Avaaz: At least 23 dead and 100 injured in UN convoy attack
KHAN SHEIKHOUN (IDLIB PROVINCE)
A convoy of UN observers narrowly avoided serious injury when regime forces attacked a funeral procession in which at least 23 people were killed and 100 were injured. Avaaz has documented the names of those killed.
At 2pm local time in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province the funeral procession, which had turned into an anti-regime demonstration, was attacked by regime forces who opened fire on the crowd with machine guns and mortar rounds, according to an eyewitness.
Fadi Yassine, who witnessed the attack, told Avaaz via Skype: “A funeral for Ahmad Fatrawi, originally from Khan Sheikhoun – who was killed in the clashes in Tamanna town in Hama two days ago – went out in Khan Sheikhoun today. When the funeral reached the city centre where a huge checkpoint is located [called Mantaka checkpoint], it turned into an anti-regime demonstration. The observers happened to be there touring the area in their official white vehicles. The regime forces opened fire on the demonstrators. I saw a shell fired at the crowd. People started screaming and scattering in all directions, we could not even pick up the injured. The front of one UN car was damaged. The observers were still inside the cars when the FSA tried to take them out of the area to a safer place. The observers refused in the beginning, but they eventually left the town centre under the protection of the FSA.” The monitors are still with the FSA inside Khan Sheikhoun.
Fadi added: “I cannot give an exact number of the killed and wounded, as the attack was so big. But I saw with my own eyes 8 people killed. Some of the wounded were transferred to field hospitals inside Khan Sheikhoun, and others transferred to field hospitals outside the town due to limited capacity. We are really surprised by the incident today, since we know that there is coordination between the UN observers and the regime forces. What happened today is really overwhelming and very hard to understand.”
Many of the wounded are now being treated in various field hospitals in villages outside Khan Sheikhoun and also in the town of Zawiya Mount.
There are unconfirmed reports of clashes between FSA and regime forces at the Mantaka checkpoint, when the FSA retaliated to the attack. Activist Mouhamad Hassan Dgheim told Avaaz that FSA forces destroyed the checkpoint, including blowing up a T72 regime tank stationed there.
FSA retaliation in Khan Sheikhoun http://www.youtube.