In Tremseh: NYTimes: "Murky" but evidence suggests events "more closely followed the Syrian government account" than that of opposition activists.
“… Before the United Nations team entered the town, a combination of videos, televised confessions of numerous captured fighters and reports from activists outside the area all indicated that a battle on Thursday between the military and local fighters in Tremseh, a village of 11,000 people about 22 miles northwest of Hama, resulted in a slaughter of rebel forces.
The videos that have emerged so far online, the source of much of the information on any fighting that is available outside Syria, have shown the victims to be young men of fighting age. One showed 15 bodies. Another one, said to show a group of reinforcements being sent to Tremseh, also showed a group of young men in civilian clothes carrying their personal weapons.
There were also new questions about the death toll, with initial figures from activists of more than 160 and other reports putting the toll at more than 200. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group based in Britain that has a network of contacts in Syria, said that it had been able to confirm only 103 names, and 90 percent of them were young men. There were no women’s names on the list of 103 victims obtained from activists in Homs.
An initial roster of 20 names published by the Syrian National Council, the main umbrella opposition group in exile, was mostly a list of men between 19 and 36, although it included the name of a 6-year-old boy. Activists from the area contacted Saturday stuck to the narrative that there had been a massacre in Tremseh…
After the high toll was announced from Tremseh, as was the case with Houla and other similar episodes, Western leaders lined up to condemn the mass killings of civilians. Col. Riad al-Assad, based in Turkey as the ostensible leader of the loose coalition of fighters called the Free Syrian Army, told the Arabic television network Al Jazeera on Thursday that there had been no opposition fighters in the town.
Although what actually happened in Tremseh remains murky, the evidence available suggested that events on Thursday more closely followed the Syrian government account. But Syrian officials colored that account with their usual terminology of blaming “foreign terrorist gangs” for all violence. The government said the Syrian Army had inflicted “heavy losses” on the “terrorists.”
The picture emerging is that there was a large group of fighters from the town and the local area bivouacked in Tremseh. The Syrian Army moved in early Thursday, blocking all exits and blasting away with machine guns, tank shells and rockets fired from helicopters, laying waste to the town.
“Whenever the Syrian Army knows there are fighters concentrated in an area, they attack,” said the leader of the Observatory, who goes by the pseudonym Rami Abdul-Rahman for safety reasons. “The majority of people killed in Tremseh were either rebel fighters from the village or from surrounding villages.”…”
China joined Russia on Thursday in boycotting a meeting aimed at coordinating efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria, where three senior army officers were among more than 150 people reported killed in 48 hours.
Egypt was to decide on Thursday the venue for Islamist Mohamed Morsi's swearing in ceremony as the nation's first civilian president, as Washington praised the military for facilitating a "free" poll.
The speaker of Iraq's parliament declared Thursday that lawmakers are prepared to oust the nation's prime minister if he refuses to share authority with his political opponents and break a deadlock that has all but paralyzed the government.
Smoldering buildings, looted shops, smashed cars and a strong stench of death greeted U.N. observers who entered the nearly deserted Syrian town of Haffa on Thursday, a day after President Bashar Assad’s forces overran it as part of a major offensive to recover rebel-controlled territories.
Go to Source
AFP/Tribune, Kuwaiti tweeter jailed 6 months for insulting Shias, 31 May 2012 "Kuwait’s court of appeals Thursday reduced a seven-year jail term of a Sunni tweeter to a six-month imprisonment for allegedly insulting the faith of the Shia minority, his lawyer said."
Go to Source