September 9, 2012
Updated Nov. 18, 2012 (new links)
First, it's been decided by Petri and I, CIWCL co-founders, to make Syria an official area of focus for the CIWCL, and not for some new group dividing efforts. No promises of tons of posts here, but being sort of the CIWCL's blog, well, here's one at least. This is a spot for those inclined to a spot like this, to discuss the Daraya massacre (preferably not too many side-issues, if it's to be a comment-driven post like most)
On the weekend of Aug 24-26 a huge but uncertain number of people were massacred in the Syrian city of Daraya, just outside Damascus. This roughly coincided with a decisive government conquest of the rebel-held city, and has of course been blamed on the invading national army and its allies, by the retreating FSA/activist/terrorist forces who would be the prime alternate suspects.
This latest example of "Assad's massacre strategy" escalates the insane brutality requiring intervention. The Houla massacre in May was Assad thumbing his nose at the West, 108 people dead, 49 children, diplomats expelled (later found to be a rebel crime). He allegedly shot himself in the foot bigger yet with the massacre/battle of Tremseh in mid-July. Saudi paper Al Arabiya made a Freudian slip, it seems, reporting at the time "at last 250 people have been killed," finally eclipsing Houla. (Emphasis added - presumably they meant to parrot the standard "at least 250.") But that story of 250-300+ fell apart quickly, with even the Western mainstream media considering it more a minor battle the rebels lost, with no more than 50 killed (though neglecting victims of a rebel massacre apparently interrupted by the battle), and too boring to rant about any longer.
Now in Daraya, the reports of dead started where Tremseh's did, only climbing from there to a range of reports of 3-400 to "more than 1,000." At least about 200 can be visually verified so far. But now, the high-water (high-blood) mark of the Houla Massacre has been subsumed under a whole new level of bloodshed. Clearly it merits some investigation. In the last few weeks, it's gotten that. Our wiki page at A Closer Look on Syria is the best resource for it and still growing. Feel free to spread this link:
We encourage interested and responsible/honest people to register and help develop this and all topics related to the Syrian conflict.
Tentative findings (my own readings, opinions, and questions):
- Not mentioned in initial "activists say" reports, there were some number of government loyalists held hostage by rebels in Daraya. By some evidence, it was when negotiations on a prisoner transfer for opposition fighters fell through that the national army attacked the city. This aspect was first dramatically broken in a report from Robert Fisk on Aug. 29, and elicited much buzz and some rebuttals. Three hostages (all officers, all evil) are now admitted (pleaded to) by FSA spokespeople. Officers, off-duty conscripts, military families, and a mailman were all mentioned among those taken - more than three categories, let alone three people. But we don't know what the FSA's hand was entering into trade talks for their captured comrades. Was it closer to 3 or to 300?
- Local witnesses, freed by the army from rebel-run basement shelters in Daraya, spoke to Addounia TV on Aug. 26. They claim they were forced in there by rebel fighters, mostly the day before (Aug. 25) to protect them from the government coming, with plans (that rebels knew about) to kill them. Some of the others weren't so lucky, and not all the shelters were found. Or were they? People executed in basement/shelters, by the government, of course, appeared on rebel videos in the following days. Time-release false flag massacre to coincide with the "brutal occupation?"
- One eyebrow-raising feature of the Daraya massacre is the relative lack of alleged eyewitnesses and miracle survivors. This will likely turn around soon, but the delay is still noteworthy. Taken by surprise? Most witnesses and activists are called "Abu something." Even to the massive alleged mosque massacre there's no clear witness. The regime killed 150 or so while they his inside the Abu Suleiman Al Darani Mosque, it was said by some. Other reports aren't so sure, but speculate that's what happened, after they found the bodies there.
- The mosque massacre clearly didn't happen. If the rebel story (see last point) is correct, then why does it seem otherwise to be rebel base of operations on the southern fringe, especially crucial after losing most other bases? Why are all the bodies on/wrapped in blankets, one even in a coffin, with no blood spray all over the floor? Why are they dodgy about the "basement" the bodies were found in, the "makeshift morgue" they were taken to after, and the mass grave site they were then buried at? Because it's all, visually verified, the same rebel-base-mosque? (There are some interesting facts buried now in that dirt lot... Damascus will want to strip mine it for data ASAP. But first, they'll have to attack a mosque, again. Watch for news on that...)