THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.
*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*
Al-Hubait Massacre| 30 June 2012 | 10 Children Killed in 10 Minutes
At 06:00 pm, the Syrian regime’s army helicopters fiercely attacked the town of Al-Hubait, located 77 kilometers from the center of the city of Idleb and near the city of Khan Shaikoun. Local activists and the families of victims were interviewed, both noting that the helicopters used heavy bombs. The regime’s army shelled the densely populated city deliberately killing 13 victims and injuring 35 people. In all, 10 children were killed within the first few minutes of the attack. There is evidence that the regime deliberately and systematically targets civilians with these seemingly random shelling attacks.
**WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES**
Injured children from the regime attack are treated at the Kafr Zaita hospital in Al-Hubait.
Hameh Massacre | 26 June 2012 | 21 Victims in 2 Hours
At 02:30, Tuesday 26 June 2012, the Syrian regime’s army raided Al-Hameh city, located 12 kilometers to the west of the Syrian capital Damascus. The force included: tanks, armoured vehicles, at least 15,000 infantry soldiers, and pro-regime’s Shabeeha militias (from the neighbouring areas of Jabal Al-Ward and Al-Buhouth Al-Ilmya). This combined force shelled the city for two hours destroying numerous houses. They harvested the lives of twenty one civilians in these two short hours. Most of the victims were killed by army snipers. All the victims were buried in the Al-Sadat cemetery.
**WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES**
Victims from the massacre on 26 of June in Al-Hameh. The attack was perpetrated by the Syrian regime’s army aided by pro-regime Shabeeha militias.
All information and videos in this report provided by:
Mahmoud Al-Ahmad’s Story: A Paramedic of Hama City
Paramedic, Mahmoud Al-Ahmad, locally known “Abu Hussein” was one of the most prominent paramedic among the volunteers who aided the wounded in the city of Hama. He was born in Hama in 1985. He leaves behind, a young child, a girl less than one year old.
Since the early days of the Syrian revolution, Abu Hussein took to the street as both a protester and a paramedic. On 3 June 2012, the “Children of Freedom’s” Friday, he received a gunshot that penetrated his chest. For treatment, he was transported to a makeshift hospital where he was treated and remained through recovery. He then returned to Hama as an avid activist.
He was persistent and worked hard, founding a makeshift hospital in the Mashaa Al-Arba’een neighbourhood, which was targeted by the Syrian regime’s army. This neighbourhood had the largest number of the wounded in the city of Hama during the regime’s army offensive.
Abu Hussein treated and aided hundreds of the wounded in the city of Hama. All locals speak highly of his good morals, loyalty and the invaluable aid he provided.
Abu Hussein documented, using a personal camera, the wounded whom he aided. He did so to show the world the crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian regime. The following are examples taken out of scores of videos he recorded in the makeshift hospital. SNHR and DCHRS have the original copies of these videos that have been uploaded to YouTube.
The footage below shows the wounded in the Al-Hamedya makeshift hospital, where they are supervised and receive treatment from Abu Hussein.
On 20 June 2012, the Syrian regime’s army and security forces launched an offensive on Hama city; they shelled the city continually for three days and isolated it from the whole world using a media and communications blackout. Numerous citizens fell victims and many more were wounded. Abu Hussein hurried to aid the wounded. While he was treating one of the victims a mortar shell, fired by the regime’s forces, hit them and killed Mahmoud along with the four citizens who were accompanying him while he treated the wounded.
In the video below, the location of the body of Abu Hussein, the paramedic of Hama, is shown. The heroic efforts he provided to the injured of Hama are un-matched.
Mus’ab Bard’s Story: A Doctor and Paramedic
Doctor and paramedic Mus’ab Bard, was tortured to death by regime forces for aiding civilians. He was the epitome of a medical hero.
Mus’ab Bard (1 January, 1992 – 14 June, 2012) was born in Teftenaz, Idleb, Syria. He was a student in the Faculty of Medicine, at Aleppo University. He came from an eight person family. He had three brothers (one is a doctor, the other an engineer, and the third a pharmacist), and two sisters (both are attending school). Mus’ab was always one of the finest students, garnering high achievements and the best grades, both in high school and in his first two years at the University. However, even more noticeable were his strong morals and values that were present in all his actions.
The young doctor became a part of the Syrian revolution protests in the city of Aleppo. He was also a member on a paramedic team that gave treatment and aid to the wounded. Mus’ab was detained in one of the protests on 6 September, 2011. It began as the funeral procession of Ibrahim Salqeeni, a respected scholar in Aleppo, who was poisoned by the Assad regime, according to his family. Mus’ab was detained for a month for the crime of attending the funeral and videographing it. After Mus’ab was released, he stopped attending protests and began a new task: aiding the wounded and rescuing the injured.
Once Musa’b took upon this new task he worked around the clock, serving the cause of helping humanity. He traveled with a small bag containing very basic and humble instruments to aid him in his work. He had many supporters and was well known by dozens of Syrian activist for this noble role which he acquired during the revolution.
On Sunday, the 17th of June, the Syrian regime’s Air Force Intelligence detained Mus’ab and two of his class mates, Basel Aslan and Hazem Batteek. The three were all returned dead one week later on Sunday the 24 of June. Their bodies clearly showed that they had been tortured and were badly burned. Mus’ab’s brother had difficulty identifying him due to the severity of the burns extending even to his hair. The doctors confirmed that Mus’ab had been tortured and burned to death. A bullet hole was also found on his body that indicated that the bullet had passed completely through his body.
Thousands of people held a funeral procession for the murdered medical students in Saif Addawla, Aleppo. The video below shows the procession.
The video below shows the burned bodies of the three medical students inside the coroner’s office.
**WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES**
Mus’ab’s body was later tranported to Teftenaz, his birthplace, where he was buried.
All information, videos, and photos in this report provided by:
The Syrian regime’s army troops and security forces raided the city of Douma after fiercely shelling and bombarding it with helicopters. Therefore, the Free Syrian Army members and more than 95 % of its residents fled the city after scores of residents were killed with continual fierce shelling. On Thursday, 28 of June 2012, the Syrian regime’s army took the lives of 71 citizens in the city of Douma.
It is worth mentioning that the regime’s forces and pro-regime shabeeha militias raided the two makeshift hospitals in Al-Jalaa Street. Volunteer doctors and paramedics fled to save their lives, leaving behind scores of wounded citizens including at least 8 in critical situations. There are still some nurses providing aid in makeshift hospitals. However, there are grave concerns that the regime’s forces may extra judicially execute the wounded, mimicking the actions taken in Baba Amr. There, after seizing control of the makeshift hospitals, the regime’s army quickly executed the wounded receiving care.
After leaving the air in Baba Amr filled with the stench of death and the streets and sidewalks littered with bodies, regime forces ensured that any survivors would be unable to go for help by cutting the town off from the rest of the world. Telecommunications, electricity and water were disconnected by regime forces, who surrounded the town, prohibiting anyone from leaving or entering. They also denied access for humanitarian aid, including provisions of food and medicine.
The Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies and the Syrian Network for Human Rights have verified that regime forces are systematically attempting to wipe the city of Douma off the face of the earth, killing innocent citizens and looting their homes. A new deployment of military reinforcements arrived in the town a short while ago, and a child was found stabbed by regime forces next to the Heseibeh Mosque. Regime’s forces are clearly intent on continuing their siege on the town, and if international actors do not intervene swiftly, Douma will become another Baba Amr situation.
SNHR & DCHRS demand the international community and the UN Security Council to fulfill their responsibilities and bring the regime’s perpetrations in the city of Douma to light by making a swift decision to make the announcement that Douma is an inflicted city. It is also requested that UN countries swiftly set up humanitarian corridors to transport the wounded, women children and men to places of safety. SNHR & DCHRS hold the Syrian regime fully and directly responsible for all acts of killing, looting and rape, repercussions and consequences thereof.
All information contained in this report provided by:
Syrian artists are calling on the International Criminal Court to hold the Syrian Regime accountable for their crimes against humanity and demand an immediate stop to the murder of civilians, the bombing of hospitals, the rape of women, and the torture of prisoners which are all currently being perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad and his regime in Syria.
At a special evening for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, commemorating the farewell of the first Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and the welcome of his successor Fatou Bensouda, The Cinema for Peace Foundation, presented the first official screening of “S.O.S. – Siege on Syria”, a short film, which sheds light on the unbelievable atrocities being committed by the Assad regime in Syria. The film follows members of the local Arab community and supporters of the Syrian revolution as they assembled a flash mob in Detroit, Michigan to raise awareness of the ongoing violence in Syria; and aims to bring to attention to the Syrian uprising for freedom and dignity.
The film has already reached several members of the European Union and was screened for a select assembly of U.S. congressmen and the U.S. ambassador to Syria on June 22, 2012. Cinema for Peace is asking everybody to screen this film and distribute it in social media networks, so it can reach a worldwide audience. Since the film’s shooting, the number of Syrian martyrs has already doubled with nearly 20,000 Syrians massacred, many of which have been women and children. As well as targeting civilians with shelling, fighters have also moved in on the ground and brutally shot and stabbed peaceful civilians to death. In addition to the many thousands murdered, there are hundreds of thousands more who have been displaced. A Syrian activist and victim featured in the film declares, “Everyone that can say a word, and doesn’t say that word, the blood of the people dying is on their hands”
In response to this plea, Syrian artists and Cinema for Peace Foundation are releasing “S.O.S. – Siege on Syria” and calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and his regime; an urgent deliverance of mediators, emergency supplies and humanitarian aid to the afflicted civilian population, and an immediate stop to the violence and murder of innocent civilians.
Invisible Children have joined the charge, standing with Cinema for Peace Foundation in calling for an international unified voice demanding an end to the violence. “We are a generation who will not stand for the brutality against our brothers and sisters, wherever that may be. As a part of a global connectivity, there is a responsibility that flows from it.” The strength of a worldwide call can provoke change, and Cinema for Peace Foundation in partnership with Syrian artists and Invisible Children are appealing to the international community to be a part of bringing peace and justice to Syria by sharing “S.O.S.- Siege on Syria” as far and wide as possible and appealing for the freedom of the Syrian people.
Salah Addein Massacre | 22 June 2012
Following prayer on Friday, the Salah Addein neighbourhood residents took to the streets in protests. The largest of the march groups walked from the mosques of Bilal and Al-Nasir Salah Addein.
The protesters marched while chanting slogans condemning the homicides perpetrated against the Syrian people. They demanded the toppling of the Syrian regime and made calls for freedom and dignity for the Syrian people.
Suddenly, four armoured vehicles, affiliated with the regime’s army, arrived and opened machinegun fire at the protesters. They killed eight within the first few minutes, and proceeded to target anyone who tried to aid them. Paramedics and locals confirmed that most of the gunshots were to the head and the chest.
**WARNING: VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES**
Bodies of a father and son who were victims of the massacre. The son is 15 years old, his father was killed as he tried to treat his dying son.
Inkhel Massacre | 21 June 2012
The Syrian regime 15th brigade shelled the city of Inkhel, in the Daraa governorate to the south of Syria, around 5:00 a.m. for three continual hours. The shelling killed six citizens and injured many others. Those critically injured are now in danger as there is a severe medical supplies shortage.
The events of Inkhel followed the pattern of all the earlier massacres. First came random shelling in order to terrorize the residents, then the regime’s army began a land incursion with tanks surrounding the city and armoured vehicles raiding the area using large numbers of infantry, security forces, and snipers.
Next came the house raids during which extra judicial executions were carried out against three citizens. Four others were slaughtered with knives, in a manner similar to the massacres in Idleb and Homs which were duly documented earlier. In addition, snipers stationed in the city killed two and injured at least thirteen others.
Around 10:00 a.m., once the shelling and raids were over, the residents prepared the victims for burial. As the funeral procession was heading to the cemetery, the army and security forces killed three of the mourners. This additional monstrous act was done because the mourning families chanted anti-regime slogans due to the rage they felt over the deaths of their family members. These final killings make the death toll of the massacre stand at 18 victims, including one woman.
Houses are destroyed from the shelling attacks that began the Inkhel massacre.
Douma Massacre | 21 June 2012
In its constant attempts to crush the revolution and its strongholds, the Syrian regime sent dozens of tanks and an estimated 7,000 troops of military reinforcements to the city of Douma, just east of Damascus. The shelling started around 9:00 am and lated until late at night. The city came under shelling from all directions due to the circular position of tanks. Near Mesraba Bridge, in the southern area the city, no less than 25 tanks were stationed. In addition, heavy artillery, positioned a ways from the city, also participated in the shelling. The heavy artillery was positioned inside the vehicles administration department, affiliated with the Syrian army, and near Dahiyet al-Assad bridge, to the west of Douma.
Various types of weaponry and ammunition were used ranging from mortar shells to 1.5 meter-long rockets which helps to explain the large number of casualties and wounded. Thirty-four people were killed in this horrific massacre including three bodies that were completely burned due to artillery shelling. Moreover, no less than 135 were wounded, including nine who were in very critical conditions. Further, a very large exodus was observed in the area, with an estimated 150,000 people fleeing the city. Those residents who remained sought refuge in basements and shelters.
Shelling was concentrated on the neighbourhoods of Al-Masaken, Al-Humeira, the perimeter of the Great Mosque, and even reached the Al-Hijariya neighbourhood.
A state of panic and terror prevailed, particularly among the children, as helicopters hovered over the city. In the meantime, the Syrian government also cut off the water and power supplies as well as all communications. Medical services and supplies were extremely scarce due to the regime’s forces surrounding the city and preventing wounded people from leaving; as well as doctors from entering the city.
We have been able to document 34 victims by collecting their names and filming a video for each victim. The victims include Mohammad Al-Nabulsi, a paramedic of Douma, who was killed while trying to rescue some of the wounded people. Also among the casualties were a young woman and a Palestinian young man.
Muhammad Ahmad al-Nabulsi, a paramedic volunteer. He was killed by a mortar while treating the wounded.
All information and videos contained in this report provided by:
By Ali Al-Bassam
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
ANKARA, Turkey — Thirty-three members of Syria’s military defected into Turkey on Sunday night. They were part of some two hundred people who crossed between the Syrian-Turkish border into the Hatay Province. Turkey’s state-run Andalou news agency said the group included a general and two colonels, but a government official claimed that there was no general among the group, only three colonels. Despite this, the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not know the overall number of those who crossed into Turkey. Andalou also reported that the group of defectors was placed in a refugee camp in Hatay. Turkey now hosts 33,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed into the country since the revolt against Al-Assad began 16 months ago.
The recent defections have increased the number of generals within Turkey since the revolution began to thirteen. The generals now give logistical support to the Free Syrian Army, even though Turkey denies that they are arming the rebels. Thousands of soldiers have also abandoned the Syrian regime, but most of them are low-level conscripts. So far, there is no evidence that their defections have negatively affected the Syrian military’s ability to fight.
Two days prior to the defections, a Turkish aircraft was shot down by Syrian forces who claim that it had violated their airspace. Bulent Arinc, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, said that “all options are on the table” for Turkey’s response. Earlier on Monday, Jihad Makdissi, Syria’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said that “[t]he Turkish warplane violated Syrian airspace, and in turn Syrian air defences fired back and the plane crashed inside Syrian territorial waters.” Turkey claims that the plane was in international airspace, and that the plane was on a training flight to test Turkey’s radar capabilities. Turkey also insists that it was not spying on Syria.
Turkey has summoned a meeting with NATO for Tuesday to agree on a response to the downing of its aircraft. European Union members in Luxembourg requested a calm response from Turkey, saying that they would increase pressure on Assad. On Monday, EU spokesman Maja Kocijanci said that the EU decided to add another Syrian official and six firms and government institutions to its sanctions list, which already includes 120 individuals and nearly 50 entities.
Analysts believe it is unlikely that Turkey will take immediate military action against Syria. Cagri Erhan, a professor of political science at Ankara University, said “I don’t think Turkey’s response will be a military one. War is not one of the options. Turkey will act in line with measures taken within NATO.”
“I’m not of the opinion that Turkey will immediately respond militarily,” agreed Beril Dedeoglu of Galatasaray University. “But if there is another action, then there will certainly be a military response, there is no doubt.”
For further information, please see:
Anadolu Agency — Thirty-three Syrian Army Defectors Fled to Turkey — 25 June 2012
Al Jazeera — Turkish Cabinet Meets to Discuss Syria Crisis — 25 June 2012
BBC News — Syria General and two Colonels ‘Defect to Turkey’ — 25 June 2012
Gulf News — 33 Syria Military Members Defect to Turkey — 25 June 2012
Reuters — Syrian Officers Defect, Turkey Looks to NATO — 25 June 2012
A video showing the Joret Ash-Shayah neighborhood of Homs. It has been completely destroyed due to attacks by the regime forces.
**WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES**
After a shelling and raid campaign residents of Inkhel took to the streets in anger for the 15 victims killed. The regime’s army and security forces targeted the protestors, killing another 3 citizens.
Regime forces are placed all around towns in order to stifle the movement of citizens.
70 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Monday, 25 June 2012.
Deir Ezzor: 11
Damascus and Rural Damascus: 11
90 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Sunday, 24 June 2012.
Deir Ezzor: 28
Damascus and Rural Damascus: 9
102 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Saturday, 23 June 2012.
Damascus and Rural Damascus: 27
Deir Ezzor 25
MR. ROSE: Why did they do that? Why do they take Russia’s lead?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think both Russia and China have a very strong aversion to interference in internal affairs.
MR. ROSE: Sovereignty issue.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
SECRETARY BAKER: Yeah.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And so for the Russians, we – I was with President Obama in Mexico two days ago. We had a two-hour meeting with President Putin. They’re just – they don’t want anything to do with it. They find it quite threatening, and basically they reject it out of hand. So anything that smacks of interference for the Russians and for the Chinese, they presume against. There are other reasons, but that’s the principal objection that they make.
MR. ROSE: Would coming – both different countries and different points, but they somehow come together on these issues – Syria and with respect to Russia and the role they are playing.
SECRETARY BAKER: Yeah, yeah.
MR. ROSE: And the role that the United States is playing and the role that the region can play. What should we be doing and what is the risk of not doing?
SECRETARY BAKER: Well, I’ll answer that in just a minute. But first let me say if we’re going to have differences with Russia – and we do have some differences with Russia – it seems to me the most important difference we might have is with respect to Iran. And we don’t have that now, and that’s really important. And I don’t think we ought to create a problem with Russia vis-a-vis what we want to do in Iran about their nuclear ambitions as a result of something we might do in Syria. I just think the Iranian issue there is far more important really than how we resolve the Syrian issue.
How should we resolve the Syrian issue? I think we should continue to support a political transition in the government in Syria. But I don’t – but I think we ought to support it diplomatically, politically, and economically in every way that we can, but we should be very leery, extremely leery, about being drawn in to any kind of a military confrontation or exercise.
MR. ROSE: Does that include supplying them with arms?
SECRETARY BAKER: That – well, that’s a slippery slope. The fact of the matter is a lot of our allies are already supplying them with arms. Okay? It’s not something –
MR. ROSE: And our friends in the region.
SECRETARY BAKER: Well, I say our allies in the region. Yeah, they’re doing it. And it’s not something we have to do. I look at Syria and I think why are we not calling for something that we – this is – it may not be the right comparison, but in 1989, when we came into office, the wars in Central America were the holy grail of the left, political left in this country, and the holy grail of the political right in this country. We said if we can take these wars out of domestic politics, we can cure the foreign policy problem, and we did.
How did we do it? We put it to both parties – Daniel Ortega, the hardline, authoritarian dictator, if you will, in Nicaragua, and to Violeta Chamorro, the opposition candidate. We said if you’ll hold an election and both agree to abide by the results, that’s the way we’ll get out of this conundrum. That’s what happened. And both of them did agree, finally, to abide by the results. Ortega lost. President Carter was very instrumental in getting him to leave office. Why don’t we try something like that in Syria, I mean, and say look, political transition is what we’re looking for. Everybody – even the Russians, I think – would have difficulty saying no, we’re not going to go for an election, particularly if you let Bashar run. Let him run. Make sure you have a lot of observers in there. Make sure they can’t fix the election. Why not try that?
MR. ROSE: Why not try that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, actually, that is the path that we are trying. And I spoke with Kofi Annan again today. He is working on a political transition roadmap. We are somewhat disadvantaged by the fact that I think Assad still believes he can crush what he considers to be an illegitimate rebellion against his authority and characterizes everyone who opposes him as a terrorist who is supported by foreign interests. He’s not yet at the point where he understands his legitimacy is gone and he is on a downward slope.
The other problem we have is that the opposition has not yet congealed around a figure or even a group that can command the respect and attention internally within Syria as well as internationally. So what we’re doing is, number one, putting more economic pressure, because that is important, and the sanctions and trying to cut off the Syrian regime, and send a message to the Syrian business class, which so far has stuck with Assad.
We’re also working very hard to try to prop up and better organize the opposition. We’ve spent a lot of time on that. It still is a work in progress. We are also pushing hard on having Kofi Annan lay down a political transition roadmap and then getting a group of nations, that would include Russia, in a working group to try to sell that to both the Assad regime and to the opposition .
So, I mean, the path forward is exactly as Jim has described it. Getting the people and the interests on that path has been what we’ve been working on now for several months.
MR. ROSE: Who would be in that group other than the United States, Russia? Who else?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you would have to have the Arab League because Kofi Annan is a joint envoy of both the UN and the Arab League. You would have to have the permanent members of the Security Council because that’s who he represents in his UN role. And you’d have to have the neighbors. You’ve got to have Turkey involved because of their long border and their very clear interests. But when I spoke with him today, he’s going to be making another proposal to the Russians, the Turks, and other interested groups to try to get them to agree on this roadmap and then a meeting, in effect to go public with it, so that we can increase the pressure not only on the Assad regime but on the opposition as well.
MR. ROSE: Is there a role for Iran?
SECRETARY CLINTON: At this point, it would be very difficult for Iran to be initially involved. I mean, I’m a big believer in talking to people when you can and trying to solve problems when you can. But right now, we’re focused on dealing with Iran and the nuclear portfolio. That has to be our focus. Iran’s always trying to get us to talk about anything else except their nuclear program.
And then we also have the added problem that Iran is not just supporting Assad, they are helping him to devise and execute the very plans that he is following to suppress, oppress the opposition.
SECRETARY BAKER: If you get the – you’re going to get the attention of the Russians and the Chinese, in my view, in the Security Council if you come with some sort of a proposal for a political transition that might involve an election, if you’re willing to say anybody and everybody can run. That means, of course, you got to make sure that the election is not fixed. But that would put a lot of pressure – the only reason I mention this, it seems to be that would put a lot of pressure on the Russians to support this idea.
With respect to Iran, I agree with the Secretary. This is not the place to involve them. However, I would think there might be a place for them in a group with respect to Afghanistan. They helped us when we first went in there. We talked to them. They were helpful.