In Syrian town of Houla, a "vigil of despair"

(CBS News) In Syria, the Assad government insisted Thursday it had nothing to do with last weekend's slaughter of more than 100 people in Houla. It blamed terrorists, but the U.N. says armed militias working for the regime executed more than a hundred people, mostly women and children.

There was more fighting throughout Syria after the government denied the accusations. A ceasefire worked out by the U.N. has completely broken down. The army shelled several cities, but rebel forces are increasingly fighting back.

The violence began 15 months ago, when Syrians rose up against the dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Alex Thomson is a correspondent with Britain's Channel 4 News who recently visited Houla, where the massacre took place. Thomson said that in 25 years of reporting, he's "scarcely ever been in a situation where people are so desperate to tell their stories to the outside world."

"Again, and again and again on the street, (people show) a sort of lonely vigil of despair. Those are the kinds of things you come across. Someone who can't explain what went on - a 3-year old girl who's got an injury to her foot and shrapnel injuries in her legs, someone will have to tell her that her mother was killed on the night she got those injuries."

No easy answers in Syria as wary Middle East looks on
Expert: Russia key to ending Syria crisis, but "safe haven" plan needed
Clinton: Russia contributing to Syrian civil war

In addition to the estimated 108 people killed there, there are countless scores of wounded in the area after the attacks too, Thomson said.

"Don't forget before the massacre there was a sustained barrage of a bombardment of shells falling upon Houla before the killing squads moved in -- if you like -- into the southern part of the town," Thomson said.

While there are 300 U.N. observers throughout the country, Thomson said he observed their ability to bring peace to be only temporary.

Below, watch Channel 4's Alex Thomson narrate images from his reporting in the Syrian city of Houla:

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter