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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bakriyeh Family Deaths

Bakriyeh Family Deaths
May 16-17, 2018
edits Jan. 12, 2019

"The entire Bakrieh family in Douma were found in a heap on the bathroom floor," eleven of them exactly, all dying together after failing to stop the chlorine/nerve agent assault by sitting in the bathroom and washing themselves. Their main source is "Abdullah Abu Homam, a local volunteer."
He says “we believe they tried to rinse themselves in vain. Eventually they must have realised it was over so they drew closer together and died." Why they never tried getting away from the toxic fumes is unexplained.

So allegedly, this is pretty much them, the bodies in the washroom, but with no name-to-face IDs offered yet. Most are seen here:

And these three around the corner:

Videos and photos show 12 bodies in the bathroom at the first views. One woman here, being pregnant, is probably the one claimed for another family (allegedly Fatmeh Qarout, married to alleged survivor Khaled Nuseir). Excluding her, we would have 11.

The Douma-based VDC has records listing 11 people with the name Bakriyeh. But most women in Syria keep father's names. The exceptions are exceptionally "modern" and Western-oriented people, and mainly Christians. It doesn't seem to apply here, given the details below. So for this many people, including 3 babies still in diapers, there should be some married people: at least one Bakriyeh man with a wife of her own name, besides the children bearing his, or a Bakriyeh woman married to a guy with another name, and their children with his name, or one of each, etc. To really include the family as a realistic whole, it will have to be more than the 11 listed here. It's unclear how widely these relations carry over into the tally of 35 people at this site - or even to the 6-8 or more from another site. I wouldn't be surprised to learn all of the were related by blood or intermarriage, even at two remote locales. I also wouldn't be surprised if they weren't all related. Maybe there were two or three targeted families...

Anyway... in the order they appear on the VDC's list of 35:
4 Mohammad Tawfeq Bakriyeh - Adult - Male
5 Rateb Bakriyeh - Adult - Male
14 Mohammad Rateb Bakriyeh - Adult - Male (likely son of the same Rateb)
16 Haytham Bakriyeh - Adult - Male
19 Ali Bakriyeh - Adult - Male 
11 Rahaf Bakriyeh - Child - Female
12 Jouri Diab Bakriyeh - Child - Female
13 Hadeel Bakriyeh - Adult - Female
17 Hanadi Bakriyeh - Adult - Female
18 Qamar Diab Bakriyeh - Adult - Female
20 Jouri Bakriyeh - Adult - Female

Note: middle names tend to be the first name of a person's father. Everyone has a middle name, or even two of them, but most just aren't given Why some are isn't totally clear. #12 and 18 should probably be sisters, with a father named Diab. #20 should be a different Jouri, with a different and middle name not given. But it's possibly a double-listing of Jouri Diab, with each version a bit different.

Comparing, it seems the bathroom bodies could be the 11 Bakriyeh entries. 4 males, 5 females, and 2 unclear infants are seen, compared to the VDC's 5 male, 6 female (they have issues with boys and girls listed as adults). Is this a whole family of 11, all named Bakriyeh? Did they really pile themselves here, or were they just dumped and arranged together? Just by name relation, even at the expense of splitting up nuclear families?

First, there's no real guarantee these are the victims' real names. Their true identities seem hard or impossible to prove. But the given names in these records do often prove valid, and as the only thing to go on, we proceed with them and a grain of salt. If this is the real family name of those killed, here's the significance:

The name Bakriyeh translates virgin, and is rendered so in Arabic - بكرية - with no "al" prefix. It's not a common name: VDC lists these 11 and 6 others for a total of 17 killed in the conflict from 2011 to now (Arabic list to avoid transliteration problems). All but one clearly hail from Douma, and the other likely does. The other six (entries rendered back to English):

* 2012-3-23 Fahid Mohammad Dyab Bakrieh 3-23-2012, adult male, age 22, from Douma. Notes: "shot in the heart by a sniper's gunfire"
Video of the killed person (x 2, both now deleted accounts) Videos suggest opposition people somehow got the body, as usual, as with Sari Saoud and others ...
Working video here:

Note the double middle name suggests his father's name is Mohamed Diab Bakriyeh. He should be in his mid-40's perhaps... Fahid might have an older brother taking the prized name Diab Mohamed Diab Bakriyeh, maybe age 24 or so at this time...

* 2013-05-08 Mayass Ali Bakrieh, adult female, from Heet, Daraa, killed by shelling. "She Was Martyred a result of the shelling of military Air forces of the regime forces With her Husband- wife of the martyr Hani" (chcking, this refers to Hani Saleh Badaweh, whose daughter died too this day - all 3 from Heet). This entry may not connect. But her father would be named Ali, a common first name. A man named Ali Bakriyeh is listed as dying in the April gas massacre. Note she keeps her maiden name upon marriage... considering the rest of these entries, she's likely from Douma to begin with, moving with her husband to Heet.

* 2014-04-04 Mohammad Dyab Bakrieh, adult male, age 46, not married, it says. non-civilian: "FSA" and "Chief of Staff" of whichever formation "FSA" means. Some branches might manage to run afoul of both the state and, say, Jaish al-Islam, the hardcore Sunni extremist faction running Douma since mid-2012. (FSA here means Douma's Martyr's Brigade, which definitely did suffer friction - see below for more detail). It's hardly possible to be FSA and a Christian. He should be a Sunni Muslim. His wife would have a different last name from him, as should his mother and any daughters-in-law. Three photos in military uniform, 2 with weapons, another shown here. 
He died of shooting on April 4, 2014, it says, in "Damascus Suburbs: Mleha." "Martyred during the clashes with the regime`s army forces , called as Abo Fahed Alkhal (uncle)." For what it's worth, he looked like this afterwards:

How can he be Abu anyone (father of) unless he's married? Maybe widowed ... note the guy he's father of is named Fahed, just like the first entry, Fahed with a father named Mohamed Diab Bakriyeh ...   regime already shot his son, maybe they killed his wife too, and he fights on with FSA for 2 years before they got him, 2 years after his son, but shot in a fair fight.

Yet in a total coincidence...

* 2014-04-04 Amjad Diab Bakrieh from Douma was killed by regime shelling the same day. Civilian man, unmarried, age not given. His father should be named Diab, just like the FSA chief of staff. Just by rare names, we could almost presume these men are brothers. But the age difference suggested ... unclear. He may be a much younger brother. Some kind of relative anyway, killed the same day in a different way, by total coincidence. with an image after death provided. wrapped for burial? Still dressed and not washed? If so, not a good sign...

(deleted section on possible chemical death - too speculative to bother with)

* 2015-02-09 Ammar Haitham Bakreih, boy, "Martyred due to regime`s army forces shelling" - weird look - red skin, some smoke/burning, wrapped head as if head wounded, thick pink foam, as if breathing through bloody fluids clogging the airways - rather similar to the alleged FAE victims with burned faces linked to the Douma Market attack in August, 2015 -  a clear false-flag event involving many people killed ahead of schedule in some covered-up manner that looks a little bit like the rocket attack it clearly wasn't.  But some of those also had foam from the nose and, as I reasoned there, fire accelerants likely used will have some toxic fumes, and might cause airway damage and subsequent foaming - it's not proof of a chemical weapons-type death. But it is still consistent. His dad would be named Haitham. A man named Haytham Bakriyeh died in the April gas massacre.

* 2017-1-12 shelling Samah Ayman Dyab Bakrieh Mother's Name: Ameera. Age 18, marital status unknown. Her father should be Ayman Dyab Bakrieh - a third son of the same Diab? He should be at least 35-ish, likely in his 40s or even older. Here, he doesn't die, but loses a daughter. No images. Last entry until the 2018 massacre.
Among the 11 Bakriyehs gassed on April 7, two females have the middle name Diab, usually meaning it was their father's name. This list agrees Qamar Diab Bakriyeh was an adult female, while Juri Diab Bakriyeh was a child. (another Jouri Bakriyeh has no middle name given, listed as adult - possible double-listing, or a relative, perhaps namesake.)
a girl and a woman with the same middle name suggests they're sisters on either side of womanhood. Ages, say 19 and 15, so this Diab Bakriyeh would likely be 36+. Even 6 years later, he's probably too old to be the first victim's hypothesized older brother (would be more like 30 now). Unless woman is being counted here at 15, or 13. Then the girls might be 13 and 11, and it would fit fine. But even then, it could be just a coincidence.

Mohamed Diab Bakriyeh, Douma Martyr's Battalion, and Army of Islam
There is some cause for concern here. A few quickly collected sources each shed some light.

Sunday, April 6, 2014 (via http://www.arab-army.com/t85358p790-topic)
in a major SAA assault on the 4th, opposition forces "lost 55 dead and two of their military commanders, one of them Mohammad Diab Bakkaria, commander of the Duma Martyrs Brigade and (one of) the most prominent leaders of the armed opposition in the eastern Ghouta." Reinforcements came, perhaps a bit too late, "from the most important stronghold of the Army of Islam and Zahran Alloush in the eastern Ghouta, which will be directly threatened if the army took over the militia." On the day commander Bakriyeh died, as we hear it in Mleha, it sounds like Alloush considered this Douma Martyr's Brigade (DMB) an allied force holding the Islamist line. It's possible the "reinforcements" sent actually killed the commander, if they had reason to (like not liking him, and preferring the guy who would replace him). But most logically, he died in the fighting... except that a possible brother or other relative was killed the same day. The usual death rate for Bakriyehs is more like one a year, not two in a day.

And both before and after the DMB commander's death, plenty of signs of friction between the groups, besides that continuous slow picking-off of his kin by regime this and regime that.

Oct. 24, 2013, Aaron Lund on disputes at the time of Alloush's re-branding as Army of Islam and founding a new Islamic Front, in September, 2013. This explains how a Douma Mujahedin Council was formed from several groups in March, 2013 - (app. announcement video, March 1 - Mr. Bakriyeh's son was shot dead about 3 weeks later, for what it's worth) Lund explains "Abu Subhi Taha of the large and well-established Douma Martyrs’ Brigade was appointed president, while Zahran Alloush of the Islam Brigade led the Shoura Council, its politico-religious executive body," a seemingly lesser position. But after this, complaints grew dramatically against Alloush's harsh Islamism and rule by force, including a public conflict with Razan Zaitouneh of the opposition Violations Documentation Center (VDC). Several armed groups who agreed with Zaitouneh soon dissolved the old council;  "On October 13, the new council structure was set up, presumably marginalizing Alloush’s adherents in favor of Abu Subhi Taha and his allies." "Judging by appearances, it was a straighforward coup against the Islam Army leader," Lund wrote. Counter-charges and moves from Alloush and supporters ensued, and louder complaints from activists siding against Alloush came in response.

He said the Islamist movement cannot have two heads (he actually says that later/below, but same idea). Nearly everyone else said "so fall off, already." He moved to chop them off instead. Razan Zaitouneh would be abducted and apparently killed in December, 2013 - never seen again. It's widely believed to be ordered by Alloush. The VDC she helped found would carry on... at this same time, early December, Jaish al-Islam worked with Jabhat al-Nusra, and possibly ISIS, in a raid of nearby Adra, massacring many civilians and kidnapping hundreds of others, along sectarian lines (mainly Alawites and Christians were killed and stolen). Soon the Adra captives and other prisoners were used as salves to help the Army of Islam dig the massive tunnel system beneath much of east Ghouta as they dug in for a long-term occupation, and continued war against the Syrian government, Syria's people, and as needed with other opposition groups as well.

Syria’s Eastern Ghouta: A Chaotic Conflict of Brigades
By: Laith al-Khatib
December 20, 2013
"The list of brigades that dominate Ghouta is seemingly endless. In eastern Ghouta there is the Islam Brigade, later known as the Army of Islam. Jobar is dominated by Haron al-Rashid Battalion, affiliated with al-Habib al-Mustafa Brigade and the Sham al-Rassoul Brigade. Harasta has the Capital’s Armors, Fatah al-Sham, Um al-Qora, and Douma Martyrs Brigades."
Harasta (next to but not Douma) has DMB? Were they not allowed to operate in Douma? Army of Islam started from Douma, but by now was said to be the native force of the whole East Ghouta area (all other areas mentioned are sub-sets of East Ghouta). They were deeply in charge, capable of stopping or steering other groups that might oppose their plans, making them move shop, etc.

"The Army of Islam ...through its huge information database, it can control all operations in eastern Ghouta. “It has critical information about the armed opposition structure and has conducted detailed studies about its members, on top of its information about the state’s security bodies and the regular army,” said a source. These capabilities may prove that the Army of Islam is backed by regional intelligence agencies." The report mentions the group's well-known Saudi support, as well as indirect financial support through Kuwaiti donors, making funds for other groups dependent on their cooperating with Alloush.

In April 2014, Douma Martyr's Brigade is apparently cooperating with and getting reinforcements from Alloush, but losing their top commander. He was replaced by someone.. other things happened, and whatever agreements there were broke down again sometime of the following five months.

Then came the most famous episode of opposition to Alloush and Jaish al-Islam rule, with the brief and sad story of Jaish al-Umma (army of the MUSLIM PEOPLE, as opposed to ISLAM. Sharp point.). Wikipedia:
On 19 September 2014, 10 small rebel groups formed the Jaysh al-Ummah.[1] The leader of Jaysh al-Islam, part of the Islamic Front, Zahran Alloush, condemned the formation by saying that "there cannot be two heads for the same body". This immediately resulted in tensions and sporadic clashes between the two groups.[10]
On 29 September 2014, the leader of Jaysh al-Ummah survived an assassination attempt,[11] but his deputy was killed.[12] On 19 October 2014, a second assassination attempt was made on him. The attack wounded him and killed his son.[12]
On 1 January 2015, the newly formed Lions of Justice Brigade joined the coalition.[5]
On 3 January 2015, two leaders of Jaysh al-Ummah were assassinated by unknown gunmen.[5] The next day, Jaysh al-Islam declared war on Jaysh al-Ummah and captured its leader and seized its headquarters in Douma within a span of 6 hours. It also issued an arrest warrant against the deputy Nizar Khabbini. During the clashes, the Lions of Ghouta Brigade surrendered to Jaysh al-Islam, while 1,500 members of Jaysh al-Ummah were invited to join the ranks of the Islamic Front.[4][8] Majid Khayba, commander of Jaysh al-Ummah's Douma Martyrs Brigade, was also captured.[13] On 1 September 2015, he was executed by Jaysh al-Islam by firing squad.[6]
On 9 March 2015, the remaining fighters of the Jaysh al-Ummah in Eastern Ghouta, alongside al-Anfal Brigade, defected to Syrian government forces.[2]

Douma Marty's Brigade sounds like the most central force in this uprising - the least islamist in nature, or the largest one leaning that way. Top members were killed and arrested, with one from DMB later executed. Only some elements were invited to join them in the Islamist coalition, and these guys weren't pat of it. Those who escaped the purge stopped rebelling at all, and sided with the Syrian government in its fight against the Islamist monster ruling Douma and ruthlessly absorbing all opposition. It seems the presumably Saudi intelligence help and other assistance - to such an asshole outfit - made them way too effective and ruthless for their own good. Others he rubbed the wrong way likely helped betray his position well enough that the Syrian air force was able to kill Zahran Alloush and several top commanders on Christmas day, 2015. Jaish al-Islam carried on with its control of East Ghouta until the offensives of early 2018 whittled that down to Douma and then nothing. But Alloush's death seems to mark the start of a long slide from quite a height of power.

And this central opposition group's top commander at one time is the guy killed long after his son, the same day as some relative, before other relatives were picked off by regime-this and regime-that. Were other members perhaps taken hostage and held as bargaining chips? Surely that would be seen as fair game. Finally 11+ relatives, including more distant-seeming ones, were pooled together with others (some at least are surely related by marriage), and offed with chemicals during Jaish al-Islam's last stand. These allegedly pooled themselves so, and were chosen at random by a regime helicopter dropping its toxic payload. But of course we need to question such accusations and probe for answers that make more sense and might be closer to the full truth.

Add 5-18:
April 14, 2018 - just a week after the chemical massacre, one Mustafa Muhammad Diab Bakiriyeh, from Douma, was killed fighting on the Aleppo front. (or with a group called Jabhat al-Halab?)
From a corroborating list mentioning the recent "liberation" of Douma, he was apparently fighting alongside the Syrian Army. (credit:Qoppa 999)
By his name, it's quite likely Mustafa was another son of the fallen Mohamed Diab.

But a Mohamed Bakriyeh was cited days earlier (April 9) as a spokesman for an opposition party in Daraa claiming to have foiled an ISIS-linked infiltration attempt. 

And how about arrests? (starter credit:Qoppa 999)
regime prisoners, by Aug. 8, 2012
#137 Khaled Diab Bkariah
VDC: 7 detainees, in 3 groups of relatives taken in 3 early bursts, allegedly by government forces. Fate from there unclear ATM.
2011 10-29 - app. brothers
Eid Diab Bakriyeh
Ali Diab Bakriyeh
2012-4-20 - the other app. brother
Khaled Diab Bakriyeh
notes for him: "The date of detention is inaccurate" (perhaps same as the others?) (also, he seems to be the only one still listed as held months later)
Is it possible all 3 of these are brothers of Mohamed Diab, the DMB commander? And Ayman Diab, Amjad Diab .... not likely.

2012 5-03: brothers (noted) each "arrested by the regime following the raid on his home in Al-Hajari in Duma"
- Abdo Boukaria, age 25
- Muwafaq Bakriyah

5-30-2012 (most recent) apparent father and son from Daraa province
Naeem Bakriyeh
Louay Naeem Bakriyeh

No one of this name arrested (by the government) ever since then? Huh. They also got behind the revolution after these early arrests and killings...


  1. Speculating a bit.. but if all their water did have to be collected in a container, when sheltering from bombing for a long time I keep thinking they would surely have just taken the water down to the basement.

    Something else that bugs me: Diaa (father of Masa + Malaz) is supposedly in another basement on the same street. Interview on the BBC:


    For some reason they are only told to "get down on the floor" when a helicopter goes by. If they are all just neighbours hiding in a basement, who are "some guys"? Was someone 'in charge' of the people in these basements?

    1. Actually the BBC subtitles seem to be wrong, they are told to "go down one floor" not "get down on the floor".

    2. ok, Diaa is not a site survivor I missed. Who are the guys that happened to be there? Maybe some guys on the radio? Yeah, maybe.

      As for water, turned off vs. collected - not sure but I gather they collect water a lot, and pump city water to the rooftop tanks anyway, and use gravity to run sinks, etc. Collection on the roof would be the right spot and the spigots would work, depending on amount. Early spring, likely decent.

    3. Would be too late for a radio warning as Diaa says he actually heard the helicopter - heavy shelling ok but a helicopter turns up and everyone needs to go into the basement?

      #27 on your map of victims is next to 2 water(?) cans I think, next to the washing machine.


      I think there was a better picture somewhere showing another standing to the left.

      There is what looks like a shower head in the basement, something you might take if you were displaced / not their own house / have to go somewhere else to wash?


      Can't see any signs of water or food in the basement.. perhaps they had to be people liked by JaI to get to shelter in tunnels and have food of course.


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