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‘Militants kill 19 civilians in Alawite village’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows smoke billowing from houses in the town of Zara, March 8, 2014. (Photo by AFP)

Foreign-backed Takfiri militants have shot dead 19 civilians from the Alawite minority in their own homes after seizing their village in central Syria, a monitor says.

Other villagers were kidnapped following the assault in which eight volunteer militiamen were killed trying to defend al-Zara in Hama province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday.

"During the attack, they entered houses and opened fire on families, killing at least 19 civilians, including six women," observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, referring to the terrorists.

State news agency SANA condemned the "massacre" of villagers in Hama, which has a significant Alawite minority.

"Terrorist groups infiltrated al-Zara and carried out a massacre as well as destruction and pillage," it reported.

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said Takfiri militants abducted a number of children and women after massacring many others.

"The international community should support Syria in its battles against terrorism and help prevent the flow of arms and money to the Takfiri militants from their foreign sponsors, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey," Halqi said.

According to a police official, the attackers rampaged through the town, destroying houses and looting property.

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