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.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Syria: Who's Making Who Bray to Assad Here?

August 10, 2015

There's a new allegation I was alerted to, not the most urgent but interesting enough to look into a bit. This was run by Middle East Eye, August 7: VIDEO: Syrian couple beaten, forced to mimic donkey by pro-Assad forces
The cited video - (Youtube link - not graphic but disturbing) shows a supposed National Defense Forces fighter (NDF, aka "Shabiha") in camouflage abusing civilians pretty severely. First, I appreciate MEE agreeing these terms Shabiha and NDF mean the same thing, as I reasoned long ago (see ACLOS). Generally, these guys get demonized, but they're actually awesome - locals protecting their communities from ongoing terrorist attacks, accused of slaughtering children in neighboring towns dozens and dozens of times now.

Anyway, the man involved here - his face is clearly visible, and if he's identified as active duty NDF, then it's so - either a bad apple or yet another sign of a rotten system, depending. But until then, he's an alleged NDF or, maybe one of the real "Shabiha" behind stuff like the Houla Massacre.

This supposed Shabih is seen abusing a husband and wife, both bound, as their children, perhaps, watch on the sides. The article gives a full-seeming if "rushed" transcription. Summarized: he accuses the man of appearing on TV and insulting Hafez al-Assad (the former president), whips them both, slaps the man in the face brutally, and finally gets the wife first and then husband to admit they are donkeys and to bray like it.

That's not the worst; "There were allegations on social media that the couple, along with their children, were eventually killed for allegedly criticising former President Hafez Assad on TV, but the claims could not be substantiated."

The article boosts the credibility of the video claim with additional horror stories of 'things like that,'  mostly just alleged. Let's just focus on the central one, proven with a video. On that MEE turned to an expert; "the Chairman and founder of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) Fadel Abdul Ghany, who "told Middle East Eye that the video appears to be authentic." He also said they know these abuses and far worse are done - all by security forces and ISIS a little bit, and no one else. And furthermore ""Video experts whom I've been in touch with have also confirmed that the video has not been doctored," Abdul Ghany added." Did anyone claim this video was "doctored?" Why not pretend someone thinks it's all a CGI animated sequence? 

This is clearly real video, and not even the kind of fake that's concocted between friends, like a 2014 video I recently analyzed. The whipping, those slaps, and the hate behind them feel real to me. The pain and fear of the victims feels real, and grim. I would almost be surprised if these people weren't all killed afterwards. (But it's possible that's my dark imagination, and this was the harsh part of a scene that mellowed out.)

There is quite likely an element of fakery, however, just a one-sided kind. Below, my analysis (opinion) and research (basic), on two levels. 

Content Analysis (Opinion)
I'm less convinced than usual this is fake - it seems like a more realistic crime than most. But there are some problems worth pointing out:
- how he continues, knowing it's being filmed, and perhaps that it's going to end with a family massacre he won't want evidence for.
- rebels got hold of the video of this crime - oops - for like the millionth time.
- he doesn't let the conversation move forward much - the situation is never cleared up, left confused (see below "I was on TV?").
- he likes to keep it dwelling on how mean he and Assad are, again, knowing it's going on video, and such videos often wind up found/leaked/whatever and gotten to the public, as this one would.
- no one to my knowledge has given supporting details like a TV broadcast of the man talking (but maybe that just suggests the Shabih was wrong or lying even about that). MEE's article mentions no details like victim names, locale or date.

The thug here knows how to praise Assad, insult salafists (Sunni extremists) and maybe God, wear camouflage, and be vicious to people he clearly hates. Disaffected Salafist defectors wanting to demonize their secular old bosses can easily pull off all of that. This dialog might be a clue:

Interrogator "He's a donkey, like who else? … like (anti-Assad cleric sheikh Adnan al-) Arour?"
Woman: I don't know who that is
Interrogator: (hitting her) You don't know who [Arour] is?"
That makes me wonder if this group is sucking up to/supported by Adnan al-Arour, who's a grade-A scumbag by the way. Having this cartoon villains hate him in particular makes him look good, a propaganda plus in the Arab world. Consider also how, when the husband pleads "please, by God," he's cut off: "Interrogator: God? Which God, the Salafi one or ours?" The Salafi god of Arour and the FSA defectors sounds good here, compared to "our God" of secular brutality.

"I have no ties with them," the man pleads, twice. It's about all he says of substance. Who are they? Who does he think he's talking to? The people seem confused. Accused of being on TV, he manages to ask "I was on TV?" but he's cut off, pleads he's not with whoever, and gets slapped. Before the video cuts anyway, he never gets to the part where he explains convincingly how there must be a mix-up, he's a normal pro-Assad Syrian, or even asks "hey, are you a real NDF? Can I see your ID?" That part, if it existed, wouldn't get leaked to rebel uploaders. 

The wife understands she's supposed to profess love or non-hate for the Assads, and does so, for one of 3 reasons:
1) because that's how she feels (swears by her eyes she doesn't hate him)
2) because the Shabih said to say it, or
3) because the Salafist rebel psycho posing as a Shabih said to.

Claims Analysis
Without even digging into the social media claims mentioned (might be worthwhile), just the Arabic title and description with the video add details not included in the report and adequate to make a full-sized post out of this. 

ضابط علوي من عصابات الاسد يُعذب رجل وامراتهُ في منزلهم الشبيح العلوي#باسل_بريدي

Alawi officer of Assad gangs tortured man and his wife in their homeAlshabiha Alawi # Basel_Baridi (name, apparently the alleged Shabih?)

So he's an Alawi Shabih they say. Maybe MEE thinks all of them are Alawi, as rebels often claim or imply, but it's not so. It's worth specifying. The victims would implicitly be Sunnis. However ...

Video description translated:
Alawi Shabih # Basel_Baridi from the village of Ein saucer ( عين الصح ) countryside # Safita .... A person who has disgraced/insulted (people?) from the village parapet المتراس Turkmen villages .. The video was shot in the Valley of the Christians in Homs # one of Christian villages and was working for the Porter Ranch Obakar..autam kill all the family with their children in cold blood -
This says Baridi is from village of  عين الصحن (ain al-Sahan?) - Safita is in Tartous province, but just NW of Wadi al-Nassarah (valley of the Christians) in Homs. Ayn as-Sahn on Wikimapia - 5 km east of Safita, maybe the border. The farm that was mentioned might be here, as the name directed me - some distance away, just northeast of Homs city. The town he insulted seems to be Metras, in the valley of Christians but apparently Sunni/Turkmen majority (?), a few km south of Ain al-Sahan. But it seems to say this is in one of the Cristian villages.

The allegations are specific enough to allow checking around. First stop, and only for now, the VDC.
A check of their martyrs database (fill it in yourself this time!) shows among Homs men and women no likely matches in either, killed by anything, anywhere in that area, going back months. Considering the border and checking placid Tartous, there's nothing remotely close (not a single Tartous woman killed this year?). That's not to show they weren't killed, just not killed and listed here, by the details on the video. Sometimes listing is delayed and less often, never happens, or they heard a different origin story, etc.

Updates Aug 12:
The cited video posting is now gone, account deleted. The villain name in Arabic yields other postings, different versions, etc.  Among these is a longer video posted Aug 5, maybe the main source, by account Village Metras. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YACxJgGI3fA
Woman and her husband tortured by shabiha tyrant Bashar al-Assad and killing a family with children in the village of Barricade
Village Barricade
August 5, 2015
تعذيب امرأة وزوجها من قبل شبيحة الطاغية بشار الأسد وقتلهم لعائلة مع الأطفال في قرية المتراس
قرية المتراس

That contains this video after dark footage of murdered children - one with an apparent cut-like neck wound, eventually in rebel hands, before or after rigor mortis (body flaccid).

Description, Google-translated with fixes
In the name of God the Merciful, and peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad and his family and him .. after the shabiha pork Bashar al-Assad, shabiha (of) village Tannourine Christianity execution of Abbas Abdo Khadr family and two children Hayyan and Ryan in the third row and the second primary of the children of the village barricade (Metras) and his wife Ahlem Ramadan of Krak des Chevaliers , Patarrakh (?) 9-9-2013
split here - that must be the first incident. VDC lists at least the children, both boys, but killed Sept. 10. Other details later. Next, the one we've been talking about 
a farmer a farm village Tannourine, the shabiha pork Bashar al-Assad, led by Alhbih Basil Postal (Nasseri of the village of Ein saucer), beating, torturing and insulting Mustafa Abdou Khader and his children of his village parapet (Metras) and his wife, Hiam Bahgat Hassan of Alhsrgih village and it almost a month the second of 2014, and until now we do not know the fate of Mustafa Abdou Khadr and his wife, Hiam Hassan Bahgat .. Being God and yes, the agent Village parapet of a Sunni Turkoman assets located northwest of Homs administratively belonging to the province of Tartous
Tanurin is 3km east of Metras, near Marmarita (WM) It sounds like they're saying these inhabitants of Metras were taken to Tanoourin by Alawi and Christian Shabiha to abuse them there, not in "their home" in a Christian village like the other posting said. Not a current event, but maybe February 2014? Records may not exist as "we don't know."

Abuse video apparently just now scored, not clear how. They seem to have photos of a guy who looks about like the abuser, and say he's Mr. Baridi.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcome. Stay civil and on or near-topic. If you're at all stumped about how to comment, please see this post.