#SYRIA, ALEPPO - ASSAD’S FORCES ABDUCT, TORTURE & EXECUTE.
Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:18am EDT
* Team reports abuses by both sides since ceasefire took hold
* Shelling and arrests by Syrian forces; executions by rebels
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, April 16 (Reuters) - U.N. human rights investigators said on Monday they had received reports of shelling and arrests by Syrian forces since the ceasefire, as well as executions of some soldiers captured by rebels, although the level of violence generally was lower.
The team led by Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro said it hoped the truce brokered by international mediator Kofi Annan last week would hold and help put an end to gross human rights violations that it has documented over the past six months.
In a statement, it also voiced concern at what it called the “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Syria where tens of thousands of civilians fled escalating fighting in the run-up to the fragile ceasefire that took effect last week.
It acknowledged generally lower levels of violence in some areas, but was seriously concerned over accounts of a number of incidents since the truce.
These included “the shelling of the Khaldieh neighbourhood and other districts in Homs by government forces and the use of heavy weaponry, such as machineguns in other areas, including Idlib and some suburbs of Damascus.
“The commission is also concerned by reports of new arrests, especially in Hama and Aleppo,” it said.
The team, which reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, has not been allowed into Syria, but has interviewed refugees and gathered testimony in neighbouring countries.
“The Commission also continued to receive reports of human rights abuses committed by anti-government armed groups engaged in fighting against the Syrian army during and after the ceasefire, including extra-judicial killings of soldiers captured during armed confrontations,” it said.
A handful of soldiers in blue caps put a tentative United Nations presence at the heart of the Syrian crisis on Monday, predicting success for their mission to stabilise a shaky four-day-old ceasefire even as shells continued to fall.
In their last report issued on Feb. 23, the U.N. investigators said that they had evidence that Syrian forces had committed crimes against humanity including murder, abductions and torture under orders from the “highest level” of army and government officials.
ABDUCTED SYRIAN ACTIVIST AT RISK OF TORTURE
Pro- reform activist Georges Moubayed w as abducted on 10 January 2012 and remains held at an unknown location by a group believed to be linked to the Syrian authorities. On 12 January , his family received a phone-call in which he said he had been shot in the leg and the abductors demanded a ransom for his release . He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Georges Moubayed, a jeweller aged 62, was abducted after leaving his house in the Jaramana district of the capital Damascus. He had participated in pro-reform demonstrations in the city, which he had promoted via Facebook, and also gave financial and other support to families of activists who have died during the protests and unrest. Two days after his abduction, he phoned his daughter in France to say he had been captured and that he had been shot in the leg. The abductors then told her that they were demanding a ransom of 30 million Syrian Lira (about $500,000) for his release.
Thousands of pro-reform activists have been detained since March last year by the security forces and members of pro-government shabiha gangs. Torture and other ill-treatment has been widespread, and more than 235 people are reported to have died in custody.
Please write immediately in English, Arabic or French or your own language:
Expressing concern that Georges Moubayed is held at an unknown location by a group believed to be linked to the state and at risk of torture and ill-treatment or even death;
Calling on the Syrian authorities to ensure that Georges Moubayed is released immediately, given any necessary medical treatment and is able to return to his home safely;
Calling on the Syria authorities to ensure that all attacks against pro-reform activists are investigated thoroughly and that those responsible are brought to justice
P LEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 1 MARCH 2012 TO :
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410
Salutation: Your Excellency
Ministry of Interior
His Excellency Major General Mohamad Ibrahim al-Shaar
Minister of Interior
‘Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 311 0554
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 214 6251/6252/6253
Salutation: Your Excellency
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
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Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
ABDUCTED SYRIAN ACTIVIST AT RISK OF TORTURE
Pro-reform demonstrations began in Syria in February 2011 and evolved into mass protests in mid-March. The Syrian authorities have responded in the most brutal manner in their efforts to suppress them. Amnesty International has obtained the names of more than 4,600 people reported to have died or been killed during, or in connection with, the protests and unrest. Many are believed to have been shot by security forces using live ammunition while participating in peaceful protests or attending funerals of people killed in earlier protests. Members of the security forces have also been killed, some by defecting members of the army and others who have taken up arms against the government.
Thousands of people have been arrested, with many held incommunicado at unknown locations at which torture and other ill-treatment are reported to be rife. Over 235 people are reported to have died in custody in highly suspicious circumstances since 1 April 2011.
The Syrian state has multiple security and intelligence agencies in addition to even more opaque groups, often armed but not necessarily uniformed, who also carry out abductions, killings and other abuses in apparent coordination with, or at least approval of, state officials. Amnesty International has also received reports of armed individuals threatening, abusing and, in some cases, killing people perceived to be linked to or supportive of the state.
Name: Georges Moubayed
Gender m/f: m
UA: 16/12 Index: MDE 24/004/2012 Issue Date: 19 January 2012
Armed forces raided villages, detaining people and later returning bodies, say Sunni families sheltering in northern Lebanon, some of whom recognized Alawite neighbors among the militiamen.
December 16, 2011, 9:26 p.m.
In a rocky valley at the northern tip of Lebanon, three generations of a Syrian farming family cluster around a small gas heater in the derelict schoolhouse that has become their refuge.
When there is electricity, they are glued to the television, which transmits grainy amateur video of chanting protesters and bloodied bodies just across the border in their strife-torn home province of Homs.
Interrupting one another in a rush to be heard, family members describe communities under siege by an iron-fisted state, and village turning against village in a chilling cycle of abductions, beatings and killings. The account given by the family, echoed by others across a valley brimming with refugees, illustrates Syria’s descent from a mostly peaceful uprising into ferocious bloodletting that in some places is beginning to resemble civil war.
Around Homs, military defectors and civilians, most of them members of the Sunni Muslim majority, are taking up arms to defend their communities against security forces controlled bymembers of President Bashar Assad’s minority Alawite sect, a small Shiite Muslim offshoot. Sunnis have dominated the antigovernment protests.
Bodies have been dumped in the streets, conjuring images of the sectarian killing that ripped apart neighboring Iraq. So far, particularly in larger, more cosmopolitan cities, the ethnic and religious strife appears to be well short of that seen in Iraq.
But the city of Homs and the surrounding patchwork of villages where farmers grow grapes, nuts and olives are a microcosm of the country’s combustible mix of people. There, refugees say, it may already be too late to avoid lasting damage.
“What do you want to do when you see Bashar?” the matriarch of the 21-member clan prompted a grandson. Eyes downcast, the shy 14-year-old responded: “I want to hang him.”
Like others who spoke to The Times, the woman asked to be identified by a traditional nickname, Um Faris, and that the name of their small village not be used for fear of the reach of Assad’s security forces. Because foreign reporters have mostly been barred from Syria, the family’s stories couldn’t be independently corroborated. But their accounts were consistent with reports from human rights groups and anti-Assad activists.
Leaders in this valley, so close that explosions in Syria can be heard, say that as many as 3,000 refugees are being sheltered here by families and in schools.
Um Faris’ family, Sunnis, chafed under the Assad family, which has controlled the government for decades. But they never dared speak out.
Besides, said her husband, Abu Faris, the head of the family, life was comfortable enough. Frustrated by what they saw as a lack of opportunity for Sunnis, he and several sons spent decades working as carpenters in Saudi Arabia. The money they sent back furnished four homes on 12 acres for the growing family.
“You didn’t think of protesting,” Abu Faris said.
But when they saw popular uprisings topple longtime rulers in Tunisia and Egypt early this year, they began to wonder whether Syria too could change. At first, only a few men from the family took part in small marches down the main road of their village. But when security forces opened fire in March, allegedly shooting one of the protesters in the head, the whole family was galvanized into action.
“Even I would take part,” said the matriarch, a formidable presence in a faded, floral-print robe.
“We would write ‘freedom’ on his cheeks and take him,” said her husband, nodding toward a 4-year-old crouched in his grandmother’s lap and chewing on her worry beads.
The more lives lost, the bigger the protests became, they said. Before sunrise one August morning, electricity in the village was cut and armed forces swooped in.
Peeking through a crack in the bathroom wall, a granddaughter made a video on her cellphone of what she said were truckloads of troops rolling past their home.
Hoping they would leave the family alone, Abu Faris said, he went out to offer the men water. But he said they descended on his home, smashing dishes and furniture, snatching computers and knocking down the ceiling fans. Seven young men in the family were lined up against a wall at gunpoint with their hands above their heads.
“I don’t know what stopped them from shooting,” his wife said. “This small boy,” she said, indicating the grandchild in her lap, “they grabbed his hand and said, ‘Do you want us to cut this finger or that finger?’”
Among those taking part in the raid were people they said they recognized from a neighboring Alawite village who had joined pro-Assad militias known as the shabiha, an expression derived from the Arabic word for ghosts. Assad retains considerable support among minorities who fear they will be killed if the government falls.
Seventy-five people were arrested in the village that day, according to the family. The bodies of two were returned to their families and, of the others, three have not been heard from since, they said.
Son Abu Abdu, 35, said he attended the funeral of another Sunni, who witnesses said had been seized from a taxi by militiamen in an Alawite village. The man’s family was told to collect his decapitated body from a hospital in Homs, he said.
Abu Faris said he thought the slaying was in revenge for the killing of an Alawite who would come to their village to hire workers. He blamed that death on security forces, who he said were trying to ignite a sectarian war. But he conceded that no one really knows.
His wife said Alawites used to come to their farm to buy butter, milk and cheese, and that members of the family would go to Alawite villages if they needed a refrigerator or television set.
“We were very close before,” she said. “But after the army came, no one had the courage to visit the other.”
Even the Alawite veterinarian, a longtime friend, refused to come vaccinate their cows. Abu Faris asked him why. “He said, ‘You are killing people over there,’” Abu Faris said.
Family members say security forces were preventing people from leaving their village. But using the ruse of visiting relatives for a religious holiday, they piled into two minivans in September and fled. Although the border has been mined, they say families cross almost every day using long-established smuggling routes.
In another abandoned school nearby, now home to more than 20 families, a gaunt young painter named Abu Farad and his pale, expressionless wife related a painful loss and a much more difficult time fleeing Syria. Abu Farad cradled his newborn son.
They came from the southern Dara region, where he said he would sit on friends’ shoulders and lead protest chants.
Security forces came looking for him, and when they didn’t find him, took away the couple’s 3-year-old son. Soon after, Abu Farad was caught. In detention, he was beaten, cut with razor blades, given electric shocks and then left on the street for dead. Friends found him and hid him.
He then learned that his home had been shelled. He raced back to find a pile of rubble. That’s when his wife told him their son’s body had been returned with three bullet wounds.
“My blood boiled,” he said. He grabbed a hunting rifle and ran into the streets. But he didn’t have the heart to fire it.
When the couple fled, Abu Farad’s wife was eight months pregnant with their second child. They walked for four days, with a bottle of water and two loaves of bread to sustain them. They reached Lebanon late last month and found refuge in the corner of a classroom here.
Days later, their second son was born.
Many refugees here are convinced that it is only a matter of time before Assad falls, but some fear that such brutality will continue tearing at Syria’s social fabric.
“Even if the regime falls,” Abu Faris said sadly, “there is no trust between us now.”
Marrouch is a special correspondent.
Source: Los Angeles Times
By the Syrian Revolution General Commission – In Occupied Hama and The Revolution in Hama Archive found at http://www.hamafree.com/index.php?name=city
1. Safwan Al-Ali Al-Jissi.
2. Abdul-Sattar Al-Jasim.
3. Abdul-Sattar Shbat.
4. Ibrahim Al-Issa.
5. Abdul-Aziz Al-Shayesh.
6. Subhi Al-Satouf Al-Hremlawi.
7. Amin Al-Satouf Al-Hremlawi.
8. Wahid Al-Boulad.
9. Fadi Khaled Al-Uqla, was killed by slitting his throat with a knife.
10. Maweid Khaled Al-Uqla, was killed by slitting his throat with a knife.
11. Muhammed Abdul-Razzaq Darwish.
The above are the 11 martyrs we were able to document out of more than 20 martyrs who were killed today at dawn in Al-Tarmiseh town in rural Hama.
12. Uthman Ibrahim Al-Saloum, from Al-Latamneh town in rural Hama, he lived in Al-Zaka village, and he was killed in the area of Tal Al-Sekkin by 30 bullets of an automatic weapon.
Rural Hama, and especially the town of Al-Tarmiseh witnessed a savage campaign by regime forces, resulting in the death of dozens of innocent civilians. Hama province has a general strike under the banner “[Anything] but out free women”
• At 5 AM, the town was surrounded from 4 directions, that is it was encircled from Khnaizir road, Al-Jadida road, Al-Safsafiya road, and Al-Jelmeh road. The storming of the town by more than 150 army vehicles was carried out at the same time of exiting the mosques after dawn’s prayers, in an insane and indiscriminately, the army, security, and Shabiha (regime-sponsored gangs) started firing directly, and without a warning, on the worshipers and on the homes, causing the death of more than 20 martyrs, 11 of whom we documented at the beginning of this report.
• The army, security, and Shabiha, killed those who ran away from the savage attack, including the wounded and those who were running for their lives at the entrances of the village. The dead bodies were put in army vehicles and taken away with the troops to Mesyaf town; after troops and Shabiha abducted every martyr’s body. The army and security told the people of Al-Tarmiseh to go to Mesyaf town to identify and receive the dead bodies.
• More than 60 persons were lost, it is believed that they are killed, arrested, or displaced. One of those lost is Najdat Khalouf and his son.
• The regime forces withdrew at around 3:30, and then they were re-gathered at the western roundabout of Mehrada.
• The martyrs Muhammad Abdul-Razzaq, 14 years old and young man Safwan Al-Ali Al-Jisi were buried today.
• After this savage campaign on Al-Tarmiseh, new regime forces with more than 80 military vehicles arrived at Al-Majdal village, it is feared that the area close by Al-Majdal village will be attacked again.
- Al-Majdal village:
New regime forces arrived and got stationed in Al-Majdal village on the road to Mehrada, the forces that stormed Al-Tarmeseh withdrew from it and was restationed in Mehrada.
The town was stormed for the 7th time in less that 2 weeks, amidst heavy firing, the nearby town of Slaiba was stormed too, also with heavy firing to terrorize the residents.
A leaked document from the National Hospital in Halfaya showing that a vehicle owned by the hospital was stolen after security “borrowed” it, when it was delivering medicine to Mehrada town
- Qalaat Al-Madiaq:
A demonstration by girl students calling upon butcher Bashar to leave
A demonstration by the children after the end of the school day
Martyr Ibrahim Uthman Al-Saloum, who was killed by regime forces while he was at work delivering bread from Mehrada to Al-Latamneh
- Taibat Al-Imam:
A large demonstration by the people of the city
- Kafr Zita:
The funeral procession of martyr Ahmed Khaled Yasin who was killed on Wednesday, 30 Nov 2011 by the bullets of security and Shabiha
- Hama City:
The city witnessed a general strike under the banner “[Anything] but our free women”, and that is as a result of abducting 3 women from the city by regime forces a little while ago, the women fate is still unknown.
Several explosions were heard in the city, especially in the neighborhoods of Tariq Halab (Aleppo-road), Bab Trablus, and Al-Mazareb bridge area.
There was also heavy firing at the barricade-checkpoint located in the water company in Al-Jub area. And reports of a large number of soldiers defecting from the army.
At 5:00 PM, security told all the patients in the Medical Complex in Al-Manakh neighborhood to leave instantly, telling them to go find another hospital. The hospital is emptied now from all of the patients, note that the hospital is specialized in serving women and children. During the storing of Hama the hospital was turned into barracks for security and Shabiha. And from it many suppressive, murderous, and terrorism campaigns were launched by them. On its rooftops, there are always snipers, who caused the death of many people either those inside their homes which the hospital overlook, or in the nearby streets. Here is a video showing Shabiha inside the complex.
The following videos document the general strike in Hama city and the demonstrations held in it today
• A long video clip showing the strike in some areas of the city of Hama (Al-Manakh neighborhood, Al-Shamaliya, Al-Asi square, Abi Al-Fidaa St, and 15 Athar (March) St.)
• The stike by the students of [educational] centers complex
• The general strike in St. of Ibn Rushd
• The strike in the neighborhood of Tariq Halab (Aleppo-raod)
• The strike in the street of 15 Athar (March 15)
• The strike in Al-Hader area
• The strike in the area of Al-Debagha
• The strike in Burhan market
Today, the city also witnessed a number of demonstrations in solidarity with rural Hama, which is under a barbaric campaign, and in solidarity with all besieged cities
• A student demonstration from the high school of Uthman Al-Hourani
• A student demonstration by the free girls of Al-Hamidiya neighborhood.
• A student demonstration by the free girls and boys of Al-Karama neighborhood
• A student demonstration by the children in Janoub Al-Malaab neighborhood
• A nighttime demonstration in the neighborhood of Tariq Halab (Aleppo road)
• A nighttime demonstration in the neighborhood of Al-Hamidiya
• A nighttime demonstration in the neighborhood of Al-Qusour
• A video showing security and Shabiha elements deployed in Al-Shamaliya
• A video showing the spread of sand barricades over Qalaat Hama (Hama’s citadel) which overlooks many neighborhoods of the city
• A video clip which we received today, on the heavy firing, by security and Shabiha, in the neighborhood of Al-Hamidiya 29 Nov 2011- Tuesday night
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