The U.N. reported yesterday that a majority of the victims in last Friday’s Houla massacres in Syria were women and children. According to the reports, 49 children and 34 women were executed by Shabbiha soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. UN reports and victim testimonies describe acts of torture and close-range execution; only 20 of the 108 deaths were the result of tank fire, as reported by Reuters.

U.N. rights spokesman Rupert Colville said, “What is very clear is that this was an absolutely abominable event that took place in Houla, and at least a substantial part of it were summary executions of civilians – women and children. At this point, it looks like entire families were shot in their homes.”

The United States has formally expelled Syrian ambassadors from the country in response to reports that women and children had been killed. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has pledged to increase pressure on President Assad to prevent further acts of violence.

Reuters 5/29/12; The Telegraph 5/29/12; RTT News 5/29/12

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