World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian troops killed at least 35 people on Wednesday, mostly unarmed civilians, when they shelled and overran a suburb of the capital Damascus, residents and activist organisations said.
"The tanks and troops left around 4 p.m. When the streets were clear we found the bodies of at least 35 men," a resident, who gave his name as Fares, said by phone from Jdeidet Artouz, southwest of Damascus.
"Almost all of them were executed with bullets to their face, head and neck in homes, gardens and basements," he added, speaking of the troop action to crush opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
Fares, who did not give his last name for fear of retribution by Assad's forces, said soldiers from the Fourth Division, a praetorian guard unit under the command of Assad's brother Maher, came into his house.
"They examined my ID and let me go. They seem to have been looking for activists or young men with a certain profile to execute," he said.
He said the bodies were collected at the Omar bin al-Khattab mosque and buried in a mass grave dug by a bulldozer volunteered by the owner of nearby farmland.
"There are more bodies in al-Sahl area but we could not reach them because there is an army roadblock there," he said.
Another resident of the suburb said the total number of dead was at least 50.
Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said 26 of 35 bodies his organisation tallied in Jdeidet Artouz have been identified and the victims were overwhelmingly civilians.
Assad regime and its allies have violated three-week-old truce from the outset, critics say
Problems in Syria remain emblematic of incoherence in Obama’s foreign policy, despite Kerry’s attempt at defense
A garrison loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has held out in the city largely surrounded by the Huthi rebels and their allies who control the capital Sanaa and much of the north.
The building, dating from the early 1960s and including a shopping centre and clothing workshops, had been evacuated, but firefighters were battling the blaze inside and it was not immediately clear if there were casualties.
Turkish army hits 182 ISIL targets in northern Syria, says General Staff
Russian foreign minister says invitation enables participation of all those who mentioned in public statements
Defendants charged with involvement in two high-profile assassination attempts last year, judicial source says
Strikes 'were a result of continued coordination with Turkey', U.S.-led coalition says
At the Paris conference, some 70 countries affirmed their support for a two-state solution that would see a state of Palestine co-existing alongside Israel.
UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov delivered the warning to the Security Council, which met for the first time since the adoption of a contentious resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements.
Suspect is believed to have recruited suicide bombers for notorious extremist group
Iraqi officials slammed Bahrain’s execution on Sunday of three men convicted of killing policemen two years ago
116 ISIL targets also destroyed as part of Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield
3 others wounded in attack on security checkpoint, health ministry says
Army launched wide-ranging campaign last month aimed at recapturing parts of Yemen’s southern Shabwah province
Aid campaign run by Turkish Red Crescent draws large attention at home and abroad