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Nadine Elali

Exclusive: An eyewitness to the Treimsa massacre

Khaled Abou Abdallah is an engineer from Hama city and works near Treimsa village where Syrian government troops with tanks and helicopters slaughtered more than 150 people overnight, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

Abou Abdallah is an activist and represents Hama’s local coordination committee. He was an eye witness to the massacre that he says has left over 280 people dead, and the number of casualties is expected to increase. He spoke to NOW Lebanon over Skype.

According to Abou Abdallah, who refused to use his real name for security reason, tanks approached Treimsa from both the Hama military airport and checkpoints from Mahrada, a village close to Treimsa.

“There were almost 300 military vehicles and heavy artillery, tanks, armored vehicles, portable mortars, and rocket launchers. 120 mm artillery shells were set on the outskirts of the village east and west of Treimsa, from areas of Alawite presence and people loyal to the regime,” he said.

Treimsa was then completely sieged and the shelling began at 5 a.m. that morning. People’s homes were the main targets; 50 houses were completely destroyed and over 180 people were killed as a result of the shelling. Some of the wounded were taken into Treimsa’s main mosque, which was also shelled. Others tried to leave their homes and flee towards the Assi River and they were targeted by helicopters.

“It was the first time we see helicopters of the like, they were really big and looked like Apaches. They would fire rockets that were capable of setting rocks on fire. They were throwing bombs which would divide into another 20 as it hit the ground. There were around five planes flying over us, they killed 10 families near the Assi river bank, they were all burnt to death, among which were 18 women and 15 children,” he added.  

After three hours of shelling and bombing with heavy artillery, the activist says that gangs loyal to the regime – shabiha from Alawite villages close to Treimsa – entered the village with swords, knives, and Kalashnikovs and slaughtered over 70 people. They also took over 100 detainees and there are 200 people still missing.

“By 11 a.m., the shelling lessened, we tried to sneak in, we had a doctor with us, Mostapha Naji who was killed by gunfire. Treimsa was not equipped to treat all the wounded; we took many of them to Kafarhoud, a neighboring village, but only those that can be saved. We couldn’t take everyone because of the checkpoints and the closest hospital is eight kilometers away and Syrian troops had turned into a base.” 

Abu Abdallah holds the UN mission headed by Kofi Annan partly responsible for the massacre; he feels that the international community is giving Assad more time to kill the Syrian people.

“Had it not been for the extension of deadlines and Annan’s world tours, this massacre would not have happened; and had the international community been firm on resolving the Syrian crisis, more pressure would have been exerted on Assad. Assad is killing us using the world and its international community.”
 
The activist, who also represents Hama’s local coordination committee, believes that the Syrian National Council (SNC) has failed in representing the revolutionaries and warns them against not voicing the Syrian people’s demands.

“We are sending the SNC a warning. We are beginning to feel that they have become a burden to us and not of any assistance, and we have come to the conclusion that the only way to freedom is by us resisting the regime’s forces.  If the SNC does not voice our demands, which are a no fly zone and arming the Free Syrian Army, to the international community, we will request from fellow revolutionaries to appoint new representatives inside Syria or outside and form a new council.”

- NOW Lebanon

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