I yet again am lost in words as none are worthy to describe what has been happening across Syria for the past 2 weeks.
The massacres have become daily, committed not just in my city Homs, in Daraa, or in Idlib, but extended all the way to Damascus and Aleppo. The number of innocent civilians being murdered every single day is just astounding. The way the world has left us to have over 100 martyrs daily for the past 2 weeks is beyond atrocious and barely plausible to me. I still cannot believe that the international community is negotiating about whether or not to proceed with the political solution to resolve the Syria “crisis”, whether or not to stay on with Annan’s plan who himself resigned from the mission thanks to his pitiable failure, whether or not we get armed and resist the probability of being your next Breaking News for the day… No one has the right whatsoever to consent or rebuff the mean of resistance my people chose. We have been subjected to all types of heavy weaponry, including warplanes and Meg 23s. Our cities are besieged. No baby milk, no electricity, no water, no diesel, no provisions, no asylums, no medical aid, no money, no jobs, no cars… Nothing has been left and yet armchair politicians and international powers flaunt their “pressure and sanctions” imposed on the Assad regime.
Two weeks ago and up till now, mass executions have become daily. Civilians are being kidnapped from their own houses, taken to farmlands or to security branches, tortured, then extrajudicially executed, either by gunfire or by knives. Other massacres were committed as the regime’s militias deliberately targeted gatherings of civilians by mortars or shells, thus most of them get horrifically mutilated and become nearly impossible to identify. The regime’s militias’ helicopters have also targeted displaced civilians fleeing to other areas because of the indiscriminate bombardment targeting their own towns/districts, like what has happened in Deir Al Zor on the 29th ofJuly.
As these women and children were trying to escape their houses as a group and to head to some safe area, the regime’s militias directly shelled them, shredding the toddlers and their mothers into flesh and burning some of the corpses as well, including toddlers aged not more than a year or so. Their corpses have stiffened for civilians and activists found excruciating difficulties trying to reach them as they are directly aimed at as well, be it by snipers or by regime’s forces’ tanks. The cameraman, as he approached each corpse, chocked by the suffocating smell of the nearly decomposed bodies. [The death toll on 29th of July, according the Syrian Revolution General Commission, was 135, amongst them 9 women and 6 children].
I cannot but pause a moment and compare photos of the burnt children in the footage and photos of the medic holding a similarly burnt child in Gaza back in 2009 during the OCL. But, comparing the “rage and condemnations” the Arab counties have showed back then and the way this massacre and the footage were not even aired on channels because of having “horrific” contents surely unravels enough hypocrisy.
On the same day (29th of July), a massacre was committed in Mua’dameyat Al Sham in Damascus’s suburbs. After the regime’s forces invaded the area as they extensively bombarded it by mortars and tanks throughout the day, they carried out mass executions, killing 11 people, some of them are women but their bodies were not filmed. In this video, 7 bodies are seen, laid beside each other as they were either executed by gunfire or stabbed by knives. The 2 bodies covered with the clothe seemingly are women since they are wearing long robes. Overall, because of the bombardment and the mass executions, 50 civilians were killed in Mua’dameyat Al Sham on the 29th.
On the 1st of August, the scenario of mass executions similar to those in Al Houleh and Al Qubair occurred again in Jdedet Artouz in Damascus’s suburbs. After the regime’s forces invaded the town, they took some men, videotaped them for the Syrian TV, then executed them along with others in a small square (shown in the photos). Other martyrs were found in fields, as shown in the video below. Around 28 civilians were executed that day, but the death toll in way higher since there are at least 8 civilians who were killed by the bombardment and during the invasion into the area. [The death toll on the 1st of August, according to the Syrian Revolution General Commission, was 128, amongst them 5 children and 7 women].
As massacres have become daily, not a single word of condemnation was uttered by any government or human rights organization whatsoever. Ironically, Human Rights Watch and other HR activists discussed how “appalling” the video of the execution of Al Berri family was in Aleppo, which took place on the 31st of July. Al Berri family is an extremely notorious family that usually funds Shabiha (thugs) and commit the crimes themselves in Aleppo city. They are responsible of the suppression of many protests and to the kidnapping and killing of civilians indiscriminately. The Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, after capturing members of this family, took them to the street, made them stand on the wall, and emptied their pistols in their bodies. The 4 men driven outside then executed by the FSA were criminals, but the HR organizations instantly condemned these “atrocious acts” and completely neglected that a few KMs away, Jdedet Artouz had 50 civilians executed by the regime’s security and Shabiha (thugs) forces for no reason whatsoever. Whether one thinks the killing of Al Berri family is right or not, the killer must be killed, and Al Berri were murders; however, I definitely am against both the severity and revengeful feelings that were merged with their execution and against filming it as well. The faces of the fallen in Jdedet Artouz were not numbers. They are lives. Here are some of their photos. [More photos of the martyrs, those executed and those killed by the shelling and during the invasion, can be found here ]
On the 2nd of August, more massacres were committed but eyes were all on Al Yarmouk camp in Damascus. Note that the camp has been under attack for the past 2 weeks or so as the regime’s militias continue to indiscriminately bombard it by mortars and tanks whilst helicopters keep hovering over the area. Just a short while before evening prayers, 2 mortar bombs fell on the area, leading to the instant martyrdom of more than 5 civilians (the death toll is way higher, but this is according to the names documented) and to the injury of up to 60. According to some recounts, the second mortar bomb fell on the spot where the first mortar bomb fell, right after the civilians began to gather to see what has happened. [The death toll on the 2nd of August, according to the Syrian Revolution General Commission, is 121, amongst them 3 women, 12 children, and 2 defected soldiers).
All these massacres did not gain enough media attention because they occurred along with other massacres on the same day. Nevertheless, Human Rights organizations cannot be absolved as it is their duty to document such war crimes and to condemn each and every one of them even if such atrocities occur daily. The 3rd and 4th of August witnessed the occurrence of more mass executions carried out by loyalists and Shabiha (thugs) in several districts in Damascus, including Al Tadamun and Al Qaboun districts, and in several others provinces as well.
Despite the condemnations the Free Syrian Army brigades received, they, along with the daily protests and civil movements made by civilians, are the ones who will topple Bashar Al Assad’s regime. No FSA brigade will seriously take any condemnation addressed to it since the soldiers themselves have been forced by both the silence and ignorance of the Arab and international communities to engage in this war with the regime’s forces. Syrians on ground have waited much, watching communiques and UN meetings, in order for them to get a glimpse of hope that those “friends” will extend their hands in help. The people were let down every single time; therefore, they must not be blamed. Again, Syrians are neither asking for sympathy not asking for condemnations solely; the people want actions.