Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded when Syrian war planes launched a strike while people were queuing for bread at a bakery, in the town of Halfaya in Hama province, activists said. Reuters reported that up to 200 were dead.
Lebanese news website Naharnet reported, citing the Local Coordination Committees, that Assad regime forces bombarded a bakery and committed a massacre that killed dozens of people, including women and children, and wounded many others.
One activist said a bakery was destroyed as a result of an air raid and that from 100 to 200 people were killed, adding that MiG war planes kept up air raids in and around Hama province after the attack.
Another activist said: “No one can give the number of dead and wounded, that is because the number is very large and probably more than 200 dead, as the strike hit the bakery directly as a large number of citizens were trying to buy bread.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also told AFP the death toll was still unclear.
A video posted to YouTube by activists from Halfaya shows an unidentified number of dead bodies and body parts. The authenticity of the video has not been confirmed by a neutral source. The Syrian regime prevents news agencies from working in Syria, saying they are agents of foreign intelligence.
This is not the first time a bakery has been bombed; bakeries previously were targets in Homs, Damascus, Zabadani and Aleppo.
However, the Halfaya massacre came as international peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi crossed into Syria from Lebanon. (He did so by car, as Damascus International Airport has been completely shut down since last November due to fighting nearby between Free Syrian Army fighters and Assad regime forces.)
The international envoy was received by Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal Miqdad, and the head of the UN political office in Damascus, Mukhtar Lamani.
SANA news quoted Miqdad as saying, “Syria trusts that Brahimi has a general understanding of the developments and of the way to solve problems despite the complexities. We are optimistic and we wish Brahimi success.”
According to local media, Brahimi will discuss the Syrian crisis and the efforts exerted by the UN envoy with President Bashar al-Assad and government officials on Monday.
Earlier Saturday, Al-Watan news reported that at least six people were killed and dozens wounded after a car bomb exploded in a marketplace in the district of Qabun in Damascus. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
In another incident, Press TV, Iran's English-language propaganda news channel, reported that 1,000 members of the Pakistani Taliban who have been killed during battles around Damascus international airport have been buried in mass graves. Iran's media claimed that the families of those 1,000 Taliban have been staging demonstrations, calling on the Pakistani government to provide information on their whereabouts.
It is worth mentioning that this news has been published only in this website; the Pakistani websites, whether governmental or relating to the opposition, did not mention it, which indicates the lack of credibility of that news.
In related news regarding Syrian regime chemical weapons, a senior Israeli defense official, Amos Gilad, told Israeli Army Radio Sunday that the chemical weapons in Syria were safe for now.
“Suppose he (Assad) does leave, there could be chaos in the Middle East. You never know who will come instead. We need to stay level-headed; the entire world is dealing with this. At the moment, chemical weapons are under control,” Gilad said.
Israeli Prime Ministersaid at a government session Sunday that the events in Syria are dramatic, adding Israel is preparing for potential political changes in Syria.
Many massacres have been carried out by the Syrian regime. These massacres are considered war crimes, but it seems that the world is still counting on a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, which has spun out of control as fighting continues between the regime and the armed opposition.
From the beginning, I said that Brahimi deals with the Syrian crisis from an Algerian perspective and not out of an international perspective. He has a good relationship with the Syrian regime, since he was Minister of Foreign Affairs for Algeria. He had good relations with Hafez Assad, as well as with the Iranian Revolution during the era of Khomeini. Therefore all the solutions provided by Brahimi will be in favor of the Syrian regime and allies of the regime.
As for the continuation of bombings in Syria, it seems that the Syrian regime and its allies are still trying to convince the international community that there is no revolution against the regime. They claim that the regime is fighting al-Qaida, which executes terrorist operations. However, I consider the news mentioned by Press TV to be funny and I think that no one will believe it, as is it not logical that the Pakistani Taliban leaves NATO in Afghanistan and travels thousands of miles to fight the Syrian regime. And what is more ridiculous is the number of Pakistani Taliban (1,000 members) and that they were all killed and buried so as not to reveal the truth.
Information from inside Syria indicates Shabiha gangs begun to disappear from the Syrian scene. Besides, a lot of Syrians are saying that most of the Syrian Christians left Damascus to Lebanon to celebrate Christmas. Furthermore, many of them sold their possessions probably to be ready for migration. Some information states that the Alawites moved to the Syrian coastal area, hence several cities had been emptied of their population.