Syria massacre: On the ground in Qubair
UN monitors have been in the Syrian village of Qubair to investigate the scene of a massacre which took place on Wednesday. The BBC's Paul Danahar, who has been travelling with the team, says they were met by the smell of burnt flesh in gutted buildings.
In his tweets (@pdanahar), documented here, he shares in his own words the shocking scenes he witnessed. Please note that some of the description below may be disturbing.
Just before the sign saying 'Welcome to Hama' there is a bombed-out bridge hanging over the road.
Am on the outskirts of Hama on way to UN but have been stopped at a checkpoint. A test of one of the six points in the plan. Media freedom.
The streets of Hama are deserted aside from occasional checkpoints. And we've been stopped again!
And we [are] through again after a lecture from a soldier saying "why don't you care about the terrorists killing us, aren't we human too?"
Sandbagged checkpoints on almost every corner in Hama.
Am now on outskirts of Qubair #Syria where Wednesday's massacre took place. The UN has sent in a forward team to assess the safety situation.
Qubair is in a very rural area. Individual houses are separated by large fields of corn.
There are only 130 people living in the tiny village of Qubair. I can see the farmhouses but we are still waiting to be taken down #Syria
If it wasn't for the misery we believe waits for us at the bottom of this hill, you would describe Qubair as an idyllic spot. (1/3) #syria
Village where the killings took place is just a few single storey flat-roofed buildings set in the middle of golden cornfields (2/3) #Syria
But the beauty of this land hides a growing sectarian conflict that seems to be spiralling out of control in #Syria (3/3)
A man called Ahmed has come up from the village who says he witnessed the killings. He has says dozens were killed. #syria
He has a badly bruised face but his story is conflicted & the UN say they are not sure he's honest as they think he followed the convoy.
Illustrates how [hard] it is to get the truth here in #Syria and how tough the UN mission is.
We are now driving down into the village of Qubair snaking along small deserted dirt roads #Syria
We went down into a valley & we've headed up towards a handful of small squat buildings. One seems to have a hole blown out by an RPG.
The roads are so rocky our car is having trouble climbing them.
We are here. In front of a burnt out building is carcass of a donkey inside the buildings are gutted. The UN have not found any people yet.
In front of me there is a piece of brain, in the corner there is a mass on congealed blood. This is a house in Qubair. #Syria
The largest of the two houses on the hill top in Qubair has been gutted by fire. The stench of burnt flesh is still strong.
We are hurtling through deserted towns on our way to Damascus. The driver is scared. When we entered some areas he puts his foot down. #Syria
Occasionally I've seen a burnt out vehicle or a fortified bridge. The sun is going down & what I haven't seen is people.
"We've got to cross this dangerous areas we must go fast" the driver says.
But we have to stop there's a checkpoint and we are being waved down.
These guys are fine, we've been let through.
The flies found the evidence of the Qubair massacre before UN got there. They buzzed & swooped around what remained of the tiny community.
The first house had been gutted by fire but the stench of burnt flesh still hung heavy in the air. The scene in next house was even worse.
Blood was in pools around the room. Pieces of flesh lay among the scattered possession[s].
Butchering the people didn't satisfy the blood lust of the attackers so they killed the live stock too. Their carcasses rotting in the sun.
The only clue to where the bodies of the people may have gone are etched into the road. UN said they were tracks made by military vehicles.
Whoever did this may have acted with mindless violence but attempts to cover up the details of the atrocity are calculated & clear. #Syria
Minor edits to spelling have been made to original tweets. Times are approximate.