When the gunmen began to slaughter his family,11-year-old Ali el-Sayed says he fell to the floor of his home,soaking his clothes with his brothers blood to fool the killers into thinking he was already dead.
The Syrian boy tried to stop himself from trembling,even as the gunmen,with long beards and shaved heads,killed his parents and all four of his siblings,one by one. The youngest to die was Alis brother,6-year-old Nader. His small body bore two bullet holes – one in his head,another in his back.
I put my brothers blood all over me and acted like I was dead, Ali told The Associated Press over Skype on Wednesday,his raspy voice steady and matter-of-fact,five days after the killing spree that left him both an orphan and an only child.
Ali is one of the few survivors of a weekend massacre at Houla,in Syrias central Homs province. More than 100 people were killed,many of them women and children who were shot or stabbed in their houses.
Activists who helped collect the dead in the aftermath of the Houla massacre described dismembered bodies in the streets,and row upon row of corpses shrouded in blankets.
Ali said his mother began weeping the moment about 11 gunmen entered the family home in the middle of the night after arriving in a military-armored vehicle and a bus. The men led Alis father and oldest brother outside.
Soon afterward,he said,the gunmen killed Alis entire family.
As Ali huddled with his youngest siblings,a man in civilian clothes took Alis mother to the bedroom and shot her five times in the head and neck.
The gunmen shot both his brothers,killing them instantly. They then fired at Ali but missed. I was terrified, Ali said.