Gunmen from an Alawite militia, one of the “shabbiha” militia factions that support Syrian President Bashar Assad, attacked and killed six mediators from the Assad government’s National Reconciliation Committee (NRC), which was trying to calm sectarian tensions in Homs Province.
The NRC mediators were trying to mediate a truce between Alawite and Sunni fighters in the villages of Hajar al-Abyad and Qameira, one of the many little battles that have sprung up as Syria’s ongoing civil war turns more religious in tone.
The negotiators in this case were Sunni, and when they arrived to try to arrange the talks they were ambushed by militia members who accused them of secretly working on behalf of the rebels.
Sunnis in Hajar al-Abyad say they believe the killings were done with the support of local government officials, even though the NRC is itself a state-sanctions organization. This suggests that as the civil war gets uglier and uglier, many will resist efforts to end the conflict.
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