Witnesses to Houla Massacre: “Massacres were carried out by armed terrorists”

(STN)   Two witnesses to al-Houla massacre said that the massacres in that area were carried out by armed terrorists who targeted specific families that supported the government and refused to join protests, bear arms or pay money to the terrorists.

The two witnesses, who identities were not disclosed for their protection, said on Friday in interviews with the Syrian TV that the terrorists came from several areas and attacked law-enforcement forces checkpoints simultaneously using advanced weapons, adding that the images shown on TV channels were of the people murdered by terrorists along with the bodies of the gunmen killed in the initial conflict which were piled with the victims to increase the number of bodies.

The first witness said that he used to accompany the gunmen and knew the details of their work, and that three days before the massacre, the gunmen had been discussing something that would happen on Friday, saying that it was something “special and big.”

He said that on Friday May 25th after noon prayers, gunmen showed up near the Clock Roundabout, while a large group headed down the road to al-Sad area which is known as Tripoli road, with the first group beginning to shoot their guns in the air to keep the checkpoint at the roundabout busy and give the impression that they intend to attack it.

The witness said that he joined the second group which consisted of several armed groups from several areas, some he knew and some he didn’t, and all of them heavily armed. Then the gunmen opening fire at random at a security detachment in the area, hitting its personnel along with nearby houses and locals.

He said that most of the gunmen didn’t know how to handle their weapons, as one was using a PKC machine gun that kicked him back, while another launched an RPG round that hit al-Zakahi house rather than the detachment, killing two civilians.

The witness said that the gunmen’s intention was to liquidate a specific family over membership in the People’s Assembly and the fact that it’s members didn’t join protests, support the government, stay out of trouble, and didn’t give the gunmen money to buy weapons, adding that there were also personal vendettas and family feuds and the fact that al-Sayed family which was targeted is related to a People’s Assembly member, and the gunmen wanted to make this a “present” for becoming a member.

He explained that the group led by one Haitham al-Housan hated al-Sayed family, and that they’re killers, not revolutionaries, and their trade is abduction, murder and theft through which they amassed millions, adding that this group didn’t even fire at the detachment but rather at the house where Okba al-Sayed, his brother, his sister-in-law and their children were, killing them.

The witness noted that next to al-Sayed house was a house belonging to Nidal Bakkour, the leader of another group, and that the people in that house are still alive while the others were killed, and that the same applies to several houses near the detachment, concluding that the massacre was simply an attack against specific families by the gunmen.

The second witness, a woman, said that Friday May 25th saw a large number of gunmen appearing, many of them strangers not from Teldo area, and that these gunmen began by attacking a security checkpoint with a mortar round fired by a man named Saiid Fayez al-Okesh which the law-enforcement personnel noticed, prompting them to shoot him and the leg, and then he was rushed to a field hospital in Kafer Laha.

She said that the gunmen then opened heavy fire on the checkpoint, with other groups communicating with them through wireless devices, with talk indicating that they were simply distracting the law-enforcement forces at the checkpoint, adding that she heard them referring to specific groups by the areas they came from such as Tal Dahab, Aqrab and al-Rastan.

The witness said the groups attacked checkpoints in the area simultaneously at around 1:30, with many law-enforcement personnel dying as the gunmen kept attacking for nearly three hours, and that after taking over the checkpoint they stole the weapons and ammo which was in it and began distributing them among themselves, then immediately set fire to the checkpoint along with the nearby hospital and the woods behind it.


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