Abel massacre

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The legs of two charred victims, cropped from a photo of March 25, 2013

This page was originally referred to a singular and especially gruesome massacre of March 25, 2013. But now it has been re-purposed to cover a broader pattern of extremely similar massacre in Abel and the general area into the following days. Between the 25th, and two sizable massacres of the same type on at least the 27th and 29th of March as well, it seems this special subset of the Homs Massacres claimed at least 102 civilians, per opposition-assembled lists, collated together. In each case the pattern is this: entire families, short on fighting age men and long of women, younger children as young as 1, and elderly people as old as 98, are imprisoned by some armed gang, slaughtered, beheaded, somehow broken in pieces, then charred to high degree.

The area, or main area, of the massacres is reportedly the farmland around the town of Abel (Abil, آبل - means Apple) just south of Homs. The same area was the site of a large massacre a year earlier, on February 27, 2012 (see below, at the exact time rebel forces finally fled the army victory in Baba Amr district (announced on the 28th). They fled mainly to the south, towards Abel. This 2013 massacre came exactly as rebels bitterly fled the district again, to the south, with the final push on March 24 and the brutal slayings beginning the next day.

The largest and middle massacre considered here (app. 60 listed victims on March 27) has no known supporting video evidence; it was allegedly carried out - in the same described manner - in distant Baba Amr. Clearly this locale implies pro-government forces did that, and so probably the Abel massacres before and after that, as rebels claim. But those were in an area of alleged dual access; rebels say "Shabiha" were free to kill there, but we can see how the aftermath is filmed by rebels with free access to the same exact spots. In fact, in the first case on the 25th, rebels even claim they intercepted a video Shabiha had made of the victims while alive, forcing them to blame rebels for capturing them, after which the captors hacked them apart themselves. (see below.)

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Partial Content:

The Area

Homs Abel 2013 Map.png

(forthcoming)

The Victims

(forthcoming)

Rebel Media Coverage

Rebels in this natural fall-back spot were the first to find these bodies on the 25th, and film them for shock and propaganda value, already identified the same day "by relatives." It was the first news report in five days from the opposition Baba Amro News. They didn't report on the fall of Baba Amr or their retreat, only when they could again go on the offensive with an alleged regime crime. That they got another scoop with a repeat on the 29th, as rebels remained dug-in in the area "under government control" only adds to this troubling subtext.

Precisely which Shi'ite villains were responsible for the killings is not entirely clear from the Sunni opposition reports. Baba Amro News reported "the regime’s shabiha attempted to storm Abel village in the suburbs of Homs, and the Free Syrian Army fought them back. As the shabiha were withdrawing from the area," they committed the massacre, and hastily left the bodies behind for rebels to find. [1] The March 29 follow-on massacre was blamed by activists on "Assad gangs and Hezbollah forces who took control of the farmlands."In fact, it was the second one in a week by the same parties, that rebels had direct proof of, anyway. [2] Suggested here is a plastic interchangeablity between (Alawi/Shia) Shabiha and (shia) Hezbollah in the Sunni extremist cosmology.

Pre-Massacre Video?

Abel Victims woman.png

Consider the strange opposition story in which the victims of the initial May 25 massacre, and images of them, allegedly changed hands between rebel and pro-government forces. According to the main story proposed (as related at Yalla Souriya), rebels were in general control, but local Alawite Shabiha "attempted to storm Abel village. But "the Free Syrian Army fought them back" and they withdrew, but rebels didn't chase them closely enough; they were able to arrest three families and do all this as they were "withdrawing from the area." [3]

Apparently there was then another clash of some degree, with at least some Shabiha captured and of course killed. This isn't shown or stated, just suggested by the Shabiha-made video rebels came into possession of. As Yalla Souriya reported:

The shabiha then filmed the detainees, forcing them to say that it was them who saved the civilians from armed gangs. After they completed filming, the shabiha tortured the civilians in the most brutal of ways. [3]

This blame-shifting video has not been shared yet that we know of, but there were photos too, with only one made available so far: a heavy-set older woman, shown looking utterly doomed before death (inset, above). Activists seem pretty sure, the same woman is one of the charred bodies, making a before-and-after image from the two with the Baba Amro News story. [4] Do consider that is a real Human being here, someone's mother, cowering in the shadow of captors whose identity we must consider murky. In the opposition narrative, these killers apparently vanish each time, like the shadows they only appear as here.

Prior Abel Massacres

There was at least one prior massacre in Abel, on February 27, 2012 according to opposition reports. (see section on the Homs Massacres page). 64-68 victims, reportedly all adult males, found executed by gunshot and "cutting weapons" near Abel, just south of Homs. Opposition reports say they were citizens of Baba Amr fleeing the shelling, killed by regime forces. The Red Crescent this time recovered the bodies and delivered them to the hospital, with no rebel videos, it seems. However, they may have re-appeared later at the National Hospital, where rebel sources kept reporting large batches of months old, unidentified massacre victims appearing there throughout April and May. (see 2012 timeline

Interestingly, like the later case studied here, this incident coincided with a rebel loss in Baba Amr. Just as the area was announced clear of rebels the day before the 2013 massacre, it was on the day after the 2012 massacre, February 28, that Baba Amr was declared clear. The same time yielded also its big-massacre 2012 equivalent of the March 27 massacre back in Baba Amr. The ambiguous Sultaniya Massacre of Feb. 29/March 1 claimed app. 40 victims from select families. All are listed as from Baba Amr, implicitly killed there, but sometimes filmed by rebels who'd already left. That would change in 2013, with no video. Nonetheless, retreating, enraged rebel brigades of Baba Amr will here be considered suspects in all these similar cases.

The 2012 massacre victims include family names of interest: Janseiz/Janseez x3, Halabi x3, al-Zoubi, Beirini, Kakhia, Melhem, etc., with little to no family grouping, for the hospital finds. Families al-Raay (x6), Melhem (x7), Sabouh (x6), Ibrahim, Suleiman, etc. make up the "Sultaniya Massacre." Among those, only the name Sabouh stands out for being targeted for several martyrs in both 2012 and 2013 (9 members killed on March 27, inside Baba Amr they say). But that one commonality is clearly pretty interesting, although we can't be sure at all what it means.

References

  1. The details of the massacre in Abel today Baba Amro News, March 25, 2013
  2. Southern Homs Suburbs | Abel Village 29-03-2013 Coordination Of Doctors In Homs, Facebook. March 29, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Report about the massacre in Abel Homs 25/3/2013 Abel Farms Yall Souriya, March 25, 2013
  4. Timeline photo Baba Amro News, The details of the massacre in Abel today, March 25, 2013