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Friday, September 11, 2015

Douma Market Attack: Other Market Attacks

Douma Market Attack: Other Market Attacks
September 11, 2015
last edits (add Jeesi 1/20/15) Dec. 12.

In looking into the infamous alleged fighter jet attack on the Douma market, preceding incidents (plus a few later ones) seemed worth looking into. And then it seemed worth a total overview of attacks on souqs (public markets). I started this, as I often do, from perusing the martyrs database of the Douma-based Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria (VDC). Case-by-case, for some cases, I'll expand to other sources and analyze a bit. Patterns repeat, etc. (in progress).

Warplane shelling: Each alleged victim of this is one more argument for a Libya-style "no-fly zone" over Syria, and there have been a lot of them. Besides a presumably larger number wounded but managing to survive, the VDC currently lists 18,866 civilians killed by warplane shelling (this includes jets, helicopters, anything airborne). This includes Israeli and US/coalition strikes, but in small numbers - 17,000+ will be by "regime" forces, allegedly) That's ostensibly collatoeral damage in the course of targeting militants, but only 933 non-civilians were hit, as VDC records it. That nearly 20 civilians died to every fighter could make one wonder if the government is trying to kill civilians, as activists often suggest.

Of these nearly 19,000 dead civilians, there are 11,255 listed as men, 3,089 as boys. 2,706 as women, and 1,816 as girls.

Warplane + Market: the relevant part - all warplane shelling with "market" in notes = 525. Four of these are non-civilians. Of the 521 civilian dead, 438 are men. 40 are boys. Surprisingly, by 2015 standards, 29 are women, and  14 are girls - but only one girl so far in 2015.

Including warplanes and all other relevant causes + market =  978 civilians killed. For those hung up on the all-male aspect for the August 16 attack (includes me), it's standard. 803 market victims are men, 97 are boys (so exactly 900 mare ales, or 92% of the total), and they list 55 women and 23 girls killed.

Other + Market: There are 457 minus warplane - and the total is off by one (not sure why). Causes: shelling, explosion, and for good measure, shooting - mainly by the "regime," they say or imply, in presumably deliberate attacks on markets. The fatalities as listed have been 365 men, 57 boys, 26 women, and 9 girls.

Other Other: 74 civilians executed etc. with "market" in notes - mostly found near a market. These don't count. But there may be an odd case or two in there. No cross-over between market and "Chemical and toxic gases" or "other".

Bakery Attacks: This is about the same concept, not sure why I didn't start with it as well. From what I've seen (Halfaya, Dec. 2013, at least) the patterns are largely the same. May expand to cover this as well. There's also aid distribution center attacks, etc. ... so it may stay just on the bombings of the souqs. But for what it's worth, a starter at least: 288 martyrs with "bakery" in the notes. Of these, 279 are listed as civilians, 191 of those as men. A further 40 entries (with likely overlap) have the more vague "bread" in the notes. 39 of these are listed as civilian, of whom 25 are men

Gender note: Across the board, the gender distribution is notably lopsided for usual market behavior in the Arab world, and it's cumulative over the whole conflict (at least from late 2012, but mainly in the last year). Market shopping is usually a task for women, but these of course aren't usual times. Is this in fact market behavior in Islamist areas (almost universally where theses attacks are alleged)? Only men and older boys - but never fighters - are allowed to shop in any number?

The VDC and allied sources like the LCC sometimes do not have female victims reported to them right away, and list them later if ever. But that doesn't seem common enough to explain this, and at least some cases are supported by images of about that many men and few if any females. So, is it some low quota on females in public? Or is it the chivalry of the munitions that explains their being spared? Or ... are these mainly laundered rebel fighters, as many speculate, perhaps mixed-in to real market attack death toll? Or ... is someone killing the men and keeping (most of) their females, and just blaming made-up or exaggerated market attacks? Or is it, as seem likely at this scale, some mix of these causes (the more logical ones)?

General patterns for these victims, seen in the August 16 attack, that tends to be repeated enough to call ganeral in general: Usually the victims are all from the town attacked - few if any displaced identities, which would be unusual. In 2015, the pattern is usually a couple of boys, about ten times as many men, and hardly any females killed at all. Earlier, it seems slightly more mixed. As a start point, these are all civilians - but expanding it to include rebels adds no one in almost every case. There is some family grouping, at least one set of repeat Douma victims popping up already (between June 30 and August 16, 2015), a victim in Idlib with a rare name connecting other incidents, and many areas with nothing known yet to correlate or no checking. There are very few victims with photos provided, alive or dead. All have the same generic videos, no details, ages, etc. (some notes like "known as Abo somebody"). And little to no variation from one entry to the next in that vagueness. (any variations in these patterns and a few specifics will be noted for each, as I check them out.)

Regime Forces Killed in Market Attacks
This is an odd and small but existent category. In case it grows, here's the VDC's list for regime forces fatalities (a different database from martyrs) with "market" in the notes. At 2 entries long, both can be considered here. Both are adult men, status: Regime's Army, rank: Civilian (whatever that means - unclear. Sometimes it seems to mean Alawite civilian).
* Mazen Abdullah al-Swedany Province: Daraa. Area: Nawa status: civilian.Photo, Facebook link. Date of death  2013-11-03. Martyrdom location: Damascus: Zablatani. Cause of Death: Shelling. Notes:  due to FSA shelling on Hal market.
Hamadi Steif al-Eid, age 65 Province: Hasakeh. Date of death: 2015-05-30. Martyrdom location   (blank) Cause of Death: Shelling. Notes: Due to mortar shelling by ISIS in Hassakeh Market

So we can see in the records that anti-government forces have attacked markets ... and killed exactly two "regime army" civilians. Neither of these documented violations caused any martyr-type fatalities,  (no crossover with the incidents listed below - Bab's market was hit by the regime the same day as Hasaka's was hit by ISIS, but they're far apart places, so it's ... a coincidence?). And so, it's on to the 978 civilians ... or those killed by Assad, or ... the ones their rebel sources insisted were not killed by any stripe of rebels ... as far as I know. Whatever. On to the "martyrs," nearly 1,000 of them.

Attacks Listed
Scanning the big VDC list of 525 victims  of aerial attacks on markets and 457 other market victims, this is  an approximately complete chronolgical list of incidents/dates/locales. Links and details will come in sections for certain cases anyway (especially for those already covered). Aerial ("warplane") attacks will be marked W. The August 12, 2015 Douma incident is actually not included by VDC in that total, and is added by me based on market connection (see section below).

* Tartous  Alsafsafa/ Al Sawda Village/ Saheal Akkar  2011-04-23  Shooting 3 men (see section)
* Daraa  Tafas  2011-05-08  Shooting 1 man
* Homs  Bayadeh  2011-11-21  Shooting 1 man
* Homs  Khalidiya  2012-02-21  Shooting  1 man
* Homs   2012-05-15  Shooting 1 man "Due to his wounded that he got in an explosion in Tabaqah Market"
* Daraa  Dael  2012-05-19  Shooting  1 girl, age 9 "after the regime army checkpoint in the market square targeted a civilian car, where a family was riding." video (shot in chest, opp. activists have the body, rest of family app. escaped and drove here?)
* Raqqa  Tabaqah  2012-06-02  Explosion 1 man
* Idlib  Idleb the City  2012-07-15  Shooting  1 boy
* Damascus  Qaboun  2012-07-21  Shelling 1 man
* Aleppo  Masaken Hananou : Al-Inzarat Neighborhood  2012-08-09  Shelling 6 dead
* W Deir Ezzor  Bokamal  2012-09-03 - 1 man
* Idlib  Maaret Al-Nouman  2012-09-15  Shelling  1 girl
* Aleppo  Kalaseh    2012-10-13  Shelling  3 Attar men - one later
* W Deir Ezzor  Mayadin 2012 10-15 - man, woman, boy
* W Deir Ezzor  Mayadin 2012 11-02 shelling 2 boys
* Aleppo  Maysalon  2012-11-12  Shooting  1 man
* Damascus Suburbs  Sbeinei  2012-11-19  Shelling  1 woman
* Aleppo  Nayrab  2012-11-25  Shooting  4 unidentified men
* W Aleppo  Manbej  2012-11-28 - 6 men
* Aleppo  Haidaria  2012-11-30  Shelling 1 man
* Aleppo  Safira  2012-12-01  Shelling  7 men, 1 boy
* Aleppo  Helek  2012-12-02  Shelling  2 men 2 boys
* un-checked span ...
* Daraa  Tafas  2012-12-29  Shelling
* Hama  Hilfaya  2013-01-03  Shelling
* Aleppo  Deir Hafer  2013-01-23  Shelling
* Aleppo  Sfaireh  2013-05-06  Shelling
* Idlib  Saraqib  2013-05-17  Shelling
* Aleppo  Nile Street  2013-05-26  Shooting
* Daraa  Namr  2013-06-08  Shelling
* Damascus  Midan  2013-06-09  Shelling
* Hama  Al-Fayhaa neighborhood  2013-07-14  Shooting
* Aleppo  Sfaireh  2013-07-20  Shelling
* Idlib  Ariha  2013-07-21  Shelling (see section)
* Damascus  Yarmuk Camp  2013-07-31  Shelling   1 boy dead
* Aleppo  Sukkari neighborhood  2013-08-06  Shelling
* Aleppo  Bab Road neighborhood  2013-08-20  Shelling
* Idlib  Ariha  2013-08-21  shelling
Idlib  Darkoush  2013-10-14  explosion - 38 dead (see section)
* Damascus Suburbs  Wadi Barada 2013-10-25  Explosion - 152 dead (see section)
* W Raqqa  Raqqa City: Kurnehs  2013-10-26  
* W Aleppo Bab   2013-11-30
* W Aleppo Bab   2013-12-01
* Aleppo  Karam Muayassar 2014-01-28
* W Deir Ezzor  Al-Sour village  2014-02-05  - 1 man
* Damascus Suburbs   Yabrud: Ras Al-Ayn     2014-02-07
* Damascus Suburbs  2014-02-18/20
* Idlib     Shaikh Barakeh - Sinjar - Telminis      2014-02-27
* Daraa     Nawa     2014-03-11
* W Damascus Suburbs  Qalamoon: Ras Al-Maara Village  2014-03-16
* Damascus Suburbs     Yalda  2014-03-18
* Damascus Suburbs     Jeroud  2014-04-20
* W Aleppo  Atarib  2014-04-24 
* W Aleppo  Hulluk  2014-05-01
* Idlib     Maarat Nassan  2014-05-28
* Idlib     Maarat Nassan  2014-05-29
* Damascus Suburbs 2014-05-31 
* Damascus Suburbs     Douma  2014-06-07
* Deir Ezzor     Mayadeen  2014-06-14
* Damascus Suburbs  Douma  2014-06-15 
* Hasakeh 2014-07-22   
* Damascus Suburbs  Zabdeen  2014-07-24   
* Aleppo  Izaz   2014-07-26  
* W Aleppo Bab  2014-09-11
* W Hasakeh  Jeesi Village  2015-01-20
* W Aleppo  Bab  2015-01-29
* Damascus Suburbs  Douma  2015-02-09 
* W Aleppo  Bab  2015-05-30 
* W Damascus Suburbs  Douma  2015-06-30 (see section)
* W Idlib  Zardna  2015-07-09  
* W Aleppo  Bab  2015-07-13  (stray, day before)
* W Idlib  Ariha  2015-08-03
* Hama  Bweda  2015-08-08
* Idlib     Maart Numan  2015-08-08
* W Idlib  Idlib City  2015-08-11
** Damascus Suburbs Douma  2015-08-12  (see section)
* W Damascus Suburbs  Douma  2015-08-16
* W Daraa Dara Al-Balad 2015-08-16 Warplane shelling  
* Damascus Suburbs Douma  2015-08-23
* W Damascus Suburbs  Ein Tarma  2015-08-31

Some Incident Details
(in reverse chronological order)

August 16, 2015
118 listed (110 men, two died later) ... see masterlist for lots of details and analysis.

Same day, 7 men from Daraa al-Balad plus 1 next-day "Due to helicopter shelling of the local market with explosive barrels"

August 12, 2015, Douma
VDC lists 25 dead under the note  "Several people martyred in a massacre due to regime's army air forces' several raids on the city." 24 men, 1 boy. No videos. Victim names shared with other Douma-area market attacks: al-Sheikh, Arbash, Masri, al-Daj, Dalati x2, Al-Ali ... Not mentioned, a market was involved: some Twitter photos from the time: tomatoes, blood on flatbread (staged?) victims (graphic).  Recycled: mangled boy next to motorcycle - iconic shouting girl (as branded as 16th)  seen on the 12th, sitting and shouting, same photo re-used. (some others recycled, some lightly, others more heavily)

August 3, 2015 Idlib
See also "Massacre of the Jet")
VDC lists 34 dead under the note "Massacre of the Jet, several people martyred due to the falling of a Meg Jet on the local market in the city." 32 men, 2 boys, no females (listed). Generic Videos, not reviewed: 1 - 2 - 3. Ariha, Idlib province  was recently conquered, well after Idlib city, and will be another Islamist occupation like in Douma. War News Updates reports 27 civilians were killed and dozens wounded "after a Syrian army fighter jet crashed into a marketplace in the Syrian town of Ariha in Idlib province." Citing Reuters citing locals, they say civilians were mainly killed, and "The plane had dropped a bomb on the main Bazaar street at low altitude only seconds before it crashed," Ghazal Abdullah, a resident who was close to the incident, told Reuters." No shooting is mentioned in the crash, but presumable.

Getty Images/Anadolu Agency has a photo (detail at right) to support the claim "a Syrian regime warplane crashed into a market in Syrias northwestern Idlib province, according to a local civil defense official," an event with no mentioned shooting, but 35 civilian deaths. The SOHR reported that the jet was not shot down, so ... all damage should be from its bombs or, less-obvious to me ... are they saying the jet bombed the market then crashed in without being shot down? The SOHR may be hearing - from their remaining (Islamist) sources in Ariha - that regime jets are suicide-attacking markets now, just to kill civilians and make an expensive and illogical new case for a "no fly zone."

And so, in this earlier precedent for jets attacking markets, there was proof. Some flag-marked jet wreckage, next to melons. It looks arguably natural how it came together, but ... to me, the metal appears to be quite weathered, having spent some time outdoors in this same crumpled state. From the close-cropped photo, the size of material appears easily transported and planted. If there's much more of it, maybe not. If this jet was shot down long ago and had its wreckage saved as a prop and later dropped here to prove jet-on-market action ... what does that say about later alleged jet-on-market attacks?

Damascus Suburbs  Douma  2015-06-30  
VDC lists 12 dead - unusually gender-mixed, 7 men, 3 boys, 1 woman, 1 girl. The girl and one boy are named al-Tout, names of a boy and man killed in the August 16 market attack there. The names Seyroul and Shehab at least also appear in both attacks.

Hasakeh  Jeesi Village  2015-01-20 VDC lists 42 civilians killed, no non-civilians. Notes: "Several people martyred in a massacre due to the regime helicopter forces' shelling with explosive barrels of the sheeps market in Khansaa village"  38 men, 4 women, no children (possible error). Family names: Matar x17 (all 4 women, 13 men, all children listed as adult, unlikely). 13 are unidentified, maybe more Matars for all we know. The other 12 are  all men of  mixed names with no repeats. Matars are mostly from " Jeesi Village" but died inTal Hmes. Unidentified are all from Qamishli: Tal Hmes.Mixed-names from villages Zarqaa, Abo Jeren, Wawiyeh, unspecified, but all died in Tal Hmes, after the bombing Khansaa (??)
Generic Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRVQuxbKMyU&feature=youtu.be
Generic Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEjKv2DnZyQ
Generic Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_Q9wq21l0o

Wadi Barada, Damascus Suburbs 2013-10-25  Explosion - 152 dead - 132 men, 17 boys, 2 women, 1 girl. "Dozens of civilians were killed as a result of a car bomb explosion in front of the "Osama bin Zaid" mosque, in Wadi Barada main market, after the "Friday prayers"‬" Location: northwest edge of Damascus. It killed 132 men and 20 others, besides an unclear number who presumably survived. This strange case, covered here at ACLOS, has strange link to another mosque car-bombing nearby a month earlier, an odd victim who allegedly died in the second one a month after being injured in the first- or was he the bomb-maker? Further, by victim names and locale, these both might connect to the Moadamiya portion of the August 21 Ghouta chemical attack (see here).

Darkoush, Idlib 2013-10-14  explosion - 38 dead - 32 men, 4 boys, 2 women, 0 girls. "Car bomb attack that left several dead civilians in a massacre in Darkoush Market" The men killed include "Abdo Ali al-Qaq" a rare family name with its link to a later alleged chlorine attack and more (see here)

Idlib Ariha  2013-07-21  Shelling
26 dead (22 men, 2 boys, 2 women) "Massacre claimed the lives of many of the martyrs by regime forces shelling of the city's main market" (was government-held)Generic Videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6vAxg3Kt2U&feature=youtu.be Generic Videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhU4uHPEhTs&feature=youtu.be 

Tartous  2011-04-23 - this, just a month into protests, killing citizens from calm Tartous, with shooting .... that's not the usual pattern. VDC lists 3 men from Alsafsafa/ Al Sawda Village/ Saheal Akkar killed by shooting, named Hanash, Shaheen, and Issa. Martyrdom location damascus- Jobar. They were far out of town. Notes: Die while he was in his way to Sook Alhal Market at damascus. All three are listed as farmers, 2 aged 30, one unspecified. Tartous is an Alawite-majority district. They were safe at home but were shot dead in Jobar. Hmmm....

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