No, they didn’t say that, but they could have.
If you took the trouble to listen to the early reports of the massacre in Houla, Syria then you could be forgiven for wondering how the Syrian government would respond.
Instead of admitting that they have tanks and heavy artillery, and that the Syrian opposition none.
Instead of admitting that they have slaughtered more and more civilians, and done so in the last 15 months, the Syrian government is blaming someone else.
They might as well have blamed Martians, such is the cynical obscenity of their excuses.
There is no logic, no reason, no plausible denial, no humanity, nothing, just the daily murder of Syrian civilians by the Assad regime.
Yet this farce goes on in the West, where instead of admitting that the Syrian government have consciously slaughtered more than 13,000 people in the past 15 months, the Western media sometimes leave the culpability open.
Martin Chulov describes the terrible killing at Houla:
“In a few short hours, the town of Houla joined the sorry list of localities whose names have become synonymous with the merciless slaughter of civilians. Srebrenica. Nyarubuye. My Lai. Up to now, the Syrian conflict has killed 13,000 people. But until this weekend, it had yet to include the mass slaughter of nursery-age infants.
“The shelling started around 3pm,” said Abu Jaffour. “I was in the fields at the time and we tried to reach the area being bombed. It took us three hours to get there. When I reached the houses it was dreadful. I was carrying babies’ bodies that had parts of their heads hanging out.”
A second Houla resident, Imm Mowafik, said that nightfall brought more brutality. “The Shabiha [pro-regime civilian militias] came into town from the direction of the Allawite villages. They entered from five to seven checkpoints and were killing people in their homes. We could hear the shots and nobody could help them.” Abu Jaffour said: “We have buried around 110 martyrs and there are still some people under the rubble. Twenty-two of the children are nursery age.”
Last night, the UN security council convened an emergency session to discuss what the White House called a “vile testament to an illegitimate regime”. The foreign secretary, William Hague, will arrive in Moscow on Monday to take up the matter with Assad’s closest security council ally, Russia. The UN special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, whose tattered peace plan remains in effect on paper alone, will head for Damascus on an emergency mission to stop the crisis from unravelling even further. “
Update 1: The Guardian gives space to an Assad apologist, Patrick Searle. He argues this nonsense:
“Major-General Robert Mood, the Norwegian head of the UN observer mission, has been cautious in pointing the finger of blame for Friday’s Houla killings: “Whatever I learned on the ground in Syria … is that I should not jump to conclusions.” Probably, the truth is that the two sides share the responsibility.
Which is flatly contradicted by this piece from Reuters:
“The letter from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which was obtained by Reuters, said the observers “viewed the bodies of the dead and confirmed from an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired at a residential neighbourhood.” “
Patrick Searle doesn’t even think on as to who has artillery and tanks? Oh, yes, the Syrian government.
Update 2: I haven’t follow Searle before, but he has form, Patrick Seale, Assad Apologist, Welcomes the New Cold War.
Update 3: I remember Asa Winstanley doing an appalling piece for RT which minimalised the Syrian government’s culpability, but this article explains their role in greater detail:
“While it’s unsurprising that the network’s coverage of the Syrian uprising would track closely with positions staked out by the Kremlin—for example, when Russia vetoed the U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the regime, an RT correspondent stressed that the resolution “could have sent an unbalanced signal to all sides of the conflict”—RT hasn’t simply promoted an anti-interventionist or anti-NATO viewpoint. Instead, it has frequently parroted Assad’s narrative by providing a platform for paranoiacs and conspiracy theorists to dispute that civilians are being killed by the regime, accuse America and Israel of being behind the deaths of Syrian civilians, and argue that the government in Damascus is a beacon of tolerance in the region. “