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Friday, January 15, 2016

Mohammad Khaled al-Tout: #CaesarPhotos Victim Profile

#CaesarPhotos Victim Profile: Mohammad Khaled al-Tout
January 15, 2016 
(incomplete, last edits Jan. 18)

Another of the many men allegedly "martyred under torture in the regime`s prisons" and then identified from the "Caesar" photos is Mohammad Khaled al-Tout, (VDC English entry - محمد خالد التوت  and Syrian Shuhada entry, citing that). He was a civilian, age 31, from Douma, Damascus - currently Islamist-occupied, but not so clear at the relevant time. Cause of Death: Detention - Torture. Date of death is given as 2015-03-10 but as usual, at least for the "Caesar" photo victims, they note the actual date is unknown - this is when they listed him, following identifications and media reports at the Ides of March.

The VDC (Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria) explains "he was arrested in the 10th month in 2012 while he was taking his daughter to Jeroud hospital for treatment." What happened to his daughter isn't explained, but he was apparently held for 8-9 months and slightly starved by his captors. Other abuses include - at least - something that damaged or removed his eyes, leaving them looking black and burned red all around. This could be eye-gouging like so many photo victims suffered, something chemical like it seems many also suffered or - also common - both of these.

This is according to the photo identified as him released from the file of "Caesar torture photos," with VDC's crop shown at right. The photo's caretakers at the SAFMCD have this entry, eyes blurred. By the "Caesar" ID system, he's victim #2620 from Military Intelligence branch 227, "zone branch," documented in a photo in the folder labeled 7-7-2013. This should cover the span since the last folder (I've noticed) of June 24, presumably killed in that span (but really, any picture can be put in a folder of any name, metadata can be faked, and even that's missing here).

Mohammed is a rare in being a "Caesar" photo victim identified as a resident of Douma. The SNHR collected 772 purported victim IDs "amongst which 123 victims were recorded in our database before Caesar’s photos were published." Only 4 of those 772 were from Douma, none of which they had listed before.  (see PDF report here) And he was apparently the first one to be named; of 266 identified earlier, as listed here March 21 by Syrian Reporter, only one is from Douma: Mohammed Khaled al-Tout.

It should be noted all names, there and in this post, including Mohammed's, are alleged. They're quite likely true, but possibly laundered to hide details that would mean something to those who know. But we'll just use the given names noting they may not be true.

In the VDC database, was he ever listed missing or arrested? I searched in Arabic to avoid transliteration differences for the name  التوت (note: the name auto-translates to "berries.")

* al-Tout, missing = 0
They're all where they should be, or accounted for anyway. Some disappeared but it's known where: regime dungeons.

* al-Tout detained = 10, all from Douma (entries opened and switched to English, by flipping /ar to /en in the url). These include:

* Only one Mohammed: Muhammad Saleh al-Tut, from Douma, Detention Date 2012-05-05, but "detention date is inaccurate." It usually is, and that seems to mean these people were not reported at the time of detention but only later, often once they're killed. That's intriguing. These groups try to document everyone taken by "the regime," so vagueness like this is consistent with people taken captive by the rebel side. He's also in the "never came back" category: release date: 0000-00-00. This could be the same man later seen in the "Caesar" photos, if the arrest date is wrong enough in one or the other (May but inaccurate vs. October - and accurate?), and if the middle name is wrong in one (Saleh vs. Khaled). That's possible, but more likely, this is another Mohammed al-Tout, and they simply did not list anything about the one's arrest, even though they later claimed to know when it happened. That's interesting.

Three have arrest dates the same day or a bit earlier:
* Yaser al-Tout (not translated). Detention Date 2012-05-05. Release Date 0000-00-00. No further notes (even to say it's inaccurate).
Yasen al-Tut was taken "was detained while going to work," and drove too close to someone's checkpoint, at which time armed men identified him as someone worth abducting. We're to presume it's government men.  April 28 (not mentioned if accurate or not)
* Belal al-Tout arrested April 4 (but inaccurate)

Two others were arrested from their home(s) nine days after Mohammed Saleh's inaccurate arrest date, but these sound more like known dates:
* Hussam Abdulgane al-Tout -2012-05-14 He was detained from his house - Release Date 2012-07-14 Notes The release date is inaccurate. (is it supposed to be 000-00-00?)
* Tawfeq Abdulgane al-Tout 2012-05-14 He was detained from his house. Release Date  0000-00-00.

Aside from Hussam, all these men - like the photo victim under study would - have release date 000-00-00, never released, possibly killed but just not known, since it's deep in the regime's dungeons.

6 men listed as taken, most or all not released, in a span of 40 days. That's out of 10 listed all time. Another is a man named Ayman, taken earlier (Feb. 3). One listed later (June 28) is a presumably different Yaser al-Tout (but possibly a repeat). The other is a woman, taken later, maybe: Roqaya Tot, Detention date (2014-03-01) is inaccurate, she is detained with (her) daughter." The daughter may be listed, under her father's name (women keep "maiden names" here). Is this still regime forces, in Army of Islam-dominated Douma, abducting women and their daughters? 

What truly made this family stand out? We don't know. This family name appears on the martyr's list moderately; There are 2 rebel fighters killed on different fronts (presumably Sunnis then), and the rest civilians killed locally (most likely also Sunnis, but...).  they would continue having bad luck in Douma, frequently losing members to alleged market bombings and other shelling attacks, as partly covered here at ACLOS:
29 al-Touts killed (+ one Totanji) - 18 by "shelling" or "warplane shelling"
Of the 29 listed as killed, 3 are from Saqba, Damascus suburbs (both FSA rebels and a student). The other 26 are civilians from Douma. These include: a boy and a girl killed in a June 30, 2015 market attack, and a man and a boy (with a horribly burned face and oozing mucous) who died in the August 16 market attack (a proven rebel false-flag attack, apparently covering for a massacre of captives). Then 3 more children died on August 30 - a boy and 2 girls "due to the shelling." A man died in a 10/30 market attack, and another in December 13 from "air forces shelling with vacuum missiles and cluster bombs." Three men and seven children - this family bucks the usual trend of 90% male victims, doesn't it? It's almost as if someone had already chased off or killed off most of the al-Tout men they hated, and was whittling away at the rest.

Otherwise, a civilian al-Tout man (hostage?) was shot during clashes with the Army (that is, as the army closed in on the rebel's location) in October 2015. And a boy starved to death December 3.  Those who starve clear to death are more likely than not to be captives, deliberately starved.   

Further back, an interesting entry: "Abu Ahmad" al-Tout (VDC - Syrian Shuhada) was shot on or before October 5, 2012, and died then "Due to the injuries he sustained." That's the same month our subject Mohammed Khaled was reportedly arrested. Was this a second round of Tout-targeting that year? But Mohammed is the only one on the list given as killed by detention-anything. The 7-8 men, woman and girl detained  ...  none are listed as dead, yet ... but chances seem decent the men are also among the "Caesar" photo victims.

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