'I put my brother's blood all over me and acted like I was dead': In gut-wrenching, heartbreaking detail, Syrian boy, 11, relives slaughter of his parents and all four siblings
- Ali el-Sayed played dead to avoid being executed by gunman who slaughtered his family
- Tragic 11-year-old one of few survivors from horrific executions in Houla
An 11-year-old Syrian boy has described in heart-wrenching detail how he had to cover his clothes in his brother's blood to save his own life as killers slaughtered his entire family.
Ali el-Sayed witnessed his parents and all four of his siblings killed by Syrian gunmen during last weekend's horrific massacres, which he only survived himself by playing dead.
The youngest to die was Ali's brother, 6-year-old Nader. His small body bore two bullet holes - one in his head, another in his back.
Tragic: Ali el-Sayed, pictured here in an interview on Wednesday, had to play dead to avoid being executed by Syrian gunmen who killed his family
The 11-year-old boy told how he covered himself in his brother's blood to fool the gunmen and make them think he was also dead
Ali is one of the few survivors of a weekend massacre in Houla, a collection of poor farming villages and olive groves in Syria's central Homs province.
More than 100 people were killed, many of them women and children who were shot or stabbed in their houses.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday, five days after becoming an orphan and an only child, Ali said: 'I put my brother's blood all over me and acted like I was dead.'
Ali said his mother began weeping the moment about 11 gunmen entered the family home in the middle of the night. The men led Ali's father and oldest brother outside.
Soon afterward, he said, the gunmen killed Ali's entire family.
Brutal: In further bloodshed, UN observers found the 13 bodies of Syrian army defectors lying on the ground near Deir el-Zour, in Syria after being killed by Assad's forcesThe killings brought immediate, worldwide condemnation of President Bashar Assad, who has unleashed a violent crackdown on an uprising that began in March 2011.
Activists say as many as 13,000 people have been killed since the revolt began.
Ali's ordeal emerged today as the bodies of 13 more people were discovered bound and shot in eastern Syria.
Syrian activists claimed that the victims were army defectors killed by President Bashar Assad's forces, although it has not been possible to verify their accounts.
In response, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today that every day of slaughter in Syria is strengthening the case for tougher international action.
U.N. investigators and witnesses blame at least some of the Houla killings on shadowy gunmen known as shabiha who operate on behalf of Assad's government.
Execution: The men are believed to be defectors from the Syrian army who were caught and killed
'Then he left the bedroom. He used his flashlight to see in front of him,' Ali said. 'When he saw my sister Rasha, he shot her in the head while she was in the hallway.'
Ali had been hiding near his brothers Nader, 6, and Aden, 8. The gunmen shot both of them, killing them instantly. He then fired at Ali but missed.
'I was terrified,' Ali said, speaking from Houla, where relatives have taken him in. 'My whole body was trembling.'
Recruited from the ranks of Assad's Alawite religious community, the militiamen enable the government to distance itself from direct responsibility for the execution-style killings, torture and revenge attacks that have become hallmarks of the shabiha.
Terrible aftermath: A heartbreaking image of children said to have been killed in Houla by Assad's thugs at the weekend in a still from a video taken by an activist and posted online
Horror: The UN counted 49 children and 34 women among the dead. Activists from the Houla area said the army pounded the villages with artillery and clashed with local rebels after protests Friday
Activists who helped collect the dead in the aftermath of the Houla massacre described dismembered bodies in the streets, and row upon row of corpses shrouded in blankets.
'When we arrived on the scene we started seeing the scale of the massacre,' said Ahmad al-Qassem, a 35-year-old activist.
'I saw a kid with his brains spilling out, another child who was no more than 1 year old who was stabbed in the head. The smell of death was overpowering.'
The regime denies any responsibility for the Houla killings, blaming them on terrorists. And even if the shabiha are responsible for the killings, there is no clear evidence that the regime directly ordered the massacre in a country spiraling toward civil war.
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
Anger: Britain and France have condemned the attack on children and pointed the fingers at Syrian troops
According to the U.N., which is investigating the attack, most of the victims were shot at close range, as were Ali's parents and siblings. The attackers appeared to be targeting the most vulnerable people, such as children and the elderly, to terrorize the population.
This type of massacre - even more than the shelling and mortar attacks that have become daily occurrences in the uprising - is a sign of a new level of violence. By most accounts, the gunmen descended on Houla from an arc of nearby villages, making the deaths all the more horrifying because the victims could have known their attackers.
UN probe: Bodies pictured piled up in Syria, as released by the opposition's Shaam News Network
Syrian activist Maysara Hilaoui said he was at home when the massacre in Houla began. He said there were two waves of violence, one starting at 5 p.m. Friday and a second at 4 a.m. Saturday.
'The shabiha took advantage of the withdrawal of rebel fighters,' he said. 'They started entering homes and killing the young as well as the old.'