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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Syria: Crushed Women in Rastan

Syria: Crushed Women in Rastan

On August 28, the Syrian Network For Human Rights reported: at least 2 women died in government warplanes missiles fired on Al Rastan city in Homs governorate, August 28, 2016.
الشبكة السورية: سيدتان على الأقل، توفيتا جراء قصف الطيران الحربي الحكومي بالصواريخ مدينة الرستن بمحافظة حمص، في 28 آب 2016

No further details. One woman is shown in a photo, sort of crushed and rolled to the edge as two concrete slabs came together in a building collapse. Presumably, the story is she was living there, as the dishes suggest, and when it was bombed, everything just came out like this. She might have been living alone and/or "in sin" to some - no dead husband mentioned, and look at those modern, tight pants, with spangles. She wasn't a real salafist, apparently. And that bright pink head-scarf ... or is it red and white pin-stripes? Or tie-died?
Looking closer ... beneath her head scarf is a large head wound we can only see part of. It seems fatal, and to be done while the scarf wasn't on - the fabric doesn't seem torn like her head is. And the color issue is all white cloth plus blood.

It's possible this is all from the jumbling violence where some reinforcing bar pierced her skull while the scarf was pulled back, and then later the it slid back to partly cover the wound. But it's also possible she was shot or stabbed in the head, had that wrapped up with a new headscarf, and her body was placed in some abandoned building - probably with its walls already gone. It might be arrayed with some dishes, all visibly along the edge, before the structure was collapsed on her body as a propaganda stunt. 

I think that's quite likely what happened; they just planted the body of someone they killed, because they're terrorist assholes. They figured it would all come out looking close enough. 

In case we get an alleged attack time here, note: photo is mid-morning (could be measured for solar elevation). Most blood is dry, but there was a lot, and the thickest of it is still tacky. The possibly blood-smeared object to the right is of some interest.  I don't know what that it - some kind of mattress?

Who was she? SNHR had said "at least two women" killed, suggesting both more people and more women were possibly killed.  VDC query: all civilians from Rastan killed Aug. 28 = 1: Ayda Hamdan, adult female, married, killed by warplane shelling, and no further details. The entry includes this "generic video" of others being treated in a clinic in Rastan for genuine-seeming but light injuries. There's no second Rastan woman. 

But there's supposed to be another woman.... VDC shows a total of three women from Homs province dying this day. And this same Rastan video is attached to one of those, from Der Baalba, (northern Homs city), killed the same way. One could presumes she died in Der Baalba, but warplanes don't shell there much. Was she displaced somehow, to Rastan, to then die along with this other woman? VDC query: all Der Baalba deaths on 8-28 = 3. That woman, and the other Homs woman, and her husband.

So that's presumably one of these three women we see squished here.

The married couple share the same family name al-Merei ( المرعي ) - suggesting not very traditional Islamic people. Women usually keep their fathers' names if devout Muslims, so the father and the children have one family name, and the mother has another. These kind of "Western-style," all-one-name families fare poorly for things like getting displaced within rebel-held areas, and then dying elsewhere under alleged Assad bombs in the kind of ignored, daily mini-massacres that really add up over years. See also Hayan Missile Massacre recently, near Aleppo: 2-3 wives with the same name (Qraitem) as 5-8 kids killed alongside them, and same as 3 men killed all at once two weeks earlier (all sorting and killing was, of course by regime aircraft...).

In this case, however, the man and woman are listed together, not separated like usual. Any children, however, seem separated and not dead. They're supposed to be spared, and can be re-educated. Also, I checked the name Marei, and it doesn't have much of a clear pattern - no recent child deaths, one man from Halfaya the next day, one man each from Aleppo and from Rastan  and one that's a "FSA" rebel, in the preceding weeks, etc.

But back to the Hayan case - that connected by one Qraitem man and many from another family killed earlier, in a June 4 barrel bomb attack with a boy somehow crushed between a concrete slab and a section of demolition chute. How that could happen is unclear, but some turned the photo upside-down to claim he was crushed by an un-exploded barrel bomb!

Below: Grisly pic, taken from here and turned right-side-up, and grisly notes:

Note, blood clearly drips down. But not much of it. He was probably dead well before the slab came down. Someone laid his body across the chute, after the massive wound across his upper face wasn't even bleeding any longer. Only when the slab came down was a little thick blood up in his sinuses jarred loose  to make this splatter.

Turning horribly-executed women and children into more victims of "Assad's" bombing ... it's that easy, or usually, even easier. In fact, this is one of the more elaborate methods I've seen.


  1. There are several videos of the incident that show context.


    1. Thanks, Petri! Good to see you here again. Will review at least partly, soon.

  2. Not up to adding yet, but main new feature: the slab is longer, over her head at first, and then shorter, as seen in the photo. Was a concrete cutter involved? It would cut in a line very close to where her head wound was. Is this why, or why they might say, she has that wound?:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se0LDMV_pPc - more clothes and bedding shown (slab is larger here than in photo, so her head is actually beneath it, already bleeding)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiZBFxQ9MNc - blood dripping, wetter/fresher than I though - man checks if she's alive (same time as photo, just a bit earlier - full slab present - wound looks more like two parrallel stab wounds from this angle?)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O9rlHk05W4 - setting up the lift? (full slab)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5G9UetsFpk - Moment recover the body of a woman martyr from the rubble - slab lifted, body pulled out (White Helmets video - like photo, slab is now shorter)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVWEilOU948 - presumably her body, covered, offloaded from an ambulance
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEBlJVe0prA - body pulled out, different angle
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJccCmrtx-I - generic Rastan
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRu3TpeuTvs - generic

  3. Is he?

  4. Your observation and analysis is excellent. I found that mentioned profile on the basis of your description. If it is taken that they were just killed by the terrorists and dumped there, her husband/male-relative is probably a Shia/Christian and of course pro-Syria-government supporter or even activist (strong hints are there). His profile is empty/inaccessible, but his profile picture shows a rare photo of Gamal Abdel Nasser, one of most important faces of Arab socialist nationalism. Also, he has (alive or not) very close relation to erstwhile Lebanese National Front of Resistance,as his Facebook groups show, which strengthens my view.He was against Erdogan as well. He was a supporter of Pro-Assad Popular Front for the Liberation Iskenderun Brigade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qS7aKvuLq4) which means that he was close to revolutionary socialists. There is absolutely no doubt that this person is an active member of anti-American & Pro-Assad militia somewhere in the north east west of Syria bordering Turkey, but not a part of Hezbollah, perhaps for his stern left inclination. He is a strong supporter of Atef Najib, the political security chief in the city of Daraa, and a cousin of Dr. Assad.
    I cannot relate him to the lady killed in the context, but guess, there may be a relation between the two.

    1. Okay, politics could be read from this - that's supposed to be Nasser washing his hands? Could be. ... and it's not a very common name, Merei ... not super rare either. So I don't know. how did you decide NW Syria?

    2. In case you didn't see it, the husband of the couple has just his name http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/details/martyrs/177114 But from Der Baalbeh, Homs. Has a photo that could be matched (if that Khaled has photos). The FSA fighter has a name suggesting his father was named Khaled. http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/details/martyrs/175885#.V9nTn62rH-t


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