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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Syria: Sukhna Massacre, July, 2013

June 27, 2015

Yet another alleged Shia-on-Sunni sectarian massacre in Syria's Homs province that the opposition SNHR included in its report I've been shredding lately is As-Sakhna 22 July, 2013. This is one of the eight incidents they covered that I hadn't. It's now the sixth one I'm catching up on. 

Sukhna location: as As-Suhna on Wikimapia: out in the eastern desert, the only city besides Palmyra out there with the oil fields. In the SNHR story, it must have been rebel-held at the time:  army and militias raided the town and clashed with rebels. "The clashes came to an end when the military security building was bombed," it says. Rebels must have been based there and withdrew, or so the story goes. Only then, with no one to stop them, the non-Sunni invaders killed three brothers named  "Merza" and killed another unnamed family in its entirety (apparently 15 victims) for 18 SNHR-documented deaths, including 2 women.

VDC has 9 Sukhna dead for this day: all Civilian, killed 2013-07-22 by "Warplane shelling," not execution.
Yaser Khlaif al-Hjoujeh man      
Hasoun Khlaf al-Basma man
Abo Abd al-Khnaifes man
Hayya Freiha Shoubat woman
Hayya Freiha Shoubat's 1 boy
Hayya Freiha Shoubat's 2 boy
Unidentified 1 man
Unidentified 1 woman
Unidentified 2 woman 
No Marza, just Shoubat - a name shared by prominent Christian activists Theodore and Walid Shoebat, but they're converts, not even from Syria that I know - it should not matter. Name meaning: unknown. 

However the killing continues next day with 19 civilians, including three "Merza" men, more Shoubats, killed partly by shelling from the sky and partly from killers on the ground, with some acknowledged executions. Also one rebel fighter from Sukhna died - somewhere, likely there - during "clashes with regime's army." Yaser Khleif al-Zedan is listed as FSA but might actually be "regime's army" - he shares a family name with 3 executed civilian Zidan/Zedan.

Warplane shelling - 12 men, one woman
Abd al-Hameed Thwaib al-Hamada man
Asad Ahmad al-Azzam man
Qasem Abd al-Qader al-Khateeb"al-Kader"    man 
Ahmad al-Sabha    man
Maejoun Merdah al-Shobat man 
Mayraz Mokhailef al-Shajawi man 
Ammar Mekhlef al-Shajawi man 
Son of Ahmad al-Ani man 
Majed Hameed Marza man 
Amjad Hamid al-Marza man 
Son of Hamid al-Marza man 
Treefeh Mohammad al-Zyab woman
Mokhlef Mizar al-Najm man

Field Execution:   6 men.
Rashid Adel al-Zidan man 
Mohammad Ali a-Zedan man 
Abdul Majeed Abdul Hameed al-Zaher (Marza) man
Mahmoud Ahmad al-Any man
Fahid Adel al-zidan man  
Mohammad Asaad Awad Hamada man

The next day, the 24th, it says one final woman died: Ghadah Asaad Aead al-Himadeh. She died in a bit more "Warplane shelling." Notes: "Martyred With Her Father Due Regime Forces Shelling By Tangs." So total = 29 or 30 to SNHR's 18, over the course of perhaps three days. And the majority of it was done by indiscriminate bombing that killed 16 men, 2 boys, and 5 women, not by the "local militias," who they clearly do feel were there anyway. Those just killed six men.

December Follow-Up Massacre?
This attack in July 2013 may have displaced people. Something caused locals to move south to the Damascus area where some were then killed less than 6 months later, probably by Jabhat al-Nusra and allies, as part of the sprawling Adra massacre of mid-December. This part - in between other sub-massacres of Nabk and Adra that targeted groupings of Homs refugees - I dubbed Sukhna-Adra Massacre at ACLOS. Here's what I wrote about it:
App. December 14, 2013: As documented first here at ACLOS, the VDC at one point listed 14 adult males, 12 unidentified, killed by field execution, with "Martyrdom location: Damascus Suburbs: Adra," Cause of Death: "Field Execution," and notes: "12 martyrs were Field executed by the regime's army forces in one of Adra Prison, and found their drad bodies inWest Adra Industrial." The names and entry numbers were not saved. It was the first and last massacre they mentioned in connection with the alleged Adra massacre of dozens to hundreds in an al-Qaeda assault starting December 11.

34 of the 44 victims the VDC does document in this time, blamed on regime shooting and shelling, 34 are not from Adra, but displaced, from elsewhere in Damascus area and Homs. That basic list - the only executed people in Adra - has been changed now. It's only 11 martyrs long, with most given names, field execution changed to "detention-execution," and the area of origin is filled-in. Consistently, these men were all displaced from "Homs: Sukhna" (making it another of the Homs Massacres) And importantly, the notes have been changed. "Twelve worker were detained at Dumair's checkpoint, and were transported in the middle of the night to Adra in a military truck, then they were thrown at the ground with their hands cuffed then field executed with a machine gun, one of them was found alive and sent to a field hospital." The miracle survivor is probably how they will claim they got the improved story, but the delay is strange. Perhaps they think the bodies were dumped in rebel-infested Adra, to make it appear the terrorists were responsible. The original version had a video of someone explaining what happened (not saved). That's no longer attached - perhaps his version was different from the survivor's. That story is not explained in any detail or with any video.

Bringing it back to this case - these may well be even the same sector of Sukhna's people killed in June and December; the name Shbat (Shoubat), Shajawi and "unidentified" appear on both lists. And actually one of the December videos of victims covered in snow shows one man has missing lips and nose, another a missing face, throat, and upper chest. That's not even the work of Daesh, but of feral dogs. It means that's one massacre rebels didn't find suspiciously quick - they got the timing about right.


  1. Wed May 30, 2012

    Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?

    The fake image was exposed and taken down the same day, in fact it was up for only 90 minutes, but that hasn't stopped various "Friends of Assad" from using it to imply that events in Syria are a creation of the western media. From Alex Jones' InfoWars we get Phony ‘Houla Massacre’: How Media Manipulates Public Opinion For Regime Change in Syria
    The photo had actually been taken by Marco di Lauro in Iraq in 2003 and is featured on his website. According the Telegraph:

    Adra," 13 Dec 2013
    Timed to coincide with the beginning of a new assault on Aleppo by helicopters carrying barrel bombs, an assault that has so far cost more than four hundred lives, the world of pro-Assad media began chortling about an ugly new massacre of civilians, some of who had their heads cut off, that had just been carried out by the terrorist opposition in Adra, Syria. Although the BBC News reported that "An attack by Islamist rebels has left at least

    10 people dead over the past two days in the Syrian town of Adra," 13 Dec 2013 the pro-Assad, Russian state funded, RT reported a much bigger story: Whole families murdered’: Syrian rebels execute over 80 civilians... http://rt.com/news/syria-adra-civilian-execution-289/

    15.12.2013 19:18
    Most of the photo comparisons below were documented earlier at @lopforum Syria Statistics & Collated Articles in Alleged Adra Massacre Collated Media. I made a few additions or substitution where I found better material. Mainly I contributed the formating and the text.

    An Essay on uruknet.info titled Questions about the evidence of the alleged Adra Massacre asks some good ones:


    What happened
    Islamic Front entered the town of Adra on December 11th

    "Iran’s Al-Alam TV, supporting the Syrian regime’s declarations, is claiming that insurgents killed scores of civilians in the fight for control of Adra, on the Damascus-to-Homs highway northeast of the capital.

    However, an observer is noting on social media that at least one of the images (0:18 in the video) is actually from Homs in April 2012. Other images (1:15-1:20) were posted on a pro-regime blog in May 2012."

  2. Adra," 13 Dec 2013
    Timed to coincide with the beginning of a new assault on Aleppo by helicopters

    18 May 2015
    Mr. Roth then published a second photograph, of Alep this time,
    showing the ravages caused by the Syrian Arab Army.

    But O dear ! ... Moon of Alabama revealed that although this photograph was in fact taken by the AFP in Alep, it did not show the « rebel » zone (meaning the zone conquered by the Turks and held by jihadistes).

    In fact, it showed the destruction perpetrated by the « moderate rebels » (sic) in Hamadiyeh, the Christian quarter, still faithful to the Republic.

  3. Bearded and wearing bright blue bandanas, the Islamic State group's "special forces" unit gathered around their commander just before they attacked the central Syrian town of al-Sukhna. "Victory or martyrdom," they screamed, pledging their allegiance to God and vowing never to retreat.

    The IS calls them "Inghemasiyoun," Arabic for "those who immerse themselves."
    The elite shock troops are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group's arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat. They are credited with many of the group's stunning battlefield successes — including the capture of al-Sukhna in May after the scene shown in an online video released by the group.

    Even the group's atrocities are in part a tactic, aimed at terrorizing its enemies and depicting itself as an unstoppable juggernaut.

    In June 2014, the group boasted of killing hundreds of Shiites in Iraq's security forces, issuing photos of the massacre. It regularly beheads captured soldiers, releasing videos of the killings online. It is increasing the shock value: Recent videos showed it lowering captives in a cage into a pool to drown and blowing off the heads of others with explosive wire around their necks.

    The number of IS fighters in Iraq and Syria is estimated between 30,000 to 60,000, according to the Iraqi officers. Former army officers of ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein have helped the group organize its fighters, a diverse mix from Europe, the United States and Arab and Central Asian nations. Veteran jihadis with combat experience in Afghanistan, Chechnya or Somalia have also brought valuable experience, both in planning and as role models to younger fighters.

    The group's tactics carried it to an overwhelming sweep of northern and western Iraq a year ago, capturing Mosul, Iraq's second-biggest city. Shortly thereafter, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" spanning its territory in Iraq and Syria.

    In May, it captured Ramadi, capital of Iraq's vast western Anbar province, in a humiliation for Iraqi forces. In Syria, it seized the central city of Palmyra.

    The elite shock troops were crucial in the capture of Ramadi. First came a wave of more than a dozen suicide bombings that hammered the military's positions in the city, then the fighters moved in during a sandstorm. Iraqi troops crumbled and fled as a larger IS force marched in.

    Around the same time, they also overran a central Syrian town, al-Sukhna. In an online video released by the group, the elite fighters are shown pumping themselves up for the attack. "Victory or martyrdom," the fighters, wearing blue bandanas, scream in a circle around their commander, pledging their allegiance to God and vowing never to retreat.


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