Houla Massacre Survivors Recount the Horror
Syrians say they either hid or played dead
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2012 6:11 PM CDT
This citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network taken Saturday, May 26, 2012 purports to show shrouded dead bodies following a Syrian government assault on Houla, Syria.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Survivors of the horrific Houla massacre have described the event to reporters, saying the army and dreaded shabiha militiamen were behind the door-to-door assault. Many witnesses said they played dead or hid in order to survive, the BBC reports. "We were in the house, they went in, the shabiha and security, they went in with Kalashnikovs and automatic rifles," said one survivor. "They took us to a room and hit my father on the head with the back of a rifle and shot him straight in the chin."

An 11-year-old boy tells the Guardian that he stood and watched while gunmen shot down his entire family: "They shot at me, but the bullet passed me and I wasn't hit," he said. "I was shaking so much I thought they would notice me. I put blood on my face to make them think I'm dead." Meanwhile, Russia said today that "both sides" were to blame for the assault, MSNBC reports. And on the diplomatic front, UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has landed in Damascus for a meeting tomorrow with President Assad, hoping to convince him to take "bold steps" toward peace.