Two sets of alleged witnesses with two contradicting narratives
The term “alleged witness” is used here to account for the fact that one set or another of the two almost has to be grossly wrong. The usual solution is to ignore one set and call the others “the witnesses,” and then cite the unanimity among “the witnesses.” Here both sets are listed, so to instill some objectivity (despite each member’s pre-existing biases), all should be listed this way.
General Government/Shabiha attack narrative
The massacre was done by pro-Assad Alawite militias called Shabiha. They approached Taldou from south-western direction coming from the small Alawite villages there. They had help from the Army which fired on peaceful demonstrators at a checkpoint and, extent widely varying in the testimonies, used heavy arms shelling the village. The victims were massacred because they were Sunni Muslims and/or protesting the government. They did it to spread fear and terror among people protesting the Government.
General Rebel attack narrative
The massacre was done by armed terrorist groups with help from local rebels. They approached Taldou from north-eastern direction coming from the city of Ar-Rastan which is controlled by foreign Salafists, and from villages on the way between. They attacked the checkpoints, took over the city and selectively massacred families loyal to the government and/or, varying on the testimonies, not Sunni Muslim. They did it to take control of the city, cleanse it and blame the government for their own atrocities to create international outrage.