Damascus Suburb, #Syria: night demo in Qara
KILIS, Turkey — Dozens of Syrian expatriates from a convoy barred from taking aid into Syria camped overnight near Turkey’s border with their homeland in a protest against President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on protests.
Drawn from California to the Arab Gulf, up to 150 people, mainly Syrian diaspora, had come to Turkey to join a campaign launched on the social network website Facebook for a “Freedom Convoy to Syria.”
“I am participating here to send a message to the people of Syria that the people abroad stand with them. We are also sending a message to the regime that Syrians abroad care,” Amar Babelli, a customs clearance officer in Dublin, told Reuters.
Now 43, Babelli left Syria to study abroad when he was 19, but he plans to go home if Assad is forced from power by protests and a growing armed insurgency.
“After the regime collapses and democracy is established, I plan to be there. I’m sure the regime is finished but it is costing a lot of lives,” he said, at the camp set up on a baseball pitch surrounded by muddy fields near the town of Kilis, some 15 km (10 miles) from the border.
The convoy of buses and cars had left Gaziantep, a city in southeast Turkey, Thursday, only to be denied entry to Syria a few hours later.
Wrapped in blankets, some 35 activists emerged from their flimsy tents Friday morning shivering against the cold and rain. They had kept spirits up chanting protest slogans and singing Arabic songs.
RETURN TO BORDER
Turkish soldiers handed out cups of hot tea, but the Turkish authorities said they had not extended official support.
“It was absolutely freezing. It was one of the toughest nights we have ever had. But it was also one of the most enjoyable nights,” said Hussam Arwani, 27, who runs a family business in Dubai, but hails from Hama, a town that is one of the focal points of resistance against Assad.
“We spoke all night long. We shared all of the things which we’ve experienced. We tried to feel what our people inside Syria are feeling,” he said.
Others members of the convoy spent the night in nearby towns.
The protesters planned to visit the border again later on Friday and aimed to stay in the region for three days.
Some of the activists said their own relatives had been killed by Assad’s security forces, others said they had left Syria after being tortured, while some came from families who had quit the country decades earlier, when Assad’s father carried out an even more violent repression.
“My father left the country in 1981 after the massacre in Hama… He was beaten and tortured,” said Mazen Hachimi, a 29-year-old credit risk analyst from Riyadh.
“It is the hope of all of Syrians abroad to rebuild our country, into a democratic one without extremists forces.”
Tarif Khashaneh, 39, left his home in a Damascus suburb in March, when the anti-Assad protests broke out, and found work with an IT company in Saudi Arabia.
“We are trying to help to relieve the suffering of the people there. but there is no way to reach them. By being here we are sending the message that we share their suffering,” Khashaneh said.
Wearing a pre-Assad green, white and black Syrian flag wrapped around his neck, Khashaneh said there were proposals for more protest action in Turkey’s southeast province of Hatay, where several thousand Syrian refugees have been given shelter in camps.
“God willing, next time we will protest in Antakya and we will bring more people, more than a thousand, thousands.”
Damascus Suburbs, Hamah, #Syria: Removing Bashar al Assad’s name from the arch at the city’s entrance
MOADEMIYA, Damascus Suburbs, #Syria: 1 Jan 2012:
A child who was previously detained gives his testimony to an Arab League observer on the regime forces crimes, saying …it [the car] chased me, they ganged up on me, took me inside the car, beat me up. He also mentioned electric shocks.
By Hadi Tarfi
The escalation of protests calling for the ouster of the regime and the subsequent increase in the number of political detainees in the country necessitated providing more space in Syrian prisons. For this reason, all Iranian prisoners were sent back home.
Thousands of Iranian prisoners serving jail sentences mainly on drugs and riot charges have been released by the Syrian authorities and returned home, said a source that spoke to Al Arabiya on condition of anonymity.
“A convict who was handed a life sentence for drug dealing has recently returned to Iran and confirmed that all other Iranian prisoners were released and are all now back in Iran,” the source told Al Arabiya.
According to the source, this unexpected step aims at emptying Syrian prisons that are now ready to receive as many revolutionaries and political activists as possible.
Syrian opposition statistics confirm that the number of political detainees has so far reached 100,000, the majority of which kept in deplorable conditions.
The number of prisoners confirmed by U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Nafy Bilari was 14,000.
According to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, the detainees are usually subjected to extreme torture and many of them die in the process and some are thrown in the streets.
The observatory announced finding Saturday the bodies of four Syrian citizens, who were arrested Friday night by security forces and regime thugs, thrown in the streets of the city of al-Hawla in the governorate of Homs. The bodies showed signs of torture.
A fifth citizen, the observatory added, was also found in a critical condition.
The observatory called upon the Arab League observers’ committee to head to Hula and document the flagrant human rights violations committed by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Arrests of Syrians involved in anti-regime protests, the observatory stated, continued in several parts of the country.
According to the observatory, army forces in tanks and armored vehicles stormed the town of Basar al-Harir in the southwestern governorate of Daraa looking for dissident army officers hiding there. Those officers, said the observatory, will most likely face the same fate as other dissidents who were killed Monday in Jabal al-Zawya in the northwestern governorate of Idlib.
The observatory also announced Friday the death of two citizens in the city of Nawa in Daraa, one of whom is a 15-year-old, in addition to 11 in Homs, two in the city of Duma in the Rif Dimashq governorate, three in the city of Hama, and three in Idlib as well as one in the governorate of Deir az-Zor.
In addition, at least 44 were killed and more than 150 injured in the explosion of two booby-trapped cars in front of two intelligence buildings in the heart of the capital Damascus. The regime claimed the attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda while the opposition accused the regime of planning them.
Activists detained in Syria have spoken about their experiences and said they were either tortured by security forces or made to confess to crimes they did not commit. (Al Arabiya)
By Mohamed Zeid Mestou
Al Arabiya Beirut
The testimonies of Syrian activists detained by security forces for taking part in anti-regime protests serve to expose another face of the horror that has been unraveling in the country since last March.
In addition to seeing their comrades killed under their very eyes, detainees are either brutally tortured or forced to make fabricated confessions or both. In any case, the result of what they all refer to as “the black times” is irreversible physical and psychological damages.
A university student from the northeastern city of Deir ez-Zor who was arrested for organizing protests in Damascus suffered severed injuries in his vertebral column and subsequent walking difficulties after he was tortured in the Air Fore Intelligence base in the capital. The student, who has been receiving physiotherapy since his release, said that he saw five of the detainees in his cell die.
“They were unable to breathe. Security forces placed 32 people in a cell designed for solitary confinement,” he told Al Arabiya.
Another young man from the governorate of Rif Dimashq in the southwest told a similar story when he said that more than 35 detainees were placed in a small cell.
“We had to take turns to sleep and it was impossible for any of the injured in those cells to get medical treatment.”
A third protestor who is originally from the Golan Heights but moved to Rif Dimashq said he sustained a serious injury in his shoulder.
“My left arm stopped moving and I am currently receiving physiotherapy.”
According to former detainees interviewed by Al Arabiya, the degree of torture differs from one detainee to the other, but many survivors might end up totally paralyzed.
What is striking, they added, is that most of the times security forces are aware that the detainees have no information to give out, but they keep torturing them as if it gives them pleasure to do so.
Marwa al-Ghimian, the first female detainee since the start of the Syrian revolution and who was arrested on March 15 and detained in the Political Security headquarters, was brutally beaten by security forces.
“They hit me on the head with a table and dragged me by the hair. They kicked me and banged my head against the wall. All that while cussing and calling me names.”
After being released, Ghimian was arrested for a second time and placed in solitary confinement in a small cell that she described as a “box” in the Military Security headquarters.
“It was a very cold place and I spent a whole week alone there totally isolated from the outside world.”
Another detainee from the city of Darayya in Rif Dimashq said he suffers from convulsions in the middle of his sleep as a result of the torture to which he was subjected in the Air Force Intelligence base in Damascus.
“The sounds of other people screaming around while being tortured have also been haunting me in my dreams,” said the activist, who was accused of transferring money from officials in Arab countries to protestors in Syria.
An army officer, who was arrested after refusing to shoot at protestors, said he was placed in a small cell with 30 other detainees and all of them listened to the screams of torture all the time.
“They put their shoes in our food and sometimes they spat in it,” he said in earlier statements to Al Arabiya.
He added that security officers would keep knocking on the doors of their cells all the time to make sure they did not get any rest or sleep.
“I was also placed in a suspended iron cage for days and was always given the impression that I was going to be killed any minute.”
Not all those tortured managed to survive, though, for hundreds were tortured to death throughout the past few months based reports issued by the Syrian Revolution General Commission.
According to the commission, 204 people, including one woman and eight children died in Syrian detention centers since the start of the revolution.
The commission’s report stated that security forces use a variety of torture methods, the most common of which is electrocution, breaking bones and teeth, and gouging eyes—the last was specifically done with an activist who used to take pictures of the regime’s brutal practices against civilians. This, the report added, is besides stealing the organs of dead activists.
According to the report, out of the killed activists, 112 come from the city of Homs, 22 from Damascus and Rif Dimashq, 19 from Idlib, 12 from Hama, five from Deir ez-Zor, three from Aleppo, three from Latakia, and one from Jebleh.
The report stated that some of the activists who are still detained are tortured on daily basis and that sometimes the torture would last for 24 hours.
According to activists, most of the charges leveled against detainees are fabricated and have nothing to do with what they really do.
An activist from Rif Dimashq said he was accused of belonging to al-Qaeda and planning a series of bombings in his hometown. Meanwhile, a dissenting officer was charged with infiltrating the Syrian army for the purpose of carrying out terrorist operations.
In the same vein, a telecommunication engineer in Damascus was accused by the Political Security bureau of receiving money from foreign countries to organize a coup in Syria.
“They forced me to make televised statements about receiving money from abroad and coordinating with several media outlets to circulate false news about Syria,” he said.
Several former detainees were similarly forced to do confess to planning terrorist operations and spreading rumors about the Syrian regime.
“The Revolution Council in Rif Demashq”
Since morning the slaughterhouse was raided. 2 pickups, 2 Zil, and 2 Toyota Macro-buses left the state security branch, they were full of elements, and they headed to Al-Shuhada square. The army surrounded Al-Hajjariya neighborhood, and attacked Al-Baghdadi mosque firing heavily at people in the area, while the people were appealing to the troops, on loudspeakers, to stop firing. Electricity was cut off in the 2 areas of Al-Hajjariya and Abdul-Raouf.
Despite the heavy presence of security surrounding Al-Saliq mosque and insulting worshipers with profanities when worshipers exit the mosque, and dispersing them by force, still the people gathered from many mosques chanting from freedom and cursing the soul of Hafez [late president and father of current president] promising that the fall of the regime is close. The army and security attacked, fired at, and chased the protesters in the allies and into the buildings’ doors, the cat and mouse chases went on for a long while, and man was arrested opposite to Al-Tawhid mosque.
The regime punished the neighborhoods that have been coming out in demonstrations by cutting of electricity, which is a form of state terrorism prohibited by international laws. Note that all forms of communications are completely cut off in the city. The humanitarian situation is very bad and the city is living in a state close to a curfew due to the heavy deployment of security who terrorized the people. Some of the most affected areas is Al-Hajjariya, the areas around the mosques of bdul-Raouf and Al-Tawhid, and Al-Quwatli Street; these areas are suffering under collective punishment because they have been coming out in peaceful demonstrations against security and Shabhia (regime-sponsored gangs).
Since morning, the army was heavily deployed and the mosques were surrounded to prevent demonstrations, on Friday dubbed “The buffer zone is our demand”, 2 Dec 2011
The people of Douma city came out in a demonstration from Taha mosque despite the heavy security presence in front of the mosque, on Friday dubbed “The buffer zone is our demand”, 2 Dec 2011
Tens of cases of asphyxia and more than seven people are wounded, one of them with serious injury with Alpmpkhn rifles. Most of the mosques in the city are under siege, and in AlArnoos Mosque, people are allowed to eneter their mosque by showing their identity.
A demonstration took off in the city, but it was faced with attack from the security forces and there was an exchange of stone throwing which led to many wounded.
The Army surrounded Al-Khawlani Mosque in the city to prevent a demonstration from taking off with the presence of the army heavily in the town.
The security forces surrounded Ali Ibn Abi Talib Mosque at Al-Jameeiyah Circle and they directed their machine-guns toward the worshipers as they were leaving after the prayer, while Adunia (government sponsored) news Channel was filming. The security forces stood behind the camera with their guns pointed at the people saying: see there is nothing, everything is peaceful and to prove that there was no demonstration
There is a wide spread for the security forces in Ar-Rawda St., Az-Zaitoona St. and the main street with the presence of security forces patrols in front of every mosque to prevent people from praying with peace and tranquility. In addition, there was a heavily and wide spread to the security forces and army fully armed all over the city surrounding the mosques placing heavy machine guns in front of the mosques and only allowing people to enter the mosques after checking their identities
The city was occupied completely by the security forces both main and sub- streets were occupied to block the way to A-lHallalah neighborhood.
The people were not allowed by the security forces –which spread heavily around the mosque- to enter Musaab Mosque except with identity. They arrested two or more men in front of the mosque after the prayer immediately. The Security forces with their buses entered the city today touring the town and spread widely at the main mosques waiting to restrain any demonstration, but despite their efforts a joint demonstration took off from Assalam Mosque representing Darayyiah and Al-Qadam singing for victory and calling for a Buffer Zone for protection.
Starting at 11:30 AM the security forces stormed the town in large numbers, backed by armored vehicles and tanks spreading snipers on the roofs around the mosques and the main circle, they deployed machine guns and put up barcodes. At about 3:30 PM some men started chanting the security forces opened their fire shooting randomly resulting in several wounded falling. At about 4:30 the security forces pulled out to the outskirt of the city. After the evening prayer a massive demonstration took off from At-Tawba Mosque and Aljamee AlKabeer chanting for the cities which are under siege and demanding a buffer zone for protection.
Despite the wide spread of the security forces a demonstration took off from AlUmary Mosque.
The Security forces put up Barricades in the street with widespread for the security forces in the streets and the snipers over the roofs around the mosques to restrain any demonstration.
The security forces entered the town stationing in the main center and all main entrance which lead to it.
Despite the wreckage, devastation and the destruction that that security forces left in Rankoos, the city gets up from under the ashes and the debris to chant: we will not bow down to the regime, either we get victory or we die as a martyr.
The mosques were under siege by the security forces to restrain people from demonstrating, but after the departure of the security forces a demonstration took place chanting with loud voice as their voice were reaching to the sky: God is Greater than our oppressor.
The Syrian Revolution Coordination Committee of Douma (Duma) City
Today’s evening; activists heard sounds of heavy gunfire coming from the direction of the State Security building, 2 ambulances were spotted heading from the building towards the cemetery. It turns out, according to the page of the Battalion of Ubaida Bin Al-Jarrah [from the Free Syrian Army - FSA], there were clashes between them and Shabiha (regime-sponsored gangs). The FSA launched a Bazooka rocket at the State Security building, and there are confirmed reports of some troops and security forces which moved towards the Municipal Stadium in Douma city in perpetration for an upcoming operation either inside or outside the city.
Yesterday, at 10 PM, Opposite of the Chamber of Agriculture, a man was shot by a temporary checkpoint-barricade, and he was seen being dragged almost dead. Also, civilian cars were searching and arresting people.
Douma’s female students came out in beautiful demonstration issuing from the schools’ yards. Also after giving condolences at Anjila mosque, Douma’s men headed to Al-Fawwal mosque chanting for toppling the regime and saluting the cities of Rankous and Homs. Some of the banners held were saying: Each Arab moratorium = 30 martyrs, each Turkish condemnation = 50 martyrs, each international denunciation = 100 martyrs, total = 6,500 martyrs. And “We thank sister Libya for supporting the FSA.”
We got the news of the martyrdom of Abdul-Rahman Maslemaniya Harira, he died under torture by security forces on the day before yesterday, and he was arrested 2 days at Al-Abasiyin carage, when he was insulting Bashar publically, one of those cooperating with Shabiha caught him and asked him to get in a taxi car with him to take him to Douma, the informer then handed him over to Shabiha who chastised him in their usual manner…then he was taken to the hospital and died. The martyr is survived by 3 children; one of his sons has been detained for days. We obtained information that a relative of the martyr, who is influential, in an attempt to hide the crime, ordered the family of the martyr to bury him in secret, so his funeral procession was carried out inappropriately; many of the martyrs relatives are faithful to the regime and work for it, but that did not prevent the regime from killing one of them under torture!
A nighttime demonstration during the evening held for martyr Muhammad Bakkar, who was killed by security and Shabiha, 28 Nov 2011
The army and a line of cars at the entrance to Douma, 28 Nov 2011
Female students held a demonstration in the school’s yard, 28 Nov 2011
Military aircraft flying over the cemetery during the funeral procession of Muhammad Ali Bakkar, 26 Nov 2011
The army deployed in the city, this is from Al-Masaken neighborhood, 25 Nov 2011