Warning

Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

How Terrorists were Given Al-Houla in Response to Their Massacre There

Marking Six Years Since the "Houla Massacre" in Taldou
May 23-24, 2018

Al-Houla: At Last! Liberated, or Lost, Depending...
I've been swamped and bottlenecked lately, but this year especially I must pause and leave that clogged. It's time to mark the 6th anniversary of the infamous Houla Massacre. That event on May 25, 2012, is what caught my attention to start studying events in Syria, inspiring me to suggest a collaborative research website. My ally "CE" set up the wiki-format site A Closer Look On Syria in June, 2012. She and I and Petri Krohn (the first 3 core members) focused on the Houla Massacre heavily, besides other things, and soon developed an unusual mastery of the evidence most people barely knew.

Every year since, I've marked the anniversary in some way, at first with detailed PDF reports in 2013 and 2014 (see last year's commemoration with a summary of the previous ones if curious). Mostly these have repeated the same message in different ways. But year six is different. For the first time since mid-2012, Al-Houla is back under government control, as of about a week ago. Here's the Houla-Rastan pocket as it stood April 18 (Peto Lucem map), at the start of the SAA operation to close it. A month later, the effort was complete. All green is now gone, and all orange lines of contest have fizzled away. The Houla area is the north-south strip at the west edge of this pocket, containing Tal Dahab, Kafr Laha, and Taldou.


Shortcut for news; from ACLOS's well-maintained Syria News feed (and I don't even do any of that! except sometimes - should more):

16 May. Syrian flags are raised in Rastan and Talbiseh after the evacuation process in the east and center of the Rastan pocket has successfully been completed (map). According to later reports, the western part of the pocket around the Houla plains is also already in government hands, which would make the Rastan pocket history. The so-called Houla massacre of May 2012 was the event that led to the creation of this wiki, so seeing that place out of "rebel" hands for the first time in six years certainly is something that inspires our curiosity.
http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Houla_massacre

18 May: According to SANA National Flag hoisted over Aqrab town in Hama countryside

19 May: SANA publishes images allegedly showing locals greeting the army in the towns of the Houla plains. Technicians are repairing the former pocket's power grid.

One of the photos:


Not everybody's happy. For example:
https://twitter.com/VivaRevolt/status/996753905320169472
تحيا الثورة أنقذوا درعا
@VivaRevolt May 16
Also,another painful aspect of this lost,is that Al-Houla and its villages will go back to Regime control,these villages witnessed the most sectarian-motivated and barbaric massacre ever witnessed,the Houla Massacre,the regime will desecrate the area and begin fabrications

There were worse one, but point taken. Indeed, fresh stories may emerge now. But fabrications about the Houla massacre date back to the event itself, though opinions differ on which set of witnesses was making it up.

May 25: Houla FSA Breaks Into Taldou
Of course I've been trying to fight what I see as the lies since the start. Let's start with one place I was able to bring a little improvement to was at the Houla Massacre Wikipedia article, background section anyway. This had cited Al-Jazeera to explain how Al-Houla was a singular rebel-held Sunni "town" that was attacked by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) on May 25, chasing out the FSA defenders prior to the massacre committed by local Alawite "Shabiha." I corrected this part a year or two ago, and now... it remains pretty fair or even unchanged (bolding added here):

Background
Al-Houla is an area mainly comprising three towns named, as given north-to-south in the UN's June report, Tal Addahab, Kafr Laha and Taldou. They report the towns have a combined population of more than 100,000 "of which the majority is Sunni Muslim," but are "ringed by Shia villages to the southeast, and Alawi villages to the southwest and the north."

(adding here: a graphic for that)

Houla was a regular protest hub, even before army defectors formed the Free Syrian Army. The Syrian army had been accused of raiding and killing protesters in the Houla region before. But by May, 2012 FSA or allied rebels were in general control of the area, according to both pro-government (acceptable citation needed) and anti-government sources. Der Spiegel was told over the winter "a unit of the Free Syrian Army took up residence (in Houla) and it has been considered liberated since then" although the state's army still controlled "roads into the town." [29] The UN's investigators only really considered Taldou, the southernmost town in Houla, and found "opposition forces may have been in control of parts of the city, mostly in the north." [26]

According to Al Jazeera's correspondent Hadi al-Abdallah, this FSA control of Houla is why the Syrian Army was unable to enter on May 25, and had to shell it from a distance prior to the massacre.[20] However, the UN's June report noted "Government forces are present in Al-Houla" with "fortified checkpoints" they show on an attached map. This shows only the south end of Taldou, between rebel-held Houla and the Alawi and Shia villages. All the reported massacre sites, also labeled on that map, are in this immediate area of Taldou.[26]
---
Cited here and below: UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) reports (June, 2012 interim report - August final report )

So, a twist few people ever learned of; the massacre happened in an area the army already controlled. They wouldn't need to shell it in order to gain access.

I need to add (or re-add?) this important part about the CoI's findings: two of those five security posts were militarily overrun in a FSA/Islamist offensive on May 25. Their first report heard of a protest that came under shelling attack, and decided vaguely: “Either in retaliation, or in a premeditated attack, anti-Government armed groups, including the FSA present in Taldou, fired upon the security forces checkpoints, probably overrunning one or two of them. Several people were killed in these clashes or as a result of the shelling...” This includes some rebel fighters, and some 5 or 6 soldiers at least were killed, with an unclear number of others captured. But the investigators seem to feel the government wound up on top and did the massacre anyway.

Upon review of the evidence, "probably overrunning one or two" posts means almost surely taking out two of them - and this is an "at least" number, not "at most." The CoI “determined that the clocktower checkpoint was overrun at some point” in the day. (p.10) They didn't go into detail, but a witness says he FSA fully neutralized it around 7:00 PM, but the post was distracted by attacks and bypassed earlier, around 2 P.M.. Video of the scene later shows the place scarred with gunfire, with abandoned military vehicles and sandbagged positions. It would have been no small feat to overrun this. But as The map at the end of the CoI's June report says, it was "overrun by anti-gov't forces."

Later videos show some of the fighting in a mysterious, undated "battle to liberate freedom circle," which this central roundabout came to be called after May 25. It seems that battle was on this day, and is the offensive the CoI refers to, and the videos were delayed in their release just to make the date less obvious. 

Further south down Taldou's Main Street is the secured military intelligence headquarters (MIHQ). The map at the end of the UN CoI's June report has this labeled “Military Intelligence Post (likely overrun by anti-gov't forces).”  They acknowledge in the report a “new front line” that was only “north of the (Qaws) checkpoint,” not clearly at MIHQ. In videos, we see burned building, burned military vehicles out front, and anti-Assad graffiti by the day after. It was clearly overrun, and FSA would have access halfway down main street, at least (see map below).

The investigators decided ultimately that this was all a coincidence, but here's the situation as they would put it (my map based on theirs and other info). The northern majority of town was already FSA-held, and by sometime on May 25 the white posts were knocked out, with dependent areas now open to them; Saad Road especially where the bulk of victims lived.

Orange posts, the investigators decided, still blocked their way as possible, shielding the Sayed families. The Water co. base with heavy wepons and elevation, could shell targets anywhere below, but would be a bit too crude to halt foot soldiers running house-to house. Army snipers at the hospital would likely stop rebels from killing anyone on Saad Road, the Commission reasoned.

In fact, the government's continued control of this part of the "rebel-held town" was key to their finding  “reasonable basis to believe that the perpetrators (of the massacre)... were aligned to the Government.”  (p.67) It seemed unlikely anyone else could gain access.

And the army or Shabiha also might have gotten around the suddenly-rebel-controlled majority of town to kill the Abdulrazaq families over on Saad Road. In fact, they must have, presumably on foot across the fields (the creek would be fairly low...). Because after all, who else but the proven killers over on army-controlled Main Street would be going around killing whole families? I hope we can see how poor this reasoning is at inspiring confidence. Most of those relying on the CoI as the final word never even bother to dig into the mechanics like this.

What the UN investigators missed was the evidence that the two other posts on Main Street were also either overrun or circumvented as a consequence of the rebel-initiated conflict of May 25. The one that matters most is the National Hospital, with those snipers helping secure the area. But between video evidence and credible accounts (those in agreement with the video), it seem like someone suddenly changed the management there and set the hospital on fire around sunset on May 25. The best explanation of that is still this 2014 report:

The Battle for the Houla Massacre: the video evidence explained, and the rest re-considered
(I'm open to relevant challenges at this debate spot, or this on-site mirror, or wherever, so long as I'm made aware, I'll check any attempted counter-argument for relevance and accuracy. No takers yet. The challenge has been up for about four years.)

With flawed reasoning (as explained throughout my report, and sharply summarized on p 56/57), the CoI decided the army held this area on Main Street the FSA never quite got to. They half-acknowledge the FSA had control up to the MIHQ, and after that, the nearby mobile post at the qaws (arches) "demarcated the new front line between the opposition and Government forces." (p.66)

This post seems to usually consist of a pickup truck with soldiers in it parked on the side of the street at the arches marking the old city entrance. It's not even clear if it was manned 24/7. Mobile “front lines” are problematic, having the option to simply move out of the way if it became clear they couldn't hold their position. the CoI had acknowledged on its map "Qaws (mobile - maybe further south)." That is, for all they know, the soldiers may have pulled back some distance under the assault. They could retreat about 120 meters and take a new position at the Sayed family's front door, or further yet. No alleged witnesses say what happened here; these soldiers may have retreated at some point, could be among those killed or captured, or they may have held out. Then, perhaps they halted any advance to the south, or perhaps they were circumvented.  

But here's some evidence the arches were gotten through or around, one way or another; the National Hospital seems to be at least partly on fire by sunset. Something on that line of sight is billowing black smoke, apparently just for a few moments so far. It does seem the qaws post is active at this time, however, and shooting back at the FSA attackers (see below).

Ambassador Jaafari at least reported the terrorists had attacked and burned the hospital in their offensive (see here 5:00, but confused about "another village" - other witnesses report the hospital's burning and perhaps a massacre there, or at least the killing of a soldier believed to be a non-Sunni. A SANA animation ACLOS looked at showed attackers driving down the hill from the east, apparently as the Water Co. base on the hill was distracted, and it was they who attacked the hospital, entirely south of the arches post.

Anyway, the army post at the hospital apparently didn't hold. The massacre site across the street would be just as wide open. Here, a government-supporting former policeman Muawiya al-Sayed lived. He was killed alongside his adult son and 8-year-old daughter. The son was an army soldier on leave with a broken leg. The killers gouged his eyes out. (it's alleged the Shabiha targetde these al-Sayeds just for being Sunnis and the father's extremely Sunni name. There is backstory to why Shia dislike the name Muawiya, but as a reason the massacre a loyal family, it really pales. 

Some alleged army shelling was shown on video, but it's mostly vague, and could be part of the FSA offensive. The only time we can see where any of the shelling is coming from, it's clearly that. This guy in the activist crowd carries an RPG launcher, and goes ignored as he fires 3+ shells, very loudly, at something off-frame.  (analysis video) ... all in an area of free rebel access on northern Saad Road (B on the map above), south of the overrun clocktower post (just now liberated "freedom circle"). It's about 6:15 pm by solar angles, claimed as May 25 and posted that day as evidence of the massacre, and widely-cited as such. It was maybe the best video of the "shelling" they published at the time.

Activists here ignore the man firing weapons as they load the bodies of four men into a van that drives south; the Abdulrazaq family was being slaughtered a ways south on this unprotected street around then or earlier, and those same 4 bodies are shown later amongst the Abdulrazaq family victims. This all proves mobile opposition access in this whole area, something the UN's CoI dithered over and finally decided against. 

Some bullets can be seen flying from the mobile post near the arches at sunset. But these come in response to protesters with AK-47s firing at them from behind this corner. it's 170 meters north of the Qaws, and just down and across the street from MIHQ, which is clearly no threat to the gunmen (that is, it's been overrun). This is the same video where we can see the hospital burning further south behind the qaws. So either they were gotten around, or this is a staged scene where rebels shoot at each other to fake such resistance. (this is also a June-posted video, but again, it's from the "freedom circle" battle.)  

But it could be the soldiers at the qaws held out, or this truck was intentionally left intact as a security post. If it were just distracted with defense, as they would be per that video, some other guys could have snuck on foot far around it, moving south. Armed with guns and knives, they could easily overcome the defenses at the Al-Sayed family homes and slaughter the people.

They might leave the bodies if they came on foot, but it seems likely attackers in vehicles were in the area, assaulting the hospital at least. Maybe they would opt to leave the bodies anyway, as proof the government had control, and must have done it. Whatever the reason, while rebels did recover most bodies, at the Abdulrazaq sites and other scattered locales, the Al-Sayeds were left behind and filmed by SANA in the morning as victims of the terrorist massacre (at right, two head-shot sons of Aref al-Sayed, - brothers, allegedly, of fake miracle survivor Ali al-Sayed - UNSMIS investigators sided with the opposition claims, helped some activists claiming to be family load these 7 bodies in the morning and take them to the anonymous mass grave in the north of Taldou).

Standing Up for Rebel-Held Al-Houla

In a news video for ITV/CNN (YouTube) Alex Thomson reports from Taldou with Syrian troops, apparently on May 27, at spots on Main Street that were government-secured on the 24th. Now, as Thomson notes, they SAA are here but not in control, and are in fact "very scared." They get pinned down under sniper fire, taking cover as they can. One had been shot and carried away; we're shown his fresh blood on the pavement. An old man recently executed by somebody is shown, mostly covered with a blanket. Two frames at right: first moving in behind a tank, well south of the arches (visible up the street), later from the burned-out APCs at MIHQ (see map above)

This is the Syrian Army clawing to re-gain control of Taldou. All signs suggest they lost control on 25 May. But as we know, the world community was told a different story at the time.

Al-Jazeera first reported on at least 90 killed in "Houla, a town ... after government forces tried to break into the town." But later we'd learn the army was already in control of the killing sites, that control in fact being central to the UN investigators. In fact it was the FSA that tried to break in. BBC news reported "according to activists and eyewitnesses interviewed by the BBC, other media and human rights groups, army shelling paved the way for a concerted ground attack by the shabiha." The way didn't need paved. It was nice and smooth already. All the violence of that day just made the pavement in their controlled area covered in rubble, and partially rebel-held.

The UN Security Council seemed to be missing some details as well, declaring the massacre "involved a series of government artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighborhood" and they "again demanded that President Bashar al-Assad withdraw heavy weapons from Syrian towns." (VoA News) The massacre part was less uniformly condemned; Russia and China seemed to think the FSA or allies had perhaps done it, despite the government shelling. Western and allied nations were clear the shelling proved government guilt for itself and anything that followed. US "Ambassador" Robert Ford called the massacre "the most unambiguous indictment of the regime to date," based mainly on its coming "after the vicious assault involving tanks and artillery – weapons that only the regime possesses."

But the UN CoI's consulted experts felt the damage looked like "heavy mortars, heavy machine guns or light artillery," with nothing about heavy artillery or tanks or Scud missiles. Larger mortars, RPGs, and maybe heavy anti-aircraft guns mounted on trucks, which attacking rebels would likely have, reportedly had, or were seen using, could explain all of the heaviest damage seen. 

My first Houla debunk was of a desperate effort by the BBC to prove heavy artillery was involved. It was this easy:

Nothing about the damage proves it was something only the government had at the time. It's down to verbal claims and considerations of motive, etc. 

And what apparently was unclear to the Security Council, Russians included, is the "residential neighborhood" that mattered was under government control to start with. Why would they shell their own wards, at the same time as a rebel offensive on that same area, which the Security Council seemingly ignored? There's still no good answer to this question. And much of that damage was to security posts which they ... must have shelled on accident? 

So ... the world tells Syria Houla is hands-off - leave that FSA-held Sunni village alone. As they moved to underwrite their permanent lease, they didn't seem to realize the Islamist fighters had just seized that last bloody part of Houla. Those in charge of Taldou were best placed to launch the massacre there. Did they realize how likely it was they were rewarding the perpetrators, rather than holding them to account as they insisted was their main goal?

Syria could have ignored these insane demands, but it was maybe too big a pain anyway to reclaim and hold even half of Taldou, so long as Houla in general was run by the terrorists. So the government let it go. The exact details are still unclear to me - maybe they re-claimed the hospital, etc. I'm sure the hilltop "Water co." base remained, along with checkpoints forming a ring around southern Taldou, still protecting the Alawi and Shia villages from raids by the Sunni extremists running wild over Houla.

In December, 2012, Houla rebels broke the northerm cordon, and conquered Aqrab, adding that to their holdings, and cleansing the town's Alawite district with warning and then a massacre, a mass-kidnapping of 500 remaining civilians, and perhaps another massacre of many of these, which rebels blamed weakly on Shabiha and the army (ACLOS: Aqrab Massacre). Alex Thomson came back to the area to report for Channel 4 News, and he was not convinced by the story the Houla rebels told. Either way, the army was gone and the FSA in charge, and so it became 'hands off the Sunni rebel town of Aqrab' as well, but this time with no massacre verified to condemn anyone over.

But after this, that's about how it was until the recent liberation of the area nearly six years later. The danger was contained to a certain area - one this danger had no right to, but which outside powers conspired to help it secure.

Re-Considering Who Were the Original Fabricators
Most of what the world thought it knew about the Houla Massacre came from opposition-supplied alleged witnesses and miracle survivors - an awful lot of them, with often silly stories full of conflicting details. There was always another class of witnesses that denied that story in some detail, but they were telling fabrications, most people decided. These spoke on SANA news, to Abkhazian ANNA News and the late Marat Musin, to UNSMIS monitors, and to other media, investigators, and activists (overview at ACLOS).

These people all claimed Taldou was largely secured by the government up to that day, and had been mostly peaceful until it came under attack that afternoon by heavily-armed "terrorists". These forces included some 6-800 men from Houla, Rastan, and further off, even from overseas. The FSA' notorious Farouq Brigade was specified as involved, and many believed Al-Qaeda's nascent Al-Nusra Front was too. Syria's UN representative Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari called it “a full-fledged military operation planned in advance,” coming in waves over nine hours, blazing through with “pickup cars loaded with heavy weapons […] the Libyan way you saw a couple months ago.” 



A pro-government witness - "Arifah" as we at ACLOS dubbed her (top) - told SANA via ANNA how terrorists fired on the clocktower (aka roundabout) army post and/or Baath Party headquarters in central Taldou (see map above).  She says this started around 1 or 2 pm and ran for a while. They fired from the northwest - with a mortar and then heavy machine guns, in what seems a distraction to allow terrorists to move down Saad road. (note: she doesn't seem to have witnessed all this personally, but is mixing what little she saw with things she learned - or was told to say, whatever).



Below her is a scene from a video of Arabad Bin Souriyeh battalion fighters, firing a larger caliber machine gun (not quite the "heavy" the CoI referred to)  southeast, towards just those targets from a nearby alley to the northwest (clearly geo-located). It's about 1:25 pm by sunlight angles. The one firing here takes return fire from the army, hitting him in the belly, and he's carried away. (see 2014 report, exhibit A.3 and Note: times given in the 2014 report were calculated wrong, given as one hour ahead, so this is said to be 2:25 pm. Apologies.)


This video was posted weeks later, but is described as from the battalion's "battle to liberate freedom circle" (the roundabout army post). So it's almost certainly May 25, the only known time that was "liberated." (see 2014 report, the June Videos issue.) And if this is another day, it's one where just what "Arifah" describes unfolded at the same time of the day. And she didn't fit her story to the video - it was first posted June 23, and the ANNA News interviews were published June 3. 


Collectively, these other class of witnesses have claimed the victorious terrorists killed Sunnis who supported the government, and more yet who had converted to Shia Islam. Then they snatched away the bodies to make videos using them as evidence for false claims. This was all shrugged off of course. We all just knew what happened in the Sunni village of Houla - the guys with the bodies had explained it all. Ambassadors were expelled, sanctions placed, and aid to the protesters increased over the story they told about the Army invasion of the Sunni town of al-Houla.


But it turns out logic, the video record, etc. agrees with SANA/ANNA witnesses, who described the day's fighting fairly well, whereas those reporting a Shabiha massacre don't mention the "freedom circle" battle at all - just unprovoked army shelling seemingly swapped in to replace it. The others explain, with some claimed evidence, that the terrorists just coached their family members to play witnesses to the foreign media. This can hardly ever be proven, but in fact that sounds exactly right, having analyzed what several dozen miracle survivors say. Some of them can't even keep a straight face as they tell their story, and others might be grinning like mad under their Islamist veils.


For Ali (3rd row left and right), wow ... see "Fight for us" and other things Ali said. He was and remains the star witness for the whole thing. He can remember a LIST of his alleged family member's names, but not WHO each name attaches to (father, brother, and uncles). He has a lot of other continuity mistakes between the too-many "testimony" sessions he was booked for. But that one really sunk it for me on first sight in June, 2012, just digging a bit and using common sense. 





This FSA guy gives two completely different stories, one where he's not FSA but was innocently near the crime scene, and another where he's FSA but was fa from the scene - other FSA guys who were there gave him all these details he heard. Except the Shabiha walking back to Foulah part, which he and everyone watched - but which no one filmed.  Both accounts were given to Der Spiegel, for the same report. see here.

That's enough for now, right?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bakriyeh Family Deaths

Bakriyeh Family Deaths
May 16-17, 2018

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/syria-family-of-11-clung-together-in-death-9gqmzmdjv
"The entire Bakrieh family in Douma were found in a heap on the bathroom floor," eleven of them exactly, all dying together after failing to stop the chlorine/nerve agent assault by sitting in the bathroom and washing themselves. Their main source is "Abdullah Abu Homam, a local volunteer."
He says “we believe they tried to rinse themselves in vain. Eventually they must have realised it was over so they drew closer together and died." Why they never tried getting away from the toxic fumes is unexplained.

So allegedly, this is pretty much them, the bodies in the washroom, but with no name-to-face IDs offered yet. Most are seen here:

And these three around the corner:


Videos and photos show 12 bodies in the bathroom at the first views. One woman here, being pregnant, is probably the one claimed for another family (allegedly Fatmeh Qarout, married to alleged survivor Khaled Nuseir). Excluding her, we would have 11.

The Douma-based VDC has records listing 11 people with the name Bakriyeh. But most women in Syria keep father's names. The exceptions are exceptionally "modern" and Western-oriented people, and mainly Christians. It doesn't seem to apply here, given the details below. So for this many people, including 3 babies still in diapers, there should be some married people: at least one Bakriyeh man with a wife of her own name, besides the children bearing his, or a Bakriyeh woman married to a guy with another name, and their children with his name, or one of each, etc. To really include the family as a realistic whole, it will have to be more than the 11 listed here. It's unclear how widely these relations carry over into the tally of 35 people at this site - or even to the 6-8 or more from another site. I wouldn't be surprised to learn all of the were related by blood or intermarriage, even at two remote locales. I also wouldn't be surprised if they weren't all related. Maybe there were two or three targeted families...

Anyway... in the order they appear on the VDC's list of 35:
4 Mohammad Tawfeq Bakriyeh - Adult - Male
5 Rateb Bakriyeh - Adult - Male
14 Mohammad Rateb Bakriyeh - Adult - Male (likely son of the same Rateb)
16 Haytham Bakriyeh - Adult - Male
19 Ali Bakriyeh - Adult - Male 
11 Rahaf Bakriyeh - Child - Female
12 Jouri Diab Bakriyeh - Child - Female
13 Hadeel Bakriyeh - Adult - Female
17 Hanadi Bakriyeh - Adult - Female
18 Qamar Diab Bakriyeh - Adult - Female
20 Jouri Bakriyeh - Adult - Female

Note: middle names tend to be the first name of a person's father. Everyone has a middle name, or even two of them, but most just aren't given Why some are isn't totally clear. #12 and 18 should probably be sisters, with a father named Diab. #20 should be a different Jouri, with a different and middle name not given. But it's possibly a double-listing of Jouri Diab, with each version a bit different.

Comparing, it seems the bathroom bodies could be the 11 Bakriyeh entries. 4 males, 5 females, and 2 unclear infants are seen, compared to the VDC's 5 male, 6 female (they have issues with boys and girls listed as adults). Is this a whole family of 11, all named Bakriyeh? Did they really pile themselves here, or were they just dumped and arranged together? Just by name relation, even at the expense of splitting up nuclear families?

First, there's no real guarantee these are the victims' real names. Their true identities seem hard or impossible to prove. But the given names in these records do often prove valid, and as the only thing to go on, we proceed with them and a grain of salt. If this is the real family name of those killed, here's the significance:

The name Bakriyeh translates virgin, and is rendered so in Arabic - بكرية - with no "al" prefix. It's not a common name: VDC lists these 11 and 6 others for a total of 17 killed in the conflict from 2011 to now (Arabic list to avoid transliteration problems). All but one clearly hail from Douma, and the other likely does. The other six (entries rendered back to English):

* 2012-3-23 Fahid Mohammad Dyab Bakrieh 3-23-2012, adult male, age 22, from Douma. Notes: "shot in the heart by a sniper's gunfire"
Video of the killed person (x 2, both now deleted accounts) Videos suggest opposition people somehow got the body, as usual, as with Sari Saoud and others ...
Working video here:
https://www.facebook.com/freesyrian1977/photos/a.240751452634944.57393.230410883669001/354722167904538/?type=3&permPage=1

Note the double middle name suggests his father's name is Mohamed Diab Bakriyeh. He should be in his mid-40's perhaps... Fahid might have an older brother taking the prized name Diab Mohamed Diab Bakriyeh, maybe age 24 or so at this time...

* 2013-05-08 Mayass Ali Bakrieh, adult female, from Heet, Daraa, killed by shelling. "She Was Martyred a result of the shelling of military Air forces of the regime forces With her Husband- wife of the martyr Hani" (chcking, this refers to Hani Saleh Badaweh, whose daughter died too this day - all 3 from Heet). This entry may not connect. But her father would be named Ali, a common first name. A man named Ali Bakriyeh is listed as dying in the April gas massacre. Note she keeps her maiden name upon marriage... considering the rest of these entries, she's likely from Douma to begin with, moving with her husband to Heet.

* 2014-04-04 Mohammad Dyab Bakrieh, adult male, age 46, not married, it says. non-civilian: "FSA" and "Chief of Staff" of whichever formation "FSA" means. Some branches might manage to run afoul of both the state and, say, Jaish al-Islam, the hardcore Sunni extremist faction running Douma since mid-2012. (FSA here means Douma's Martyr's Battalion, which definitely did suffer friction - see below for more detail). It's hardly possible to be FSA and a Christian. He should be a Sunni Muslim. His wife would have a different last name from him, as should his mother and any daughters-in-law. Three photos in military uniform, 2 with weapons, another shown here. 
He died of shooting on April 4, 2014, it says, in "Damascus Suburbs: Mleha." "Martyred during the clashes with the regime`s army forces , called as Abo Fahed Alkhal (uncle)." For what it's worth, he looked like this afterwards:


How can he be Abu anyone (father of) unless he's married? Maybe widowed ... note the guy he's father of is named Fahed, just like the first entry, Fahed with a father named Mohamed Diab Bakriyeh ...   regime already shot his son, maybe they killed his wife too, and he fights on with FSA for 2 years before they got him, 2 years after his son, but shot in a fair fight.

Yet in a total coincidence...

* 2014-04-04 Amjad Diab Bakrieh from Douma was killed by regime shelling the same day. Civilian man, unmarried, age not given. His father should be named Diab, just like the FSA chief of staff. Just by rare names, we could almost presume these men are brothers. But the age difference suggested ... unclear. He may be a much younger brother. Some kind of relative anyway, killed the same day in a different way, by total coincidence. with an image after death provided. wrapped for burial? Still dressed and not washed? If so, not a good sign...

For what it's worth, he has dust and grit or sand on him, if not finer concrete dust.  He's coughed up blood possibly from an internal injury, suggested by a lot of blood from the middle of his wrapped body in one video, but it mainly runs up his face, at least to the eyebrows, with some ambiguous pattern around the eyes ... that part may be coincidence. Maybe it all is. But I can't help but note the similarity to the "mask of death" pattern suffered by possible relatives of his 4 years later ...and how it seems they washed the signs of it off their foreheads (and hair). That seems to involve fluid coughed up that is or becomes caustic (maybe under chlorine gas or similar), burning and staining the skin in different combinations. And the goggle-like clues make more sense than they do here (big goggles holding blood out, while little ones underneath hold some in? and only on one side?) But Amjad here has oddities -forehead seems clear but stained red - blood-covered but wiped off down to the eyebrows? - hair sticks up - perhaps as if it was dirty, and he was hanging upside-down - sand mainly sticks to a certain band, lower face, and right side - not the left side, or the forehead, at least now. Was his face sticky in these areas for some reason? He comes months after the last seen victims in the "Caesar torture photos" but he bears a resemblance to these (as would his relatives later): coughing up fluids across their faces while hanging upside down, after deliberate up-close exposure to a caustic gas that finally killed them.

Points against a gassing death: no sign of foam, mucous (except maybe in the stickiness holding the sand on), no eye damage, gasping, cyanosis ... blood from the nose and not the mouth? That can be from a violent head injury where blood enters the sinuses... it's not likely to be from an inhalation injury or a stomach injury - those both connect to the mouth just as much, and that tends to be the major outlet. (or so I think, from things I've picked up). Perhaps he was dangling upside down, and they whacked him in the skull with a hatchet. And perhaps he died in some kind of explosive attack, by whoever, died face-down, etc.. Conclusion: for now the similarity to the later victims seems to be a strange coincidence. But I'm keeping the file open for good measure.

* 2015-02-09 Ammar Haitham Bakreih, boy, "Martyred due to regime`s army forces shelling" - weird look - red skin, some smoke/burning, wrapped head as if head wounded, thick pink foam, as if breathing through bloody fluids clogging the airways - rather similar to the alleged FAE victims with burned faces linked to the Douma Market attack in August, 2015 -  a clear false-flag event involving many people killed ahead of schedule in some covered-up manner that looks a little bit like the rocket attack it clearly wasn't.  But some of those also had foam from the nose and, as I reasoned there, fire accelerants likely used will have some toxic fumes, and might cause airway damage and subsequent foaming - it's not proof of a chemical weapons-type death. But it is still consistent. His dad would be named Haitham. A man named Haytham Bakriyeh died in the April gas massacre.



* 2017-1-12 shelling Samah Ayman Dyab Bakrieh Mother's Name: Ameera. Age 18, marital status unknown. Her father should be Ayman Dyab Bakrieh - a third son of the same Diab? He should be at least 35-ish, likely in his 40s or even older. Here, he doesn't die, but loses a daughter. No images. Last entry until the 2018 massacre.
---
Among the 11 Bakriyehs gassed on April 7, two females have the middle name Diab, usually meaning it was their father's name. This list agrees Qamar Diab Bakriyeh was an adult female, while Juri Diab Bakriyeh was a child. (another Jouri Bakriyeh has no middle name given, listed as adult - possible double-listing, or a relative, perhaps namesake.)
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1741998372547737&id=111632495584341
a girl and a woman with the same middle name suggests they're sisters on either side of womanhood. Ages, say 19 and 15, so this Diab Bakriyeh would likely be 36+. Even 6 years later, he's probably too old to be the first victim's hypothesized older brother (would be more like 30 now). Unless woman is being counted here at 15, or 13. Then the girls might be 13 and 11, and it would fit fine. But even then, it could be just a coincidence.

Mohamed Diab Bakriyeh, Douma Martyr's Battalion, and Army of Islam
There is some cause for concern here. A few quickly collected sources each shed some light.

http://www.shamtimes.net/news-details.php?id=729
Sunday, April 6, 2014 (via http://www.arab-army.com/t85358p790-topic)
in a major SAA assault on the 4th, opposition forces "lost 55 dead and two of their military commanders, one of them Mohammad Diab Bakkaria, commander of the Duma Martyrs Brigade and (one of) the most prominent leaders of the armed opposition in the eastern Ghouta." Reinforcements came, perhaps a bit too late, "from the most important stronghold of the Army of Islam and Zahran Alloush in the eastern Ghouta, which will be directly threatened if the army took over the militia." On the day commander Bakriyeh died, as we hear it in Mleha, it sounds like Alloush considered this Douma Martyr's Brigade (DMB) an allied force holding the Islamist line. It's possible the "reinforcements" sent actually killed the commander, if they had reason to (like not liking him, and preferring the guy who would replace him). But most logically, he died in the fighting... except that a possible brother or other relative was killed the same day. The usual death rate for Bakriyehs is more like one a year, not two in a day.

And both before and after the DMB commander's death, plenty of signs of friction between the groups, besides that continuous slow picking-off of his kin by regime this and regime that.

https://carnegie-mec.org/diwan/53432?lang=en
Oct. 24, 2013, Aaron Lund on disputes at the time of Alloush's re-branding as Army of Islam and founding a new Islamic Front, in September, 2013. This explains how a Douma Mujahedin Council was formed from several groups in March, 2013 - (app. announcement video, March 1 - Mr. Bakriyeh's son was shot dead about 3 weeks later, for what it's worth) Lund explains "Abu Subhi Taha of the large and well-established Douma Martyrs’ Brigade was appointed president, while Zahran Alloush of the Islam Brigade led the Shoura Council, its politico-religious executive body," a seemingly lesser position. But after this, complaints grew dramatically against Alloush's harsh Islamism and rule by force, including a public conflict with Razan Zaitouneh of the opposition Violations Documentation Center (VDC). Several armed groups who agreed with Zaitouneh soon dissolved the old council;  "On October 13, the new council structure was set up, presumably marginalizing Alloush’s adherents in favor of Abu Subhi Taha and his allies." "Judging by appearances, it was a straighforward coup against the Islam Army leader," Lund wrote. Counter-charges and moves from Alloush and supporters ensued, and louder complaints from activists siding against Alloush came in response.

He said the Islamist movement cannot have two heads (he actually says that later/below, but same idea). Nearly everyone else said "so fall off, already." He moved to chop them off instead. Razan Zaitouneh would be abducted and apparently killed in December, 2013 - never seen again. It's widely believed to be ordered by Alloush. The VDC she helped found would carry on... at this same time, early December, Jaish al-Islam worked with Jabhat al-Nusra, and possibly ISIS, in a raid of nearby Adra, massacring many civilians and kidnapping hundreds of others, along sectarian lines (mainly Alawites and Christians were killed and stolen). Soon the Adra captives and other prisoners were used as salves to help the Army of Islam dig the massive tunnel system beneath much of east Ghouta as they dug in for a long-term occupation, and continued war against the Syrian government, Syria's people, and as needed with other opposition groups as well.

https://english.al-akhbar.com/node/17975
Syria’s Eastern Ghouta: A Chaotic Conflict of Brigades
By: Laith al-Khatib
December 20, 2013
"The list of brigades that dominate Ghouta is seemingly endless. In eastern Ghouta there is the Islam Brigade, later known as the Army of Islam. Jobar is dominated by Haron al-Rashid Battalion, affiliated with al-Habib al-Mustafa Brigade and the Sham al-Rassoul Brigade. Harasta has the Capital’s Armors, Fatah al-Sham, Um al-Qora, and Douma Martyrs Brigades."
Harasta (next to but not Douma) has DMB? Were they not allowed to operate in Douma? Army of Islam started from Douma, but by now was said to be the native force of the whole East Ghouta area (all other areas mentioned are sub-sets of East Ghouta). They were deeply in charge, capable of stopping or steering other groups that might oppose their plans, making them move shop, etc.

"The Army of Islam ...through its huge information database, it can control all operations in eastern Ghouta. “It has critical information about the armed opposition structure and has conducted detailed studies about its members, on top of its information about the state’s security bodies and the regular army,” said a source. These capabilities may prove that the Army of Islam is backed by regional intelligence agencies." The report mentions the group's well-known Saudi support, as well as indirect financial support through Kuwaiti donors, making funds for other groups dependent on their cooperating with Alloush.

In April 2014, Douma Martyr's Brigade is apparently cooperating with and getting reinforcements from Alloush, but losing their top commander. He was replaced by someone.. other things happened, and whatever agreements there were broke down again sometime of the following five months.

Then came the most famous episode of opposition to Alloush and Jaish al-Islam rule, with the brief and sad story of Jaish al-Umma (army of the MUSLIM PEOPLE, as opposed to ISLAM. Sharp point.). Wikipedia:
On 19 September 2014, 10 small rebel groups formed the Jaysh al-Ummah.[1] The leader of Jaysh al-Islam, part of the Islamic Front, Zahran Alloush, condemned the formation by saying that "there cannot be two heads for the same body". This immediately resulted in tensions and sporadic clashes between the two groups.[10]
On 29 September 2014, the leader of Jaysh al-Ummah survived an assassination attempt,[11] but his deputy was killed.[12] On 19 October 2014, a second assassination attempt was made on him. The attack wounded him and killed his son.[12]
On 1 January 2015, the newly formed Lions of Justice Brigade joined the coalition.[5]
On 3 January 2015, two leaders of Jaysh al-Ummah were assassinated by unknown gunmen.[5] The next day, Jaysh al-Islam declared war on Jaysh al-Ummah and captured its leader and seized its headquarters in Douma within a span of 6 hours. It also issued an arrest warrant against the deputy Nizar Khabbini. During the clashes, the Lions of Ghouta Brigade surrendered to Jaysh al-Islam, while 1,500 members of Jaysh al-Ummah were invited to join the ranks of the Islamic Front.[4][8] Majid Khayba, commander of Jaysh al-Ummah's Douma Martyrs Brigade, was also captured.[13] On 1 September 2015, he was executed by Jaysh al-Islam by firing squad.[6]
On 9 March 2015, the remaining fighters of the Jaysh al-Ummah in Eastern Ghouta, alongside al-Anfal Brigade, defected to Syrian government forces.[2]

Douma Marty's Brigade sounds like the most central force in this uprising - the least islamist in nature, or the largest one leaning that way. Top members were killed and arrested, with one from DMB later executed. Only some elements were invited to join them in the Islamist coalition, and these guys weren't pat of it. Those who escaped the purge stopped rebelling at all, and sided with the Syrian government in its fight against the Islamist monster ruling Douma and turthlessly absorbing all opposition. It seems the presumably Saudi intelligence help and other assistance - to such an asshole outfit - made them way too effective and ruthless for their own good. Others he rubbed the wrong way likely helped betray his position well enough that the Syrian air force was able to kill Zahran Alloush and several top commanders on Christmas day, 2015. Jaish al-Islam carried on with its control of East Ghouta until the offensives of early 2018 whittled that down to Douma and then nothing. But Alloush's death seems to mark the start of a long slide from quite a height of power.

And this central opposition group's top commander at one time is the guy killed long after his son, the same day as some relative, before other relatives were picked off by regime-this and regime-that. Were other members perhaps taken hostage and held as bargaining chips? Surely that would be seen as fair game. Finally 11+ relatives, including more distant-seeming ones, were pooled together with others (some at least are surely related by marriage), and offed with chemicals during Jaish al-Islam's last stand. These allegedly pooled themselves so, and were chosen at random by a regime helicopter dropping its toxic payload. But of course we need to question such accusations and probe for answers that make more sense and might be closer to the full truth.

Add 5-18:
April 14, 2018 - just a week after the chemical massacre, one Mustafa Muhammad Diab Bakiriyeh, from Douma, was killed fighting on the Aleppo front. (or with a group called Jabhat al-Halab?)
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1617554301694789&id=653476454769250
From a corroborating list mentioning the recent "liberation" of Douma, he was apparently fighting with the Syrian Army. (credit:Qoppa 999)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1078986068809548/permalink/1900856733289140/
By his name, it's quite likely Mustafa was another son of the fallen Mohamed Diab.

But a Mohamed Bakriyeh was cited days earlier (April 9) as a spokesman for an opposition party in Daraa claiming to have foiled an ISIS-linked infiltration attempt. 
https://smartnews-agency.com/ar/wires/283740/

And how about arrests? (starter credit:Qoppa 999)
regime prisoners, by Aug. 8, 2012
#137 Khaled Diab Bkariah
https://www.facebook.com/doumaprisoner/posts/379669825432488
VDC: 7 detainees, in 3 groups of relatives taken in 3 early bursts, allegedly by government forces. Fate from there unclear ATM.
http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/ar/detainees/1/c29ydGJ5PWEuaTN0ZXFhbF9kYXRlfHNvcnRkaXI9REVTQ3xhcHByb3ZlZD12aXNpYmxlfGV4dHJhZGlzcGxheT0wfDE9JUQ4JUE4JUQ5JTgzJUQ4JUIxJUQ5JThBJUQ4JUE5fA==
2011 10-29 - app. brothers
Eid Diab Bakriyeh
Ali Diab Bakriyeh
2012-4-20 - the other app. brother
Khaled Diab Bakriyeh
notes for him: "The date of detention is inaccurate" (perhaps same as the others?) (also, he seems to be the only one still listed as held months later)
Is it possible all 3 of these are brothers of Mohamed Diab, the DMB commander? And Ayman Diab, Amjad Diab .... not likely.

2012 5-03: brothers (noted) each "arrested by the regime following the raid on his home in Al-Hajari in Duma"
- Abdo Boukaria, age 25
- Muwafaq Bakriyah

5-30-2012 (most recent) apparent father and son from Daraa province
Naeem Bakriyeh
Louay Naeem Bakriyeh

No one of this name arrested (by the government) ever since then? Huh. They also got behind the revolution after these early arrests and killings...