HEADLINES

Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Dara’a

Published on (June 1, 2011) in Human Rights Watch.

Killings, Torture in a Locked-Down City Under Siege. Systematic killings and torture by Syrian security forces in the city of Daraa since protests began there on March 18, 2011, strongly suggest that these qualify as crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. (June 1, 2011).

The 54-page report, “‘We’ve Never Seen Such Horror’: Crimes against Humanity in Daraa,” is based on more than 50 interviews with victims and witnesses to abuses.

Bodies of people killed by Syrian security

Bodies of people killed by Syrian security forces during protests in Daraa city, stored in a mobile refrigerator, (May 4, 2011. © 2011 Private)

The report focuses on violations in Daraa governorate, where some of the worst violence took place after protests seeking greater freedoms began in various parts of the country.

The specifics went largely unreported due to the information blockade imposed by the Syrian authorities. Victims and witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch described systematic killings, beatings, torture using electroshock devices, and detention of people seeking medical care.”

“For more than two months now, Syrian security forces have been killing and torturing their own people with complete impunity,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“They need to stop – and if they don’t, it is the Security Council’s responsibility to make sure that the people responsible face justice.”

The Syrian government should take immediate steps to halt the excessive use of lethal force by security forces, Human Rights Watch said. The United Nations Security Council should impose sanctions and press Syria for accountability and, if it doesn’t respond adequately, refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The protests first broke out in Daraa in response to the detention and torture of 15 children accused of painting graffiti slogans calling for the government’s downfall. In response and since then, security forces have repeatedly and systematically opened fire on overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrators.

soldier holds little girl down

Syria: Soldier holds little girl down with his foot and holds gun to her head. (Photo: @free_media_hub)

The security forces have killed at least 418 people in the Daraa governorate alone, and more than 887 across Syria, according to local activists who have been maintaining a list of those killed. Exact numbers are impossible to verify.

Witnesses from Daraa interviewed by Human Rights Watch provided consistent accounts of security forces using lethal force against protesters and bystanders, in most cases without advance warning or any effort to disperse the protesters by nonviolent means. Members of various branches of the mukhabarat (security services) and numerous snipers positioned on rooftops deliberately targeted the protesters, and many of the victims had lethal head, neck, and chest wounds. Human Rights Watch documented a number of cases in which security forces participating in the operations against protesters in Daraa and other cities had received “shoot-to-kill” orders from their commanders.

Some of the deadliest incidents Human Rights Watch documented include:

  • An attack on al-Omari mosque, which served as a rallying point for protesters and a makeshift hospital for the wounded protesters, and attacks on ensuing protests from March 23 to 25, killing more than 30 protesters;
  • Attacks on demonstrators during two protests on April 8, resulting in at least 25 deaths;
  • Attacks during a protest and a funeral procession in the town of Izraa on April 22 and 23, resulting in at least 34 deaths;
  • Killings during the blockade of Daraa and neighboring villages beginning on April 25, and during an effort by residents of neighboring towns to break the siege on April 29, which left up to 200 dead.

Nine witnesses from the towns of Tafas, Tseel, and Sahem al-Golan described to Human Rights Watch one of these attacks which happened on April 29, when thousands or people from towns surrounding Daraa attempted to break the blockade on the city. Witnesses said that the security forces stopped the protesters who were trying to approach Daraa at a checkpoint near the Western entrance of Daraa city.

One of the witnesses from the town of Tseel who participated in the protest said:

“We stopped there, waiting for more people to arrive. We held olive branches, and posters saying we want to bring food and water to Daraa. We had canisters with water and food parcels with us. Eventually thousands of people gathered on the road – the crowd stretched for some six kilometers.”

“Then we started moving closer to the checkpoint. We shouted ‘peaceful, peaceful,’ and in response they opened fire. Security forces were everywhere, in the fields nearby, on a water tank behind the checkpoint, on the roof of a nearby factory, and in the trees, and the fire came from all sides. People started running, falling, trying to carry the wounded away. Nine people from Tseel were wounded there and one of them died.”

Another witness, from Tafas, said: 

“There was no warning, no firing in the air. It was simply an ambush. There was gunfire from all sides, from automatic guns. Security forces were positioned in the fields along the road, and on the roofs of the buildings.

They were deliberately targeting people. Most injuries were in the head and chest. Two men from Tafas were killed there: 22-year-old Muhammad Aiman Baradan and 38-year-old Ziad Hreidin. Ziad stood next to me when a sniper bullet hit him in the head. He died on the spot.

Altogether, 62 people were killed and more than a hundred wounded, I assisted with their transportation to Tafas hospital.”

Syrian authorities repeatedly blamed the protesters in Daraa for initiating the violence and accused them of attacking security forces.

All of the testimony collected by Human Rights Watch indicates, however, that the protests were in most cases peaceful.

Blood and body

Syria: No child should ever see this kind of violence. A young boy looking at sidewalk where a bloodied corpse is wrapped in a sheet. (Photo: @free_media_hub)

Human Rights Watch documented several incidents in which, in response to the killings of protesters, Daraa residents resorted to violence, setting cars and buildings on fire, and killing members of the security forces. Human Rights Watch said that such incidents should be further investigated, but that they by no means justify the massive and systematic use of lethal force against the demonstrators.

Syrian authorities also routinely denied wounded protesters access to medical assistance by preventing ambulances from reaching the wounded, and on several occasions opening fire on medical personnel or rescuers who tried to carry the wounded away. Security forces took control of most of the hospitals in Daraa and detained the wounded who were brought in. As a result, many wounded people avoided the hospitals and were treated in makeshift hospitals with limited facilities.

In at least two cases documented by Human Rights Watch, people died because they were denied needed medical care.

Click on the link below to read the rest of this report.

Human Rights Watch: Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Daraa

Click Picture for a Popular Article

  • Journalist Deniz Yücel, along with four others, have been jailed pending trial on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation and inciting the public to violence.
  • Mona Relief Charity on Go Fund Me makes it easy and safe to donate. No amount is too small, or too large.
  • Ray Rivera, left, a DJ at Pulse Orlando nightclub, is consoled by a friend, outside of the Orlando Police Department after a shooting involving multiple fatalities at the nightclub, Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
  • American socialist organisation, the BPP, which at its height reached around 5,000 members, before disintegrating due to a campaign of state terror and internal problems.. Free Huey Newton, Black Panther Rally San Francisco, May 1, 1969.
  • The May 18-21 festival appeared to be a Saudi charm offensive aimed at federal policy makers as the Trudeau government fields questions about its decision to grant export permits for the armoured vehicles to a country that U.S. watchdog Freedom House regularly ranks among “the worst of the worst” on human rights. The Saudi embassy blamed “logistical reasons” for its last-minute change of plans when contacted Monday and a spokesperson said the country’s decision was not motivated by fear of protesters. Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion’s office had already said he would not be attending the “Saudi Cultural Days in Canada.” The embassy was adamant the event “had nothing to do” with the $15-billion arms deal and said it had been planned for years. Canada’s Department of Global Affairs, however, said it was notified of the “Cultural Days” on Jan. 14. That date was nearly two weeks after mass executions in Saudi Arabia drew public condemnation from the Trudeau government.
  • Codepink protesters outside the NRA headquarters, Fairfax, Virginia June 19, 2016. (Photo: CODEPINK).
  • The Canadian Delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, May 1945. (Photo: Public Domain). (Alistair Reign News Blog www.AlistairReignBlog.com).
  • Refugee-girl-cries-as-her-Central-American-shanty-town-is-destroyed-0714-by-Spencer-Platt
  • Mission The Islamic State are trying to create 'a state that does not recognise the previous borders of Iraq or Syria,' said Dr. Anne Aly, a Research Fellow at Curtin University. (Photo/source: Daily Mail Australia).
  • A U.S. Marine Corps recruit with Company F, 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, provides security aboard Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 25, 2016. The recruit simulated providing security while the rest of the recruits carried ammo cans to their fighting holes to simulate combat preparation. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps by Lance Cpl. Erick J. ClarosVillalta).
  • Two homeless brothers try to survive on the streets of India.
  • Painted on the side of a building in Bristol, southwest England - home of the celebrated graffiti artist Banksy - the image reprises a 1979 photograph of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German President Erich Honecker kissing, which was later turned into a mural on the Berlin Wall. It was commissioned by pro-EU campaign group "We are Europe" as what they call a warning of things to come if Britons vote to leave the 28-member bloc on June 23, as advocated by both Johnson and Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate in November's U.S. presidential election. Johnson is the "Out" campaign's best-known leader and Trump has said Britain would be "better off without" the EU, which he has blamed for Europe's migration crisis.
  • Paramedics rush to the scene at the capital of Faso terrorist attack by Al-Qiada on January 15, 2016. The attack comes less than two months after a terrorist attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Malian capital Bamako on November 20 in which 20 people died including 14 foreigners.

Click Picture for a Popular Cartoon

  • The moment Bruce Jenner realized he was a woman
  • Donald Trump for President
  • Paul Ryan Retires
  • Where's Steve - Satire Cartoon
  • Includes Meryl Streep's full Golden Globe speech, a peek at her stage performance where she play Donald Trump, SAG Speeches: Ashton Kutcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman, Lily Tomlin and others, as well as talk show host's comments and interviews. Tied together with indie music and skits of Peter Griffin of Family Guy playing Donald Trump.
  • Caption this winner sept 1
  • Trump Trudeau State Dinner.
  • Satire: USA Denies Whites Can Be Terrorist
  • Donald Trump and a Cheshire cat have the same smug smile.

Start a Conversation or Write a Caption This joke.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.