It’s a new bloodletting by Syrian troops, but the result was virtually the same. The Syrian opposition claims that 320 bodies of men, women, and children were found executed in a suburb outside of Damascus after a sweep through the area by the Syrian army.
Syrian opposition activists accused President Bashar al-Assad’s army on Sunday of massacring hundreds of people in a town close to the capital that government forces recaptured from rebels.
In the town of Daraya to the southwest of Damascus, some 320 bodies, including women and children, were found in houses and basements, according to activists who said most had been killed “execution-style” by troops in house-to-house raids.
Activists uploaded several videos to the Internet showing rows of bloodied bodies wrapped in sheets. Most of the dead appeared to be young men of fighting age, but at least one video showed several children who appeared to have been shot in the head. The body of one toddler was soaked in blood.
Due to restrictions on non-state media in Syria, it was impossible to independently verify the accounts.
The killings in Daraya, a working class Sunni Muslim town that sustained three days of heavy bombardment before being overrun by the army on Friday, raised the daily death toll to 440 people on Saturday, one of the highest since the uprising began, an activist network called the Local Coordination Committees said.
The official state news agency said: “Our heroic armed forces cleansed Daraya from remnants of armed terrorist groups who committed crimes against the sons of the town.”
This seems to be a pattern that has developed over the last few months. The army will blast the rebels out of a stronghold, shelling civilian areas without regard to casualties, and when the rebels leave, units move in and sweep the area, executing anyone who might have harbored rebels or been trapped by the fighting. The punishment appears to include the suspected sympathizer’s wife and children.
The fact that the dead are largely Sunnis speaks to the growing sectarian nature of the war and shows how hard it is going to be to get the factions to talk to each other.