220 Civilians Massacred in Syria
Syrian government forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, have massacred more than 220 civilians in Tremseh, a Sunni farming village in Hama province. According to local activists, army vehicles blockaded the town before Syrian troops began indiscriminately firing on civilian houses. Others described waiting in their homes for hours under artillery barrage before going out into the street the next morning and being greeted with “destruction everywhere and bodies under the rubble.” General Robert Mood, head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, confirmed the use of tanks and helicopters in the assault on Tremseh and said that his team was ready to investigate if a credible ceasefire were reached. Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said that the ongoing violence “certainly does build strong international support to continue to ramp up the pressure on Assad.”
In other news, The Wall Street Journal reports that Syria has “begun moving parts of its vast arsenal of chemical weapons out of storage facilities.” Syria’s large undeclared stockpiles of sarin nerve agent, mustard gas, and cyanide have worried officials since the conflict began, some fearing that Assad might use the weapons on civilians, while others remain concerned that they could fall into the wrong hands. Sara Sorcher writes on the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons, describing the current crisis as a “perfect storm” and asserting that “Syria is virtually sure to become the next major proliferation challenge in the region for years to come.” Also, a “special correspondent” writing in the Washington Post describes Damascus as a city “pregnant with rage and ready to explode” despite it’s lack of proximity to the majority of the fighting. Finally, Charlie Skelton analyzes the history and make-up of the mouthpieces of the Syrian opposition.