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On 12 May 2016, militants of the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham attacked and captured the Alawite village of Zara'a, Southern Hama Governorate.[1][2]

Zara'a attack
Part of the Syrian civil war
Harbnafsah nahiyah.svg
LocationHama Governorate, Syria
Date12 May 2016
TargetAlawite civilians, National Defence Forces
Attack type
Shooting
WeaponsAK-47s and other small arms
DeathsUnknown
Injuries
Unknown
PerpetratorsAl-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham
MotiveTerror

Contents

The attackEdit

An early morning surprise attack on Zara'a defeated a National Defence Forces unit stationed there, and allowed the rebels to enter the predominantly Alawite village.[3][4] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that civilians had been kidnapped[2] and the Red Crescent confirmed that 42 children and seven NDF militiamen were killed during the militant attack. According to the LCCS, rebels killed over 30 pro-government fighters while SOHR said seven militants were killed.[5] More clashes continued into the afternoon with the Syrian and Russian Air Forces airstriking the rebel positions.[5] This rebel attack was a part of an assault in "revenge for Aleppo."[2]

AftermathEdit

Civilians, including women and children, were kidnapped and taken to Al-Rastan Plains with some news sources putting the number kidnapped at 70.[1][4] Some of the captured were pro-government troops.[2] A number of houses were destroyed and local property was looted following the rebel capture of the village.[6] On 24 May 2016, the Syrian Red Crescent convinced the militants to hand over civilians and NDF bodies.[3] They were transported by the Syrian Army to the Homs Military Hospital for identification the next day.[7]

ReactionsEdit

  Syria: Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi said that the massacre was "a heinous crime against the whole world." He also mentioned that "the international community must stand by Syria in fighting terrorism and should take immediate steps to prevent the countries which support terrorism from supplying terrorists with arms and money, on top Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey."[8]

The Syrian Foreign Ministry also sent two letters where they called on the UN Secretary-General and the UN Security Council to condemn the massacre.[9]

  France: A French MP and president of the France-Syria Friendship Group in the National Assembly, Gérard Bapt condemned the murder of Alawite families in Zara'a. He added that "the recent initiative to officially add Ahrar ash-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam to the list of terrorist organizations was not supported by the UN Security Council due to the fact that five Western countries have disagreed." He further said "[We] must take the appropriate measures in Riyadh and within the framework of the High Negotiation Committee in Vienna to ensure the immediate liberation of civilians who were taken hostage."[4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Syrian opposition forces massacre, kidnap 120 civilians in southern Hama". Al-Masdar News. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Rebels seize Alawite village in Syria, abduct civilians: Observatory". Reuters. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Islamists agree to hand over corpses of civilians massacred in northern Homs". Al-Masdar News. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "French MP Condemns 'Moderates' Massacre in Alawite Village in Syria". Sputnik News. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Al-Qaida, hard-line rebels seize Alawite village in Syria". Ynet. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  6. ^ "International Military Review – Syria, May 13, 2016". South Front. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Syrian Army recovers the bodies of 42 civilians massacred at Zarah by rebel forces". Al-Masdar News. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Foreign-backed terrorists commit massacre in al-Zara [Hama countryside], 2 civilians killed in terrorist rocket attack on Aleppo". Syrian Free Press. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Damascus Calls on UN to Condemn Massacre in Western Syria". Sputnik News. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.