60 Shiites Killed in Syria as West Seeks Solution

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  • W460
  • W460

At least 60 Shiite villagers died in clashes with rebels in eastern Syria while twin suicide bombings hit Damascus as the West moved to support the opposition following battlefield losses against pro-regime forces.

Despite Tuesday's attacks, Bashar Assad's regime, dominated by his Alawite sect of Shiite Islam, appears to have gained the upper hand against mainly Sunni Muslim rebels, buoyed by military support from its allies, Hizubllah and Iran.

With regime forces gaining ground, France said the nearly 27-month conflict, which is estimated to have killed at least 94,000 people, is at a "turning point" and that it is time to review whether to arm the opposition.

The issue of military support is likely to top the agenda when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets in Washington with British counterpart William Hague on Wednesday.

"Armed Shiite villagers attacked a nearby rebel post yesterday and killed two. Today (Tuesday) rebels attacked the village and took control of it, killing 60 Shiite residents, most of them fighters," Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Agence France Presse.

The clashes came in the majority Sunni village of Hatlah, in eastern Deir Ezzor province.

At least 10 rebels were also killed in the fighting on Tuesday, and Shiite residents of Hatlah were fleeing following the violence, Abdul Rahman said.

Earlier in Damascus, two suicide bombings left at least 14 people dead and 31 wounded, and caused widespread damage in the Marjeh neighborhood, state media and the rights Observatory said.

The Observatory said one of the blasts "was caused by a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside the police station".

Syria's cabinet denounced the attack, saying "armed terrorist groups and those behind them have failed completely because of the victories achieved by our brave army".

Forces loyal to President Assad, including thousands of Hizbullah fighters, have overrun rebel fighters in central Syria in the past week, including in the strategic town of Qusayr.

"There are lessons to be drawn from what happened in Qusayr and what is happening in Aleppo," said French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot.

"We are at a turning point in the Syrian war. What should we do under these conditions to reinforce the opposition armed forces? We have had these discussions with our partners, with the Americans, the Saudis, the Turks, many others.

"We cannot leave the opposition in the current state."

Plans to bring together members of Assad's regime and the opposition at talks in Geneva have so far failed to come to fruition, and Hague at the weekend warned that regime gains on the ground raised new hurdles.

U.S. President Barack Obama has asked his national security team to "look at all options" to end the fighting, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated Tuesday, adding however there would be no American "boots on the ground".

Damascus has also benefited from political support on the international stage from Russia, which supplies it with weapons and has blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning it.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he always believed that Assad should have implemented political reforms that could have averted the bloodbath.

In Aleppo province, the army launched multiple attacks on rebel positions, including areas of the Minnigh airbase held by insurgents, the Observatory said.

"Parts of Minnigh military airbase were shelled by regime forces.... Rebels are in control of large swathes of the airbase."

A military source told AFP heavy clashes were raging at the base for a third day, but denied any part of the airport was under rebel control.

Regime forces shelled the opposition-controlled villages of Deir Hafer and Al-Bab, and hit the insurgent stronghold of Marea with rockets, the Observatory said.

The regime has pledged to focus its attention on Aleppo since its triumph in Qusayr, a town on routes to Lebanon and the Alawite coastal heartland that the rebels had held for a year.

Hizbullah's role in that devastating 17-day assault has raised fears about the growing regionalization of the conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011.

Violence across Syria killed at least 141 people on Tuesday, 44 of them civilians, according to the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists, medics and lawyers on the ground for its information.

Comments 22
Thumb primesuspect 12 June 2013, 20:52

It's very sad, but that's what's going to happen everyday as long as Shiites take part in mass exactions against civilians which are Sunni.

Tambien, it now out of question to live in Lebanon with armed Shiites that massacred Qusayr inhabitants last week, innocent civilians. This can be repeated on anyone in Lebanon. They shot themselves in the foot {head?} politically. They should be banned at the very least from ANY gobierno in Lebanon. It's over and they suicided without anyone's help.

Thumb justice 12 June 2013, 20:52

What reforms? He is and was never going to give up his minority rule.

Missing bigjohn 13 June 2013, 01:35

He was for reforms! he just wanted All the other Arab puppet dictators working for Zionist America who you LOVE to also join him in REFORM.

Default-user-icon Mowaten (Guest) 12 June 2013, 21:14

It is hard to fathom a crime more repulsive or reprehensible in character. It is clearly among the worst of the worst.

Thumb jabal10452 12 June 2013, 21:59

Josh, the only reform that Syria needs is democratization as in representative, all inclusive democracy. You don't want a president that gets 98 % of the popular vote. You don't want a one-party system.
Now the way there is incredibly chaotic and complicated, and it will probably take a very long time, but the only other option is perpetual bloodshed in your country. My two cents.

Default-user-icon Mohammad salahuddine (Guest) 12 June 2013, 22:02

mcbeth007 << this guy is an israeli.

Thumb justice 12 June 2013, 22:04


Missing h.mousawy 12 June 2013, 22:37

Naharnet, as usual, did not mention that a so-called Salafi Sheikh praised the killing of the 60 Shia's today. He was quoted as "We beheaded a Shia Sayyed and his son".

Please i don't silly replies to my post, such as your an iranian blood thirsty thug. We should all agree that the Syrian Army, alongside with Hezbollah are fighting the same enemy, as they are doing the world, especially 14 march sunni's the biggest favour by eliminating these Takfiri groups.

There isnt moderate 'rebels' in Syria, at least now. Lets forget that Hezbollah is in Syria for a sec, dont you all know for a fact that Al-Qaeda has moved it operations to Syria?? So, its two campaigns, AlQaeda vs Hezbollah & Army. You all decide to chose Al-Qaeda over hezbollah? Do they coincide with your strategic political ambitions?? Are they an example of a new democratic Syria? Or will it be another Egypt, Libya or Tunisia?? What is their agenda? Where are they based??

Thumb primesuspect 12 June 2013, 23:26

Regardless of your sect, Hizballa is committing crimes against humanity. Anyone on earth with decent human values cannot let this go on.

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 12 June 2013, 23:33

Shame on all of those that practice this hate speech.

Missing bigjohn 13 June 2013, 01:20

"sometimes" you have accuracy in the western media. Here is a Wall street journal article on QUsair and HA: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324069104578529620749572106.html

Missing realist 13 June 2013, 19:17

written by "sam dagher" very objective Aouni im sure lol. He managed to add this:

Graffiti praising holy Shiite figures believed to be persecuted by rival Sunnis more than 1,300 years ago was scrawled on buildings stormed by Hezbollah fighters,

that says it all, what do you call that? crazy muslims are gonna end up killing each other and killing lebanon as well.

Missing bigjohn 13 June 2013, 01:21

Bush caused the death of 300,000 persons! Did he ever had a problem sleeping?

Missing bigjohn 13 June 2013, 01:27

Many Western governments who love to see Arab blood shed want to keep the Syrian conflict as long as possible. Now the regime is making advances, they want to increase aid to the rebels. If the rebels started to win, then they would do everything in their power to create a war among them to try to defeat those who refuse to take orders from them. The solution is to STOP the war AND be aware of those collaborators working for "friends of Israel"!

Missing commando 13 June 2013, 01:43

Hey bigjohn ,all the western goverments care about is the safety of the Jews in the Middle East .

Missing bigjohn 13 June 2013, 01:30

This is funny. Who do you like? Israel/America/and the Arab dictators under their control?

Missing bigjohn 13 June 2013, 01:33

Be careful here...You have Zionist blood thirsty enemy scum trying to increase sectarian tensions.

Missing commando 13 June 2013, 01:38

Hey ashrafieh ,you are correct there will never be peace in the Middle East & do you know why moron ? because of people like you.

Default-user-icon Mazzy (Guest) 13 June 2013, 05:45

thank you, ashrafieh, for finally bringing some perspective into this forum. i'm sick of seeing such a one sided debate on this topic

Missing realist 13 June 2013, 08:35

This is so sad and terrible.... This is the consequence of expelling people in Qusair from their own homes and raising sectarian flags on their mosques. This tragedy should stop, and Muslims should reconcile as soon as possible. Do we have to go through a historic civil war with biblical proportions to prove that we only have each other and there's no other way but to live with each other??

Missing realist 13 June 2013, 08:35

This is so sad and terrible.... This is the consequence of expelling people in Qusair from their own homes and raising sectarian flags on their mosques. This tragedy should stop, and Muslims should reconcile as soon as possible. Do we have to go through a historic civil war with biblical proportions to prove that we only have each other and there's no other way but to live with each other??

Missing peace 13 June 2013, 12:35

remember banias?....