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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Douma Market Attack: Victim Analysis

Douma Market Attack: Victim Analysis
August 21, 2015
last edits Sept. 5

Visual Assessment
This is what will matter most.  So far I have these topics covered, in split-off posts:

- Victims Killed Before the Attack? This is only partly victim analysis, and more source and video analysis, but it relates to the victims in the most crucial way. Comparing a vague reported time to more reliable evidence suggests an attack around between 1:00 and 1:26 PM local time. So how on earth could 40+ bodies of men and boys, already dry, be gathered from that attack by about 1:15 (or 1:00-1:30), as a photograph shows? They can't. So why did activists claim they did? And how really did they die?

- Drawn-and-Quartered Boy? One alleged victim (not the clearest connection, but presumably...) is a boy with his legs nearly torn off at the knees, arms completely removed at the elbows, shoulders/damaged, body perhaps stretched, no other marks, except massive burning of his entire face. That says terrorist crime; pulled apart between two trucks, face burned before or after. A "No Fly Zone" won't help stop THIS.

- Burned Faces: Including but beyond the above alleged jet attack victim: what caused the distinct red patches on the faces of these five men at least (two at right)? And did the same thing worst of all to two boys (including the dismembered one)?  No answer detailed findings, just the pictures, relevant links, some starting notes.

- The Girl Victims? 
Why, when we finally see alleged female child victims, do they seem segregated in how they died? Along with one young boy (apparent), these two girls (apparent) do not look like shelling victims, but did apparently die from acute head trauma. Two others at least appear in allegedly-connected photos; one has a clearly split-open skull. And their knees were roughed up a little bit. Rebels, as usual with victims of such "shelling", had the bodies afterwards and blamed Assad. 

- How Many Boy Victims? (not the listed 5, but at least 12-16)

Other posts planned:

- visual minimum body count

- victim names (true or not, considered)
Jroudi Confusion (will go there)
* DID33 - There's video of a dead newborn or young infant among these dated the 16th, but similar the day before, may be the same, unclear. ... comparing: the name on the video is Ahmed Algroudi ( الجرودي ). Arabic to VDC = no direct match but one entry and only one of that family name appears this year ... Fayez al-Jroudi, adult male, different name, is one of the 117 market attack victims. Not mentioned an infant relative died the same day? We have confusion. The other newborn video is 8-15 child martyr (Shahida, female) Aisha Alojoh ( الشهيدة الطفلة عائشة الأجوة ) - different baby, looks even younger and frailer. (VDC records suggest overall lots of newborns die in Douma especially, or so it's seemed to me a few times now)
Bombing Victims in Situ?
It's said up to 660+ people were injured, some to death, in the market area. From available videos, this seems questionable. Consider MB1:  Eric Draister notes of this video:
To be fair, hours of research did uncover a total of one video, taken after the blast, showing the bodies of a handful of male victims. However, none of the signs of death by airstrike are visible; the bodies are all whole, no missing limbs, very little blood (unlike in the Gaza and Baghdad videos). A logical conclusion based on the available evidence would be that the men seen in the video died from the collapse of a building, presumably the destroyed building behind them. 
Another conclusion: about 5 men killed elsewhere were brought here and laid, mainly on top of the tomatoes. They've been dead hours, at least; they don't seem to be bleeding any more at all. The tomatoes make that somewhat unclear, but not very. And - is that why they were laid on tomatoes? Draister says this is the one and best video he found to show deaths at the market. Might be worth double-checking, but we could almost just be lazy and say this might be it. 650+ alleged injured and dead here, and all we see for the worst of it is about 5 intact and already dead guys? Or, what do we see? Comments open.

Another video he apparently missed, MB2 (location unclear), shows at least one consistent shelling victim, a young teen boy with half-attached arm and leg, and major bleeding in place. Unidentifiable parts of another person are carried by on a blanket. Some other videos and photos show possibly consistent mangling, but these aren't seen in situ, where stricken, at the market.

There are at least two other nearby strike locations to consider, another market and a traffic intersection seen on video, a third market allegedly hit (no known video), besides reports of later attacks with mortars in other areas. But the point remains - they say 112 died here at "about noon" and several hundred almost totally male civilians were wounded, but that doesn't seem well-supported. More likely, between all three strikes, dozens were wounded, maybe 100 or so, and maybe 8-20 were killed.

Records and Claims
(will refine the reading here)
Some have cited an earl list of 102 names published by the Local Coordination Committees in Douma. This is a jpg version, cited by Eric Draister in his headlining Counterpunch article on this subject. Here Syrian Perspective's Ziad Fadel cites the same and transliterates the names. This list should be accurate but short; early sources said at least 112 had died, and it's looking like over 120 considering all sources. Also, the list only covers identified victims, and not quite all of those.

The Violations Documentation Center (VDC) is linked to the LCC, gets the same info, and runs an updated martyrs database (as well as a "regime forces" list where civilian victims often turn up). VDC martyr's database, Damascus Suburbs martyrs from warplane shelling, Aug. 16 = 120 (was 105 when I started) Breakdown: 5 boys, 3 women, no girls, 112 men: 2 non-civilian, 110 civilian men)

To clarify who is and isn't part of this reported massacre: 117 of these entries shared the note "Dozens of people martyred in a massacre due to regime air forces shelling of the local market and residential areas in Douma city." That includes all 3 women, all 5 boys, so must have 3 less men. The link now shows 116. One man is missing. With the note removed there are still 117 victims, with the difference being Khaled Fahed al-Toukhi. He had the note replaced with "Martyred due to the regime air forces' shelling , called as Abo Sulaiman." He has a photo now, when I think none of them did before ... and a linked video on Facebook I didn't review yet)

Almost all of these (104 of the 117) are listed as from Douma, with very little sign of displacement or mobility like you so commonly see in Syria these days. The list is reverse-chronological, so oldest newest entries are at the bottom/and next page (100 max per page). It's there the few exceptions appear: two men from Otaya (Hashem, Harmoush), near the bottom - 9 unidentified from unknown (maybe Douma) further down, and at the very bottom, a man and a woman named Harmoush from Otayah were the first ones logged were from. (should be related but not married - usually - women usually keep "maiden names" here) (Autaya on Wikimapia - 4 km southeast of Douma)

Double-checking this local-ness: from all Syria, killed by jets 8-16, martyrdom location Douma = 13.

The two rebel fighters from Irbeen must not be part of the massacre - that's 2 of the 3 discrepancies down between the 117 and 120 tallies. Wisam al-Merji "Aman" and Ahmad al-Merji "Aman" - apparent relatives, both from Erbeen, FSA, died "Due to air forces shelling." And they alone died from that, huh?

So the massacre is at least these 117 victims with the note, all of them civilian, but 109 being civilian men. However ...  So far, one apparent boy listed as man identified. Khaled al-Tout listed as a man, but named on video of a boy of about 12-ish. ( Arabic entry gives : التوت - same name as on the video).

Comparing Sources
Here at ACLOS I've made a table to compare the VDC ist of 117, the LCC list of 102, and a few dozen named martyr videos. It's not completely filled-in, but seems to show between them 122-123 individual victims - still not including any of the 3-4 girl victims, nor probably all of the 12+ boy ones - and that's just from what we see.

220 Wounded Children? Bad Math Islamists
(note: all market-only thoughts revised out; there was at least one other strike area, at a nearby traffic intersection. They say several (6?) missiles hit this area, maybe in other areas yet, where men might be more prevalent. But the smoke view shows all of Douma, with smoke only from these two nearby spots. So ... this is what the "activists" have packaged in there.)

The Guardian reports: "The town’s governing council said that out of the 550 injured in Sunday’s air strikes 40% were children." (primary source f/c - they probably did say this) Note, the Islamist ruling council will be friendly to the Islamists behind any massacre that might be hiding behind the bombing claims. Islamists can excel at math but usually don't.

550 wounded is in addition to the 112+ who died (let's use 117 as VDC has). At one point, these bad-math Islamists claim, there were 667 injured/dying/dead people laying around in that market, intersection and, by smoke clues, nowhere else in Douma. Is there any visual sign of that in these two spots?

Next, 40% of 550 wounded is 220, so they claim that many children were wounded but lived. We know at least 109 of the 117 who died were men (listed by VDC as men and most likely were), at least 5 were boys (but it's at least 6 including Khaled al-Tout, who looks 12-ish, and makes one less man - 108 then). At least 3 were women, and by the VDC's records, perhaps none were girls.

On the other side of that cut-off line, those who pulled through, 220 boys and girls wounded. Well, we shouldn't expect exact proportions, whatever those would really be at the market that day ... for example, parents might have time to shield their kids in some cases, taking the worst and dying but leaving the children alive. But this is clearly inadequate to explain these distorted proportions.

Combined injured and dead, that writhing mass of 667+ people in that small market area after the regime missile thing ... 226 children (almost all survived) and 108 men dead. Reasonable proportion, 114 lived. 222+225=447. That leaves room for up to 220 women, who usually do the vegetable shopping in the Arab World, even in Islamist areas, as far as I know. Three died. Did anything like 217 survive? Or were there just very few women, perhaps because of some little-known ban on women in public? Maybe only 3 ban-breakers died?

Update: I finally checked Human Rights Watch, Aug. 20: Syria: Impose Arms Embargo Following Deadly Airstrikes and, citing Islamist-leaning local "revolutionary" authorities, it adds to this picture so:
The Douma Local Council reported that the August 16 attacks killed a total of 112 and injured 550 civilians, 40 percent of them children, as well as 8 women. The Unified Medical Office of Douma, which coordinates medical care in the area, reported that doctors performed 116 surgeries on the wounded, including 9 amputations.
Again, the 550 wounded is additional to those killed, app. 120, so about 670 people physically affected.
- about 220 children wounded, to app. 15-20 killed by combined records and visuals (see boys 12-15 total, girls 3-4),
- 8 women wounded to 3 killed, for a total of 11 affected, at the vegetable market.
- that leaves about 322 men wounded by this, to about 100-107 killed, at a total of three vegetable markets.

Mass Graves, Why?
As Reuters heard:
Sixty bodies were buried on Sunday night in two mass graves, said a spokesman for the Syrian Civil Defense force in Douma... Another 35 were buried on Monday, and the death toll was over 100, he said."
That's at least 95 out of the 112 then claimed dead. Here's the grave, Mubasher video - is this even deeper than usual? It's enormous. That was a lot of work the "regime" didn't stop.

But a Guardian report, citing Douma's Islamist rebel city council, explains "...the regime also targeted a funeral procession after the attack." This is about the reason anyone would probably cite when asked why the hell nearly all of the killed, adult male, local civilians went unclaimed by family and left to dump in anonymous mass graves - the regime shoots you if you try. That quote is immediately followed by
"Witnesses to the air raid told the Guardian they had to bury the dead in large graves, forgoing funeral prayers for some, a sacred rite in Islam."
These aren't "large" and spacious individual graves but mass graves - 3 or 4 of them for over 100 victims. The distinction matters. This is the way you bury people you don't want to identify, people with no family you want to contact. Every "Shabiha" massacre like Houla ends with rebel-held bodies interred in mass graves.

They say they even "had to" skip the funerary prayers. Why? Were there snipers who allowed this canyon digging, but shot at anyone who tried to pray? Or is there a different reason - like trying to send the victims to hell - why they skipped the proper send-off for what they may have considered non-Muslims?


32 Identified victim videos 
(copied from video overview, not verified)
* DID1 0:18 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5Ij3tjw3XY Khaled Ali Al-Tout ( التوت ))
* DID2 0:15  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45WIwFETn3E martyr: كاسم عبدو المنسي
* DID3 0:11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS2aYAJEb0M Mahmoud ?? (  محضر الشامية ) (little seen)
* DID4 0:09 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHQc6Y3b-Rg Omar Kraem? ( عمر كريم ) older man, white beard
* DID5 0:015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4BS79nOs3w Mahmoud Hijazi ( محمود حجازي ) (strange pattern of facial burns?)
* DID6 0:11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oebm1k9M4S0 Ziad Samir Shanawany (  زياد سمير الشنواني ) (partly burned?)
* DID7 0:09 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNeUt5kYqac Alaa Khaled Abdel Dayem ( علاء خالد عبد الدايم ) (roughed-up hand and face visible, being laid in mass grave)
* DID8 0:15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBmJQiZPTCs Hossam Halbouni ( حسام الحلبوني )
9 0:16 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pa9y9ydLMk Mohiuddin Naaman (  محي الدين نعمان ) (all visible from waist up except neck - no visible injuries)
* DID10 0:18 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqroHuzConE Bashir al-Tout (  بشير التوت ) (no visible wounds)
* DID11 0:14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XVAgRgzzaw Khalid Al Hudaydah ( خالد حديدة ) (no visible marks, maybe at groin?)
* DID12 0:16 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apzgDTEUO4g Muwafaq Fouad Hamraoui ( موفق فؤاد الحمراوي ) (roughed-up, smoke-stained, intact)
* DID13 0:46 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWu-AeCEHE4 Sobhi Mahmoud  Tla? ( صبحي محمود بلة ) (slight facial marks)
* DID14 0:04 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSq24mq_ckA Akram Seriwl ( أكرم سريول ) (neck covered, covers blood-soaked)
* DID15 0:06 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRyBuEKwdrQ Khaled Abdel-Hakim Khbayh ( خالد عبد الحكيم خبية ) (blood from mouth and nose)
* DID16 0:13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9KVKh6g1M0 Hanin al-Da'as? (  حنين الدعاس ) female form of Shahid - maybe be teenage girl or young adult) (cheek abrasions? Wrapped upper body is all in blood)
* DID17 0:21 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_LKUTYoGlg Khalid Abdul Rahman Yunus and Imad Eddin (3 men in a truck, only 2 named)
* DID18 0:11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjjKZjrLJXU Khalid Mohammed Znob ( خالد محمد زنوب ) (neck covered, why?)
* DID19 0:16 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmtIvHrHOdk Hisham Arbash ( هشام عربش ) (smokey, roughed-up)
* DID20 0:13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzzNSajYrs4 Samir Hamouri (  سمير الحموري ) (older man, smokey, wounds on side of face)
* DID21 0:14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IscNRmrlxBk Subhi Arbash ( صبحي عربش ) (older man, minor injuries but intact)
* DID22 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpa57xVb_5g Ibrahim Khbayh ( ابراهيم خبية  ) (totally wrapped and invisible except maybe his nose, dark-colored, was in a fire)
* DID23 0:06 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6akldk9Uyg child martyr Zuhair al-Masri ( الطفل زهير المصري ) (puffed up right eye? Intact looking, no out outward marks on right side of face, the rest unseen)
* DID24 0:17 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aR8D3sw6ZE -Mohammed Mahmoud Abbas Daoud- ( محمد مازن محمود داود ) (young man, bad but superficial damage all over his seen face, chest, right shoulder (cuts, pits, etc.) rest unseen)
* DID25 0:15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxoHiQtEd3k Adnan Khalil al-Ghazzawi ( خليل عدنان الغزاوي ) (dark, face at least seems unmarked)
* DID26 0:18 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wCSwdVA774 -Amin al-Dsh?- (  أمين الدج ) (dark, outside, published Aug. 19)
* DID27 0:13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYwSG-sqOCg Khaled Mohiuddin ( خالد محي الدين ) (reddened, burned face, heavy smoke exposure, intact face, rest unseen - another victim glimpsed at the start, man with minor burns on face, no smoke or marks)
* DID28 0:19 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qI99N8OM8 -Mohammed Alchgra- (  محمد الشغري ) (middle-aged man, face intact, unmarked, rest unseen, laid in grave)
* DID29 0:09 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgvM5h5sFlU -Raed Khitti- ( رائد خيتي ) (young man, marks on side of face but intact, from head and shoulder shown)
* DID30 0:11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gHJAzowk4k -Mohiuddin Durra- ( محي الدين الدرة ) (older man, gray bear, marks like shrapnel on left side of face, distinct red burns on right)
* DID31 0:09 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WianXvDOrE -Ghassan Amin Thrush (aldh?) - ( غسان أمين الدج ) (dark, outside)
* DID32 0:09 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D58oyuSTSL4 -Khaled Abdu Maakh- (  خالد عبدو معيكة ) 
* DID33 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAajbX6IgUQ Ahmed Algroudi ( الجرودي ) - young or newborn infant, face unharmed (VDC does not list this victim, but has an adult male of the same family name, [http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/details/martyrs/156186#.VdmYrJdySSp Fayez al-Jroudi)
* DID34 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voeS31R82mQ Martyr Jihad Walid Hijazi ( الشهيد جهاد وليد حجازي 2015 8 16 ) (shows 3 victims with varying marks and damage: a boy, man, another boy. By audio, the first is Jihad Walid Hijazi, the man, Walid ? Hijazi - boy Mustafa Walid Hijazi. Implied: father and sons. VDC lists all 3, the boys as boys, along with 2 other Hijazi men, one seen in DID5 with face burns)
* DID35 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR6CEB34Eec Martyr Hisham Arbash - massive but discrete head wound, like from bullet exit)

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