseh with artillery and then sent troops into the village. Soldiers had shot opposition fighters and massacred civilians. Outside the village, fleeing refugees had been killed. There have also been executions. U.S. Secretary of state hillary clinton spoke on friday evening of "indisputable evidence" of the syrian regime’s killing of civilians.
The attacks on tremseh lasted for many hours. Activists said most of the residents of the now-destroyed village had sympathized with the opposition. According to the military in damascus, the operation in the village was carried out "at the request of the residents". State television said most of the dead were terrorists.
Meanwhile, according to a newspaper report, the syrian regime has started to take chemical weapons out of stockpiles. The U.S. Government is alarmed, reported the "wall street journal" (friday). It is unclear whether the weapons will be taken to safety from insurgents or made ready for use, possibly only as a threat, the paper quotes U.S. Government officials as saying. Syria possesses larger quantities of the nerve agent sarin and mustard gas.
Regarding the attack on the village of hama, the head of the UN observer mission, general robert mood, said: "we can confirm that there was prolonged fighting in the area of tremseh yesterday."Military helicopters and shields were used, among other things. His team is ready to go to the scene to help clarify what happened in tremseh "as soon as there is a credible cease-fire.".
U.N. Secretary-general ban ki moon expressed shock at the carnage. "The secretary general is deeply concerned about the latest reports from the province of hama," his spokesman martin nesirky told the dpa news agency. Syria special envoy kofi annan said in geneva he was "shocked and appalled" by the high death toll and "the confirmed use of heavy weapons.
EU’s humanitarian aid envoy catherine ashton said she was "deeply shocked" by the reports. The use of heavy weapons and helicopters was a "blatant violation" by the regime of the agreements of the annan peace plan. The federal government called on syria "very strongly" to grant UN observers immediate access to the "scene of the crime," as government spokesman steffen seibert said. In the evening, UN sources told dpa news agency that the regime had "totally ignored" demands for access to the scene.
With the renewed incident, pressure on the international community grows, according to the foreign office (AA). A spokesman said kofi annan’s peace plan remains the right path to an end to violence and a political transition process. "We must give it more force so that the regime in damascus finally realizes that the path of violence is not viable. We hope that the recent terrible incidents will make even those who have so far been reluctant to change their minds."
The opposition syrian national council (SNC) appealed to the UN security council to decide on an intervention under chapter VII of the UN charter to protect civilians in syria. If a UN resolution fails again because of russia’s veto, the contact group of friends of syria will have to act alone, said SNC chairman abdelbaset seida in istanbul. He called on the arab states to support the deserters of the free syrian army "with everything they need".
Despite more and more atrocities, the UN security council is still far from a resolution on the syria conflict. The most powerful body of the united nations negotiated a draft document on thursday (local time). However, there is still resistance from russia because the paper contains the threat of sanctions if the parties do not comply with security council decisions.
U.S. Secretary clinton said the u.N. Security council must take clear action and threaten the regime with clear consequences. "History will judge this council": its members had to "ask themselves whether they want to leave behind as a legacy having allowed the assad regime to continue its unspeakable violence against its own people".
According to activists, more than 60 people were killed by government forces in syria on friday. Ten people were killed in the palestinian camp of yarmouk in damascus alone. Activists still reported fights from several provinces in the evening.