Syrian troops with tanks and helicopters slaughtered more than 150 people in a central village, rights activists said on July 13, prompting the opposition to call for urgent UN intervention. Reports of the massacre came after UN Security Council ambassadors held their first talks on rival Russian and Western draft resolutions on Syria, with Moscow spurning calls for sanctions against President Bashar Assad’s regime. No progress was reported, with a July 20 deadline looming. That is the end date of the mandate for a UN observer mission to Syria, where activists say more than 17,000 people have died since March 2011.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government troops on July 12 massacred more than 150 people in Treimsa village, while a rebel leader put the toll at more than 200. If confirmed, the killing at Treimsa in the central province of Hama would rival the massacre at Houla on May 25, when a pro-Assad militia and government forces were accused of killing at least 108 people.
Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood said Annan as well as Assad allies Iran and Russia must through their inaction shoulder the blame for the latest massacre. The Security Council must hold a vote before the mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, or UNSMIS, runs out next week. The Syrian National Council, the main opposition alliance, also urged the Security Council to pass a binding resolution against Assad’s regime.