12 factory workers killed
New bloodshed was reported across Syria on Friday. Activists said Syrian security forces fired on thousands of protesters in different parts of the country as crowds poured into the streets to mark the Houla massacre. Activists said security forces shot and killed 12 factory workers returning home from work in a bus near Qusayr in the province of Homs. None of the men were known rebels, and all were buried Thursday evening, activists said. The regime blamed the Free Syrian Army.
Danger at checkpoints
The killings again raised fears that Syria was plunging into a cycle of sectarian massacres and possible civil war. The slayings fit a disturbing pattern of motorists and bus passengers being yanked from their vehicles at checkpoints and targeted for execution, apparently because of their sect or perceived allegiance, or lack of allegiance, to President Bashar Assad. Government and rebel checkpoints now mark many roads in Syria, especially in conflict zones such as Homs.
'There is no cease-fire'
The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday called for an independent international inquiry into the Houla atrocity. Russia voted against it. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was visiting Germany, said he still held out hope for a political solution to the crisis. "It requires a certain professionalism and patience," he said. Danish Lt. Col. Peter Dahl, the head of the U.N. monitoring group in Hama, said, "There is no cease-fire." — Times wires