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Syria Houla Massacre: Pro-Assad Militia Likely Responsible For Mass Killings, UN Peacekeeping Chief Says

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Members of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) gather in the lobby of their hotel in Damascus as UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan arrives in the capital for talks with top officials on May 28, 2012. Annan said during a press conference that he was 'shocked' at the weekend's 'tragic events' in the central Syrian town of Houla where the Syrian government used artillery in which at least 108 people were killed. (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/GettyImages) | Getty Images

UNITED NATIONS, May 29 (Reuters) - U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said on Tuesday that militia supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were probably responsible for killing people with small arms and knives in the massacre of 108 civilians in Houla.

"Part of the victims had been killed by artillery shells, now that points ever so clearly to the responsibility of the government. Only the government has heavy weapons, has tanks, has howitzers," Ladsous told reporters.

"But there are also victims from individual weapons, victims from knife wounds and that of course is less clear but probably points the way to the (pro-Assad) shabbihas, the local militia," he said. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler)