(New York Times) Before dawn on Aug. 4, Raed Shakouhi, an olive and walnut farmer in a government-held hilltop village near the Syrian coast, just across a valley from rebel territory, was woken by gunshots and cries of “God is great.”
Mr. Shakouhi, 42, hid among nearby trees with his wife and four young children. The next day, he emerged to find his uncle shot dead, his family’s possessions stolen or destroyed, and the streets littered with bloodstains and the carcasses of farm animals, he recalled last month in an interview in the state-run shelter where he now lives. Many of his neighbors here in Latakia and in the surrounding villages, mostly members of Syria’s minority Alawite sect, fared even worse.
In a coordinated attack, numerous rebel groups fought off a small garrison of government troops and swept into the villages, killing 190 people, according to a Human Rights Watch report to be released on Friday. At least 67 of the dead appeared to have been shot or stabbed while unarmed or fleeing, including 48 women and 11 children, the report said. More than 200 civilians are still being held hostage.