The U.N.counted 49 children and 34 women among the dead in a massacre on Friday involving the army and local rebels in Houla, Syria. Arriving on Monday to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, special envoy to United Nations Kofi Annan released the following statement: "I am personally shocked and horrified by the tragic incident in Houla two days ago, which took so many innocent lives, children, women and men."
The killings, which were the deadliest in the country’s 15-month uprising, are said to have been caused by the government army and rebels feuding. Amateur videos posted online show the brutality of the event with bodies lined in the streets, then wrapped in white sheets and thrown into a mass grave. Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the government has formed a committee to investigate and share its findings with Annan, who is due to visit Damascus in the coming days.