Monday, September 17, 2012

The Darkside!

Some peddle hope and deliver indifference, while others peddle pure unadulterated cynicism. In the face of all this, Syrians are persevering somehow, but the problem with perseverance is that it requires a certain uncompromising if not downright puritan quality, which in our world translates into all different sorts of unsavory isms. Welcome to the Darkside of the Arab Spring.  

Monday September 17, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 142. The Breakdown: 50 in Damascus and Suburbs (among them 10 in Yarmouk Camp), 31 in Aleppo, 30 in Daraa (among them 13 in the shelling of Lajat), 12 in Homs, 12 in Idlib, 2 in Raqqa, 2 in Lattakia, 2 in Hama and 1 in Deir Ezzor (LCC).

News

Special Reports

Op-Eds


Ammar Abdulhamid & Khawla Yusuf: The Shredded Tapestry: The State of Syria Today

In Pictures

On September 16 and 17, new massacres took place in the village of Kafar Ouaid, Idlib Province. Among the victims many children. One little girl was beheaded.
 Retrieving the fallen is always a complicated and risky business
In Homs, one cannon are aimed at different neighborhoods and keep pounding them all day long
An example of the bombs, popularly referred to as the “barrels,” which are currently being dropped on restive towns, cities and neighborhoods all over Syria
A grieving father cannot bear look at the bodies of his dead sons, and cannot let go of his surviving one
A group of Syrian women in the diaspora has gone on a hunger strike in protest of world’ silence. It’s been two weeks for some.
Miraculously, some protesters still remember the Revolution’s main goal: the establishment of a civil state
But others have gone in a different direction: they want the Caliphate
Many, if not most are frustrated with all and want “to topple everybody”

Video Highlights

In the village of Kafar Ouaid, Idlib Province, the pounding keeps claiming the lives of more children http://youtu.be/lxTSaPhKrH0 , http://youtu.be/CEb71phCt7M , http://youtu.be/6sdFVPSC4aI On the previous day, more children were killed as well by pounding and direct slaughter. http://youtu.be/-VmOIc4sc7s , http://youtu.be/U3jeVaJ9kIA This gruesome video shows the body of a little girl who was beheaded http://youtu.be/XOxTVWDVubo


To the North of Damascus, the pounding of the town of Yabroud continues http://youtu.be/obxcMnM61Z0

The town of Darat Azzah, Aleppo Province, is pounded by MIGs http://youtu.be/jLTNWFaWhLM , http://youtu.be/HklBDeZartw

In Homs Province, the pounding of the town of Al-Qusair continues http://youtu.be/jaxahQRciFs And Rastan http://youtu.be/j6BdBL6OPY0 , http://youtu.be/Zxr5uULKbxQ , http://youtu.be/_OZkEboUVvo In Talbisseh, medics try to revive a little girl injured by a shrapnel http://youtu.be/lDyyvWniuqg

The pounding of the town of Kinsafrah in Idlib Province http://youtu.be/UZL5sCHI32U , http://youtu.be/Ug7v0zNyxbQ

Alawites in Antakya, Turkey, rally in support of Assad and demand the repatriation of all refugees. They blame the tragic developments in Syria on Saudi-Qatari-American-Zionist-Erdogan conspiracy, claim all revolutionaries are foreign fighters and say that Assad is goodhearted http://youtu.be/hwbg-Yc1Zi0

In Salaheddine Neighborhood, Aleppo City, rebels claim to have killed an Iranian officer, they show his body and his ID http://youtu.be/jXJRJ6E1iPw

Another activist accidentally films his own death http://youtu.be/3FeV-qByb84

This video shows an FSA fighter blowing up a tank by throwing a hand grenade inside the cockpit http://youtu.be/M33aaZBFmLI

Leaked video showing a ranking officer in pro-Assad militias giving orders to a tank to pound a neighborhood in a Damascene suburb irrespective of the presence of “civilians” http://youtu.be/X1tt1qHDCsM

Another recently leaked video harkens back until last winter and shows the positioning of cannons to pound the town of Madaya in Damascus Province http://youtu.be/4OeZfW93JKA  

In South Idlib, a group of defected soldiers announces the formation of new fighting unit called: The Martyr Saddam Hussein’s Brigade http://youtu.be/lTe7TlFKRps The choice of name is dictated by the donor involved.

A report by The Syrian Network for Human Rights

The complete legal documentation of the Daraya Massacre
Date of incident: 20/8/2012-27/8/2012

Darya is located in Damascus’ countryside as it is eight kilometers west of Damascus. Only a small distance separates Daraya, the biggest city of in Rural Damascus, from Mu’adamiyet Alsham. 

On the second day of Eid Al-Fitr, and as Muslims around the world were celebrating, the military operation against Daraya began. On Monday, August 20th, 2012, the Syrian government cut off electricity and communication from the entire city. That night, the Syrian arm shelled the western part of the city with tens of mortar shells. Homes were completely destroyed and many were wounded by the shelling, which consequently made the residents flee to the centre of the city. 

On the following Tuesday morning (21/8/2012), the Syrian army blocked off all Daraya’s exists and entrances with sandbags and barriers. Thirty tanks were deployed on the International Highway to Deraa, thus preventing anyone from entering or exiting the city. The Syrian army started shelling the heart of Daraya, wounding many. 

The Syrian forces then attempted to advance through the Kornish Way. However, the forces met resistance from the Free Syrian Army as the two sides clashed causing casualties on both sides. The Syrian Network for Human Rights cannot document or verify the casualties on either side due to the Syrian government’s refusal to issue a license for the network. There are also other difficulties that prevent the network from documenting the casualties from both armed parties. 

At 7:00 am, Wednesday, 21/8/2012, the Syrian forces stepped up the shelling, only for Daraya to witness the fiercest wave of shelling. The regime forces used various weapons, including heavy weapons, tanks, mortars, and helicopter rockets, in a very horrific manner. The shelling killed many civilians in their homes and wounded many. All the victims were taken to field hospitals amidst the lack of needed medical equipment. 

*Important videos that document the events of that day*
The wounded (all civilians) after three days since the beginning of the military operation: 

A surgical operation being conducted on a civilian who was wounded by the shelling:

Thursday (23/8/2012) arrived, as the people of Daraya did not sleep the night before due to the continuos shelling. Our activists conducted field visits to the shelled areas. What caught our attention was the use of artillery weapons and warplane rockets. Witnesses tell us that they could not leave the indoors to retrieve dead bodies due to the fierce shelling that poses a great risk to their lives. 

*Videos that document the events of that day*
We note that the original and raw videos are possessed b the Syrian Network for Human Rights. 

Videos of the dead (all civilians): 
23/8/2012
Anas Alhilou
Amin Huwwari
Other civilians that were killed by the shelling
A child killed by the shelling

Still images of the victims from that day: 
Ahmed Alabbar Abu Hussain
Nadia Mohammed/45 years//killed in random shelling 
Mohanad Ahmed Alzahr
Anas Alhilou
The Al Sheikh Massacre

Videos documenting the wounded (many of them died due to lack of medical equipment)
Daraya 23/8/2012, people seriously wounded, including children: 
Injuries due to rocket fire
Deaths and injuries duet to barbaric shelling
Wounded civilians in serious conditions
A person wounded by sniper fire
A person wounded by shrapnel from a rocket

At 10:00 am, Friday (24/8/2012), forces from the Air-force Intelligence stormed the city form the direction of the Mazzah Airport with the support of fighter jets. The city’s west and centre were shelled and homes were broken into by army personnel as they conducted arrests. 

 As the army attempted to reach the centre of the city, the Free Syrian Army resisted as they clashed with the advancing army forces. This resistance caused the Syrian army to resort to the Scorched Earth strategy, as it used all it had to pound the city, causing the death and injury of many civilians. At this point, the FSA withdrew completely from the city. 

After the withdrawal of the FSA, and at 3:00 pm on the same day, an enormous amount army forces invaded the city. The burned and destroyed homes, markets, businesses, and farms. Medical storages were also burnt. Snipers were deployed in large number all around the city. 

*Videos that document deaths and injuries for that day*
Abu Nidal Qadra, killed in random shelling 
Two dead children
Corpses of those who were killed
A photo of Basel Abu Allin
A photo of Majal Albalshah
The child, Adel Alabbar
Photos of victims who were detained then executed
Maan Alzardah
Those wounded by the shelling
Those wounded by rocket fire and the awful conditions 
Wounded individuals

On the following Saturday through Sunday, Syrian forces started to break into houses and indiscriminately kill whoever they find. Summary executions and collective killings were tactics that were also used. Entire families were annihilated using such tactics. Some of the families which were documented by the network are the “Saqa” family, which Is known for its righteousness, morality, and knowledge, the “Alon” family, and the “Foqa’ah” family. The murderous forces did not stop there. For they also mutilated the bodies of the dead, distorted them, and burnt them, so that human rights organizations and the families be unable to identify the dead. 

It is at this point when the biggest massacre occurred, the massacre of the Abu Sulaiman Aldarani Mosque and its surroundings. Many civilians sought refuge in a home near the mosque. Later, the bodies of 156 people were found piled up in that same place. Nineteen of the dead were women, and three were children. 

Videos and photos documenting the events of the 25-26/8/2012
The child, Asmaa Abu Allin
The Abu Sulaiman Mosque Massacre
Big number of victims that were killed by army forces and Shabiha

Pictures of victims 25/8
Photos from one of the massacres
A photo of Zahra Dyoub
Photos of some corpses

Videos from 26/8/2012
Infants killed by the shelling
The massacres that were discovered in Daraya
The Balafsi family
A massacre in an apartment (7 dead)
 Bodies of 14 people who were summarily executed in their home
Discovered bodies
Photo documentation of victims
The burial of victims in mass graves

On Monday, the army forces withdrew and positioned themselves outside the city. The head of the police headquarters in Daraya was executed by army forces along with other policemen for allegedly “aiding terrorists”. 

Regime forces also looted the Red Cross’s storages which contained nutritional supplies and medicines. 

After the army’s withdrawal, 35 bodies were found of civilians who were detained and then executed by army forces. Four of them are women and three are children. 
Videos documenting that days’ events
Corpses of the victims:
Photos of the bodies: 

The Syrian Network for Human Rights’ team was able, through the coarse of many days, to document the names of the dead. This was achieved through communicating with witnesses, relatives of victims, and activists on the ground (who can be reached via Skype). The United Nations has to pressure the Syrian regime to allow international committees to come to Syria and investigate. 

The Syrian Network for Human Rights documented 524 names, most of whom if not all are civilians, since the FSA withdrew from the city. The presence of 61 dead women proves the regime’s targeting of civilians.