They “were not killed by random shelling”, the UN revealed yesterday, “they were murdered one by one”:
“The militia came in the night armed with knives and guns, and the young victims were executed with a bullet to the head or a knife to the throat.”
One photograph shows a cherubic baby girl, no older than 2, with a tiny gold ear-stud. She is wrapped in a white shroud. Half her skull has been hacked or blown away. A saucer of bone juts from a bloody gash in what remains of her head.
Another shows what appears to be a boy of perhaps 6 or 7. The blanket in which he is wrapped has fallen away to expose a bare white shoulder. He looks as if he is sleeping, but the back of his head has been lopped off like the top of a boiled egg. His brain lies on the blanket behind him.
A third shows a pretty young girl staring upwards, her mouth slightly open as if smiling. Above her right eye there is a large, bloody bullet hole surrounded by a mess of flesh and bone.
The pictures go on, some mercifully out of focus, most far too shocking to print in The Times though our failure to do so spares the Assad regime.
There is a baby wearing nothing but a nappy, seemingly untouched except that it lacks an arm. Another young girl wearing a blood-soaked T-shirt with the word “Baby” or “Dolly” written on it has had her jaw shot away. A man carries the body of a child with only half a head remaining.
There are children – brothers, sisters, cousins? – wearing blood-drenched shorts and T-shirts with their eyes gouged out, with their faces slashed by knives or with neat bullet holes in their torsos. One girl has had her nose and cheek sliced off. A couple of the children lying on the floor of a makeshift mortuary appear to have had their hands bound.
These are some of the 49 children killed in the Houla massacre, not by random shelling but knifed to death or shot at close range by President Assad’s Shabiha thugs. They were summarily executed, the United Nations said yesterday.
• Syria: Assad’s forces “using rape as a weapon” 29 May 2012
• Syria: Massacre of the innocents 27 May 2012
• Syria: When will the West act? 2 Jan 2012
• Exposed: The pro-Assad useful idiots in our midst 22 Oct 2011
“A military intervention is not to be ruled out under condition that it is led in the respect of international law, that is to say after a deliberation of the [U.N.] Security Council.”
Let’s hope Obama, Cameron and the rest of the free world back him up and step up, bring Assad to justice and free Syria. The West has stood by long enough.