Last updated: 29 May, 2012

Most Houla massacre victims were executed

Most of the victims of the massacre in the Syrian town of Houla were summarily executed, the UN rights body said on Tuesday, amid global outrage over the killings.

“It’s believed that under 20 of the 108 killings can be attributed to artillery and tank fire,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Most of the rest of the victims in Taldo, one of the areas of Houla, were summarily executed in two separate incidents,” he said, ahead of a meeting between UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Local residents have blamed the executions on a paramilitary group that “essentially supports the government forces,” Colville said.

He said it appeared that entire families were shot in their homes.

“What is very clear is that this was an absolutely abominable event that happened in Houla and at least a substantial part of it was summary executions of civilians including women and children,” he said.