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):
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
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
Those wounded by the shelling
Those wounded by rocket fire and the awful conditions
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
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.