Hassan Abdel-Razzaq

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Hassan Abdel-Razzaq spoke via Skype to the UK Daily Mail around June 8. He was channeled to them by activists in Houla and London, and is an activist himself. He says he was arrested twice in connection with protesting the regime. He says his family was among those killed in the Houla massacre. [1]

A Lost Family

While “he was never convicted of any crime,” his two arrests had left Hassan fearing for his own safety, but not for his family’s; “he says he could never have conceived of his wife and children being threatened.” All were killed in brutal circumstances on May 25, he reports, giving their names and ages as follows:

  • His wife, Ghaida
  • Eldest twin sons, Firas and Ghias, 17
  • Daughter Falak, 14
  • Son Abdullah, 10 (suffered cerebral palsy)
  • Infant daughter Safa, 4 months

The twins Ghias and Firas "lay dead, their throats cut," Hasan told the Mail. Ghias, by the labeling on the death photos there (see below), was shot in the head, with a mid-sized exit wound above his left eye. By the article, baby Safa was also "shot in the head at close range." Abdullah was reportedly killed "by a machete in the back of his head." It was a heavy blow, by the death photos - the whole back is open and his brain has fallen out. No details were given on the murders of Ghaida and Falak. [1]

Hassan had left just before the killings, explaining: “I had no idea what they had planned this time. I certainly could not imagine the acts of intense evil which have destroyed my family, and my entire life. I feel so guilty that I was not there to save them from this barbarity. Assad targeted our neighbourhood to make an example and they did not care who died.” ... "I am destroyed by what has happened," Hassan told the mail. "This transcends politics, or any kind of rationality. It is unadulterated evil." [1]

VDC records bear him out only partially: Of the five children, only three are listed (clearly).

Raghda is not the same name as Ghaida. There is no Ghaida listed - just:

  • Raghda Saeed Bakour - he married a Bakour? She's "Married and has 5 children" with no matching man - M. Abbara only has that note, apparently with Amina Abdulrazaq. So this "confirms" Hassan/Abu Firas/Ayman (see below) that he didn't die (see below). --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:16, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Ghias is still missing, but Abdullah was found in the database - he's the nameless entry you can't even click on. I adjusted the url of the one above,martyr 17160, and the nameless entry appears - age 10 is apparently accurate for once. He's recognizable from the winter photo, the other half of Firas' photo, where he's holding the bro. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:22, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

DCHRS victim list includes (names scrambled):

  • 14 -Ayman Abdullah Abdul Razzaq
  • 36 -Ayman Abdel-Razzaq al-Safa
  • 71 - Raghda Sabd Bakkour
  • 86 - Ayman Abdel-Razzaq al-Firas
  • 104 - Ghias Suleiman Abdul Samad

The abundance of Ayman middle names suggests this is of the school of though that dad was named Ayman, and apparently survived (his name appears, but always in conjunction with a known child) Firas has a different middle name - Ayman instead of Hassan - both used by alleged dad, as well as Firas itself. Ghias here has a different family name even. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Alternate Name and Conflict on Mortality

There is also an 'Abu Firas Abdulrazak among the bereaved witnesses on record with UK tabloids. He spoke to Martin Fletcher, for a dispatch run in the Times on May 30 in enough detail to establish that he must be the same man as Hassan, with the same lost family, except grown by one: "Abu Firas Abdulrazak said that he fled his home to escape arrest when the shelling began. When he returned hours later he found his wife and six children, aged between five months and 16, dead. They “were lying on the floor, covered in blood. My five-month-old daughter had been shot in the head, and my ten-year-old physically disabled son was stabbed in the head with a machete. This is the last thing I remember seeing before I passed out.” [2] His flight prior to the attack (see below) is the same, but some details changed. The twins are 16, not 17, and Safa is 5 months, not 4. There's a sixth child, as passed on here. Otherwise, it's the same family and story, down to passing out upon seeing Abdullah's head. But his name is notably different. This may not be anything sinister; "Abu Firas" means "father of Firas," one of his 16/17 year-olds, who wanted so badly to help cure Abdullah's CP.

According to defector Maj. Jihad Raslan, a man of this same name - Abu Firas Abdul Razaq - is dead, brutally killed in the attack on Saad street. Inspecting Abdul Razaq homes around 8:00 pm, Raslan said, we then went to Abu Firas’ Home. He was the only man in the house. He was literally slaughtered. His family and the family of his brother had been murdered and their bodies had been stacked on top of each other in the guest room. They gathered the people in a room and killed them. [3]

But a second head of household Abu Firas, aka Hassan, apparently survived. Or we have a conflict.

Also, "Akrama Bakour, Free Syrian Army, Houla," mentioned no surviving head of an Abdul Razaq family named either Hassan or Abu Firas. Giving the BBC an exhaustive tally of 68 dead in three homes, he does however describe the family covered here, just headed by a surviving "Ayman Abdul Razaq." Bakour said "all of his six children were killed as was his wife, one of the children was disabled." [4]

How He Survived / What he Heard

Abu Firas/Hassan, the living one, claims he was the only man out of the house and that's why he wasn't slaughtered. When he was warned of an impending Shabiha attack on the 25th, Hassan told the Mail, “I immediately made plans to get away.” The Mail reports “when Hassan left the house, nothing had happened in the town to suggest the Shabiha were intent on carrying out systematic killings,” though he felt sure he would be targeted. “My only hope was to get away until the militia left.”

Even when “he heard shouting and the noise of the baby crying” in the house, from his nearby hiding spot, “I had no idea what was really going on inside the house. My reaction was to stay away from the soldiers and then to return a few hours later.” [1] Note that he mentions the sounds of shouting and crying, but not shooting, even though at least two members of this family (Safa and Ghias) were apparently shot. Further, among the nine Abdel-Razaq family homes Hassan describes clustered together near the dam, were most of the victims of the massacre. A reported 62 Abdelrazaqs were killed that day, many of them presumably killed by gunshot. Up-close/horizontal "shelling" by RPGs and mortars evident in the scant available footage of the homes attacked around there. But he saw and heard none of that, and claims he had no idea what was happening until he saw his own family dead.

The Photographs

Hassan says he’s chosen to stay in the family home, still safely as of June 9. From the home, he produced photographs of all six killed family members when they were alive, which the Mail ran. One shows Ghaida helping little Safa to stand up. One shows Ghias on the other side of a barbed wire fence, and one shows Falak on a rainy day. Another from a few years ago,apparently, shows Firas holding up the small-ish Abdullah. It's hard to be sure, but all three boys look fairly consistent with the death photos of them, which the Mail also ran. These show Firaj, Ghias, and Abdullah and, it's implied, Hassan took them himself. “I wanted the world to see what happened to my family. I also took pictures so that there would be evidence of what had happened.” [1] These seem to be professional-grade photographs taken at the mosque, while UN monitors were present the day after the massacre. This can be seen by looking at similar photos taken at that scene, compiled at various websites (difficult to verify as yet), like a batch at the site A Separate State of Mind. [5]

The photos of Hassan's wife and children would be available to someone who lived in the home (like himself, he says) or someone who entered the home (like the killers). There are no images of Hassan himself among these shared shots, and no images from his Skype talk with the Daily Mail to compare them to anyway. Therefore, it's impossible to know if his membership in the family photographed could be disproved easily with a visual mismatch of the real Hassan and the one who spoke to the Daily Mail.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 As the world dithers over Syria, shocking evidence of an entire family massacred by Assad thugs: Father finds his wife and five children among the victims of the Houla atrocity By Nabila Ramdani and Ian Gallagher. The Daily Mail, June 9, 2012.
  2. "Syria: The Tipping Point" Martin Fletcher reports on a war crime in Syria. The Times, May 30, 2012.
  3. Searching for the Truth Behind the Houla Massacre By Christoph Reuter and Abd al-Kadher Adhun. Der Spiegel English. July 23, 2012.
  4. Testimonies obtained by telephone interviews by several branches of the BBC, published May 28
  5. The Little Children Terrorists of SyriaA Separate State of Mind forum, May 27