x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Assad forces kill 13 family members in second Baida massacre

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says four women and six children are among those killed in the village, which is in a coastal area of central Syria.

BEIRUT // Forces loyal to the Syrian president killed at least 13 members of a family in the Sunni village of Baida yesterday, in what activists said was the second massacre there.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four women and six children were among those killed in the village, which is in a coastal area of central Syria.

"A relative came to look for them today and found the men shot outside. The women and children's bodies were inside a room of the house and residents in the area said some of the bodies were burned," said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Observatory.

In May, pro-regime militias killed more than 50 residents of Baida and more than 60 locals in the nearby town of Banias. In those killings, some bodies, many of them children, were found burned and mutilated.

Baida is part of a small pocket of Sunnis in the Mediterranean province of Tartous, a stronghold for Bashar Al Assad's minority Alawite sect.

The two-year-old uprising against four decades of Assad family rule has been led by Syria's Sunni majority. Sectarian clashes and massacres have become increasingly common in a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.

The killings in Baida came a day after a rare eruption of clashes was reported in the area between Mr Al Assad's forces and the rebels in the coastal enclave.