According to reports, militiamen and Butcher Assad’s troops fought a lengthy battle around the town of Tremseh near Homs, using helicopters and artillery to surround and bombard farmers and fighters and their families holed up in the town. Opposition sources say more than 200 people were killed by the regime and its thugs; official media countered that townspeople begged for intervention from the army after terrorists and armed gangs attacked and killed fifty or so people.The total count is likely somewhere in-between these numbers and won’t be determined until monitors can get into Tremseh. What’s clear is that many fighters and civilians just died in this bloody war’s nastiest battle so far. Opposition sources allege a dark sectarian element to the fight: “[this] amounted to ethnic cleansing, following a pattern of previous massacres, with the government forces and armed militiamen from nearby Alawite villages surrounding the town of some 11,000 mostly Sunni Muslim farmers and subjecting it to withering fire,” reported the NYT.What is the point of this senseless violence? Butcher Assad and his cronies—and many civilians who support the regime, it seems—will cling to what they have and fight to the death. Some, like the Syrian ambassador to Iraq, are defecting. But those who remain are the most stubborn, the butchers. What a mess. It’s getting uglier every day and will continue to do so.