On May 25, 2012, 78 people, including 49 children, were killed in two opposition-controlled villages in the Houla Region of Syria, a cluster of villages north of Homs .  While a small proportion of the deaths appeared to have resulted from artillery and tank rounds used against the villages, the foreign press later announced that most of the massacre's victims had been "summarily executed in two separate incidents",  and that witnesses affirmed that the Shabiha were the most likely perpetrators.  Townspeople described how Shabiha, from Shia/Alawite villages to the south and west of Houla ( Kabu and Felleh were named repeatedly), entered the town after shelling of the ground for several hours. According to one eyewitness, the killers had written Shia slogans on their foreheads.  The . reported that "entire families were shot in their houses",  and video emerged of children with their skulls split open.  Others had been shot or knifed to death, some with their throats cut. 
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