Syrians mark 11 years since Houla massacre as Arab states normalise ties with regime
Syrians have taken to social media to mark 11 years since a massacre by Syrian regime forces in Houla, a rural region of central Syria, left more than 100 people dead.
The 108 victims of the massacre were killed when regime forces and allied militias slaughtered civilians in the area in Homs governorate, central Syria on 25 May 2012. Almost half of those killed were children.
The area had earlier that day been the site of spirited protests against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his forces, who at that point were some 14 months into a brutal crackdown on the uprising against him and his regime.
Using an Arabic-language hashtag that translates into #Houla_Massacre, Syrians on social media platforms including Twitter have posted photos and videos taken in the immediate aftermath of the massacre. Some included graphic images of children apparently shot dead by regime forces.
Many of the Twitter users asked how governments could pursue normalisation with Damascus in light of the killings at Houla and countless other massacres committed by the regime.
"We will not forget the crimes of these scoundrels, even if all the people of the earth were to normalise them," one journalist said.
Another pointed out how some Arab states that condemned the massacre when it happened have since sought to normalise ties with its perpetrators.
More than 500,000 Syrians have died since the regime's brutal crackdown on a popular uprising sparked a civil war in 2011. Millions of Syrians have been displaced from their homes. Some 100,000 more are missing.
After years of almost total diplomatic isolation because of the war, Assad has been welcomed back into the regional political fold.
Last week, Assad participated in his first Arab League summit since 2011.