The Syrian opposition called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council Thursday over fresh claims of regime brutality, including a video that purportedly showed an opposition activist being buried alive.
The video, said to have been filmed in the Syrian border town of Qusayr, shows a man buried to his neck in the ground. He wails desperate prayers as two men in military uniforms fill in the small ditch around his head with shovels. Dry mud and rocks are showered over his face and head until he is completely covered, when the video cuts out.
The authenticity of the footage cannot be verified, especially as it seems to have been posted by a member of the regime forces, most likely one of the Shabiha, the informal militia often tasked with carrying out “dirty work” on the streets. It may have been intended to frighten the opposition.
The dialogue on the video suggests that the man has been caught sending footage of the uprising to Arab satellite television channels such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya.
The call by the Syrian National Council for an emergency statement by the UN came after another apparent major breach of the ceasefire, when a huge explosion destroyed part of Mash at-Tayyaron, a working-class civilian district of Hama, on Wednesday.
“We are calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council so that it can issue a resolution to protect civilians in Syria,” the Syrian National Council said in a statement.
“Hama in recent days – and following a visit by UN observers – witnessed a series of crimes that left more than 100 people dead and hundreds wounded because of heavy shelling.”
The regime said “armed terrorist groups” had accidentally blown up a house that they were using for bomb-making, killing 16 people including women and children. Opposition activists nearby said there had been intense tank shelling of the house, before a single large rocket hit it, killing scores of people.
Earlier this week, a series of machine gun attacks by regime forces killed between 30 and 40 people in Hama shortly after a visit by members of the Annan peace deal monitoring mission.
“It was a missile shot by Battallion 47, which is situated near that district,” said Mousab al-Hamadee, a member of Hama’s opposition coordinators. “They thought that some defectors were hiding in that part of the city.”
Mr Hamadee said that many of the victims of the blast were families who had fled the violence in neighbouring Homs and had been living in the district as refugees. Activists put the body count from the incident as high as 68, including 13 children and 16 women.
Footage from immediately after the blast showed panicked crowds scrambling over the collapsed remains of buildings, and carrying the semi-naked bloodstained body of a young girl.
In another alleged incident of regime non-compliance with the ceasefire, Assad forces have built a concrete wall around much of the once rebel-held Homs, stationing tanks and troops near every exit, activists reported.