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

  • Refugee-girl-cries-as-her-Central-American-shanty-town-is-destroyed-0714-by-Spencer-Platt
  • People searched for survivors in the rubble of houses destroyed by an airstrike in Sana, Yemen, on June 12. (Photo: Mohamed Al-Sayaghi/Reuters) alistairreignblog.com
  • A question I have been asked many times since I began covering the humanitarian crisis in Yemen; who is taking care of the war orphans in Yemen? It appears the world has forgotten them, perhaps because they are not considered refugee orphans, nobody is paying attention to the gross crimes against these little ones - committed at the hands of an invading regime - Saudi Arabia.. children isleep nside a pitt in the ground, it is now normal for adults to put children to sleep in a large hole to ptotect child from snipers andcluster bombs that spray shrapnel Yemen.
  • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) will receive $20 million – under the Advanced Manufacturing Fund (AMF) – to establish and operate the Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies. January 13, 2006. (Photo: Adam Scotti). AlistairReignBlog.com
  • A malnourished child lies on a weighing machine at a therapeutic feeding Centre at Al Sabyeen hospital in Sana’a. (Reuters)
  • 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).
  • Souhayla, a 16-year-old girl who escaped the Islamic State after three years of captivity, at her uncle’s home in Shariya Camp, Iraq. Credit Alex Potter for The New York Times
  • Faces of the women who had their lives cut short by Pickton.
  • Women to be placed on Canadian bank notes. Merna Forster helps prove that the adage is true, one voice can raise the voices of many. Forster is from British Columbia's provincial capital, Victoria, and her petition has brought about recognition to an overlooked wrong that required "righting" - and that she did with an impressive 73,402 signatures.
  • Geopolitics: Today's Yemen In One Map. Yemeni Civil War: The Territorial Control as of March 1st, 2016. In March, the Yemen’s embattled president Hadi fled Yemen by sea and arrives in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, as Saudi Arabia and its allies launch military operations in Yemen to defend Hadi’s government.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes Syrian refugees to Canada late Thursday night at Pearson International airport
  • UNICEF estimates nearly 400 children have been killed and over 600 injured in the past four months in the country, the poorest in the Middle East. 13 Yemeni teaching staff and four children were killed by a Saudi air strike on August 20. Two days before, coalition bombing in the Amran province took the lives of 17 civilians, injuring 20 more. UNICEF condemned what it called the “senseless bloodshed.” A Red Cross spokeswoman said the violence in Ta’iz, in southern Yemen, in just one day on August 21 left 80 people dead.
  • People light candles at the scene of a massive car bomb attack in Karada, a busy shopping district where people were shopping for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday, in the center of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 3, 2016. More than 100 people died Sunday in a car bombing that the Islamic extremist militia group said it carried out, an official of the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

Click Picture for a Popular Cartoon

  • Who is PM Stephen Harper
  • Donald Trump and a Cheshire cat have the same smug smile.
  • In episode two he addresses the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the humanitarian catastrophe in the impoverished Republic of Yemen. Minhaj warns America to reconsider their attitude toward Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • Take Our Poll: Come on in and decide for yourself! Who worked the puffy white shirt best?
  • I hate Monday
  • Satire: USA Denies Whites Can Be Terrorist
  • Sesame Street - Grouch Apprentice with Donald Grump
  • Britney Spears Looking Hot in black leather in Toxic music video. who was sexiest? Britney in Toxic or Taylor Swift in Bad Blood
  • Way-back Machine: Who Vogue'd It Best? Take our poll at Alistair Reign News Blog: AlistairReignBlog.com

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.