Homs Massacres

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Civilian victims of the Karm al-Zaytoun Massacre of March 11, 2012, per Syrian state TV SANA
HOMS MASSACRES.jpg

The Homs Massacres are all events of deliberate mass killings, of civilians and families especially, in and around the Syrian city of Homs, from the start of protests and violence in March, 2011 until the present (or to the end of 2014 - 2015 is of less interest - see below). The dozens of incidents investigated here account between them for at the very least 1,558 killed, verified or credibly reported, and as many as 3,189 fatalities, overwhelmingly civilian (but massacres of soldiers and rebel fighters are also included, to some degree). Generally, the low numbers are very conservative, and the true death toll is closer to the high end, if not even higher. The incidents covered include some possible massacres not reported that way, and perhaps miss some that were reported, besides others unreported that we haven't seen signs of yet.

Although the record ACLOS has assembled here is far from complete, there does seem to be a huge number of especially brutal massacres from January to April 2012, with much less prior to that and less afterwards.

  • 2011 total = 102 - 211
  • 2012 total = 899 - 1,894 (as many as 1,106 by April 12)
  • 2013 total = 440 - 723
  • 2014 total = 117 - 361

Interestingly, that deadliest span roughly corresponds with the Syrian military's withdrawal from Homs city, under pressure from the Arab League and others, between December and late February 2012 (see Talk page section).

By and large these massacres have been effectively blamed on the Syrian military and allied forces - especially the "Shabiha." But this is based almost entirely on opposition activist reports and the stories of alleged witnesses and survivors allied with them. The actual circumstances of each incident and allegation remain murky, and merit "a closer look."

This page and linked sub-pages embody an ongoing investigative project, now well-developed but still incomplete. It initially started coming together on the talk page, and some "overflow" material remains there, surely to be joined by more discussion and side-investigations. These collect detailed records so that a majority of the thousands of massacre victims are listed or linked to by name from the sections here, as well as video and other information sources from both/all sides in the conflict, for a deep understanding of each incident.

Contents

Homs Massacres on the World Stage

The first really sizeable and promoted alleged massacre in Homs, a triple-digits one, was on the morning of February 4, just as the UN Security Council met to discuss a resolution to force Assad to resign over things like that. The Khalidiya Massacre of 138 was the core of a touted 200+ civilians snuffed out overnight, under brutal artillery shelling by the Syrian Army. Whole families were killed, as dozens of their homes were smashed, initial reports said.

French foreign minister, Alain Juppe, said the Homs bloodshed was a crime against humanity and "those who block the adoption of such a resolution are taking a grave historical responsibility." [1] U.S. president Barack Obama explained why Assad's government "does not deserve to govern" and "must step aside ... immediately." In support, he referred to the 1982 Hama Massacre (the 30th anniversary of which it happened to be) and to how just "yesterday the Syrian government murdered hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children, in Homs through shelling and other indiscriminate violence." [2]

Rather, the core 138 victims seem quite possibly to be civilians taken hostage by rampant rebel brigades. Opposition records show 130 adult men and 8 boys (a few teenagers, a 9-year-old, and a few unspecified). The "entire families" killed in their "homes" were 100% male and 94% adult. This is highly suggestive of sex-sorted hostages, not some unusual family dynamics. This supports the contention by some locals that those killed, as seen on rebel video, were their family members previously taken captive by the rebels in Homs. That is, the massacre was quite likely done with weapons and fighters funneled by U.S. allies, on people captured with those weapons, using the security vacuum created when the "Friends of Syria" and Arab League forced the Army to withdraw from Homs in December. Calling for the whole government to leave Syria in response to that - and the timing suggests that was the idea - seems a bit perverse. But a lack of the slightest detail grasp prevents most people from even seeing that possibility.

This successful blaming operation was repeated with more well-timed massacres over the following weeks, with the pinnacle of influence and "massacre marketing" being enjoyed following the Houla Massacre of May 25, 2012. This mass-killing right before UN peace envoy Kofi Annan arrived, became "the most unambiguous indictment of the regime to date," according to the U.S. ambassador (soon to be in exile) Robert Ford. It became a "turning point," the single biggest diplomatic crisis for Syria of the whole war (other crimes and responses, like the threats over the alleged Ghouta Sarin attacks, for example, were not diplomatic in nature). Many nations simply kicked out Syria's diplomats essentially for being part of, and failing to renounce, a government capable of that kind of crime.

Rather, on that day, the government and its supporters would have been far less capable than usual of pulling off any massacre, even if they had wanted to. It was the foreign-backed rebel brigads who managed to secure the upper hand in Taldou on that fateful afternoon of the 25th. It's not yet widely acknowledged, but the camera doesn't lie; opposition videos support the opposing narrative. Rebel fighters can be seen, in part, overruning all four relevant security posts in the city up to sunset, as and just before the massacres unfolded in different areas right around these bases. The detailed ACLOS video study illustrating this can be seen and assessed here (and on the talk page there), summarized for the final essay in this crucial report and accompanying Global Research article. This and much other evidence, the best of it in the report and article, points clearly and consistently to another crime of the insurgency and its death squad components.

These massacres have never been exposed to the global/Western mainstream audience as they will be to ACLOS readers. Nonetheless, after this, Homs Masacres and all such massacres lost much of their magic over the following months and have never regained their prior influence. The Aqrab Massacre and Haswiyeh Massacre, in late 2012 and 2013, were the pinnacle of this slow dissolution. In both cases, mainstream British media reports (Channel 4, ITV) joined those casting doubt on the increasingly ridiculous rebel accusations. Massacres continue, videos and blaming the regime continue, and the reliable proponents continue to polish and publish the moral lessons of those stories. But never like in the days after Houla would a killing of civilians around Homs make such a huge ripple on the world stage.

Locations

Homs Districts all labels.png

Homs Districts Map

This map gives the range of districts in Homs. The borders and labels are all per Wikimapia, some with translation or shift to a spelling used here (although different reports use various spellings, they can usually be placed on this map). Some borders are left out for readability. Light blue = district as outlined on Wikimapia, and green = outlying village, or green belt, depending. Red clearly is the primary rebel hotbed, Baba Amr, (although at times most other districts have been frequently challenged - or held - in large part by rebel forces, sometimes for months). Purple = the big districts, among those often-opposition areas, somewhere in which the bigger massacres of early 2012 reportedly happened (February 3/4 in Khalidiya, and March 11/12 in Karm al-Zaytoun and surrounding districts). Al-Sitteen street in the north is a place cited where bodies were often dumped after murky assassinations.

The al-Assi River runs through the green belt, where building of any scale is forbidden. (citation needed) Thus Homs' overflow to the west continues with the expansive Wa'er district.

Outlying towns, clockwise from top: Duvair/Duweir in the north is a Christian village that suffered the Al-Duvair massacre in May, 2013. Busatin Haswiyeh next to it witnessed the Haswiyeh Massacre in January, 2013. Tal Moramad, Zaidal, and Fairozah: little information. Kafr Aya and its environs have witnessed massacres and other overflow, from Baba Amr especially. ACLOS has little to no information yet on these towns' sectarian makeup aside from Duvair.

Homs area map.png

Homs Area Map

This map can be used for reference in several cases below (especially opened full-size in its own window). Rastan (shaded red) will be included with the Hama Massacres page, even though it's in Homs province (it helps anchor and balance the northern and smaller half of the Qusayr-Homs-Rastan-Hama axis rebels tried so hard to establish). Lake Homs, Qusayr, Talkalakh, and everything up to the Lebanese border is included. So is the al-Houla region to the north, site of the most successfully sold massacre of them all, the Houla Massacre of May 2012 in Taldou. Surrounded by an infamous ring of Alawite villages, the Houla area also includes Aqrab to the north, just inside Hama province, which once was partly an Alawite village. The December, 2012 Aqrab Massacre of Alawites was one of one of the opposition's most unsuccessfully sold massacres. For background on the Houla and Qusayr sub-areas, see also Al-Houla Before and After the Massacre and Life in Liberated Qusayr.

Talbiseh is the largest town between Homs and Rastan; it and its surrounding towns have seen massacres and other violence, and much traffic from displaced people movng in both directions, depending on the day's violence. Jabourin is identified as a majority-Alawite town. In the west, Hosen Castle (Krak De Chevalier) lies in the town of Hosen north of Talkalakh, Sunni majority but within the valley of the Christians, with thousands of Christians in its villages. See August, 2013 at least for two massacres in the area. To the east and souteast is desert that quickly turns to the ridges of the Qalamoun Mountains, stretching from Palmyra to Damascus, with its own Christian enclaves and waves of refugees from Homs. Its massacres are/will be covered here. Where people from Homs are targeted, there's a talk page section for that.

Full Timeline

This timeline is full in scope, but incomplete. Each entry will have a short summary, and most incidents listed are/will be further explored in their own section below (under #Massacre Details), or on a dedicated ACLOS (A Closer Look On Syria) page, as linked. Those with pages and no sections here deserve, and may get, a decent summary here.

2011

Ahmad al-Raay laid on a truck of the Arab League monitors in Baba Amr, Dec. 28. See #Massacre for the Monitors below

Note: A special effort is being made to fill in 2011, when there was a somewhat more plausible case to be made for unarmed protesters being unaccountably massacred by an insane regime. For that reason, the relative lack of events qualifying as massacres means something. More incidents will emerge with deeper research, but by and large the massive, world-shocking massacre - in Homs - is an event of 2012 and later.

  • April 17: page: Tellawi Family Massacre: An Alawite brigadier-General, along with his 17-year-old son and his two nephews (15 and 17) were dragged from their car and brutally murdered and mutilated. Both sides blamed each other.
  • April 19 (early AM): (section: Clock Square Massacre: Night time protests near the City Center's clock tower turn into an alleged shooting spree by security forces. App. 12 dead at most, "dozens," or over 200; accounts vary, but agree the victims were peaceful protesters.
  • August 10, Baba Amr: ""Troops and armoured vehicle stormed Bab Amro early evening. The neighbourhood is witnessing a massacre. The number of dead are likely to go up because there are seven out of 25 wounded in critical condition," Observatory director Rami Abdelrahman told Reuters." 11 were said to be killed. [3] The VDC lists 9 martyrs - a five-day span centered on the 10th with all 9 victims - men, most or all fighting age - killed on the 10th by unexplained "shooting."
  • September 24: section: Zhouri SFA Massacre: 7 members of the Zhouri family (including a teenage boy) and 8 others, variously defected/refusing soldiers, "SFA," and civilians, are killed in al-Qusayr.
  • September 24 (app.): section: Al-Assi River Massacre: An unclear number of bodies are found in the river - one clearly recovered from the water looks like a paramilitary man, tortured. At the same time several military personnel, political and criminal security policemen and murky civilians - perhaps 12 or more total - all died, many listed as detention-torture victims like the one river body we're shown. The killing and dumping seem to have happened in or nearer to al-Qusayr to the south, but the victims tend to be from or killed in Homs, so it belongs on both pages.
  • November 1 bus massacre: section 11 religious minority members, reportedly, slaughtered with bladed weapons.
  • November 2: Block Factory Massacre (external section): 9-11 civilian men arrested and executed in Kafr Laha, al-Houla, at a "block factory" owned by a Muammar al-Khuder/Kheder. One victim was his brother Mulham al-Kheder. Seven are listed by the VDC as workers from Tallaf ("Talf," wrongly given as in Hama province), four with mixes of the family names Qasem and Jasem. There are at least 4 videos of their bound bodies amongst stacks of blocks, just found like that by opposition activists, apparently even before the police had arrived at the crime scene. "Security forces" are blamed for the slaying in the LCC's report. At least one victim seems to be an elderly man.
  • December 4-6: page: Early December, 2011 Sectarian Killings in Homs: "Sixty-one people have been killed in the Syrian central city of Homs, according to Al Jazeera's Rula Amin ... Among those killed were 34 Sunnis and 27 Alawites, she said. It was not immediately clear who was behind the violence." [4]) The linked ACLOS page explores this allegation and various reports of the days December 3-7.
  • Late December: section: Zoeib Family Massacre: the killing of at least six victims related to and including Ghazi al-Zo'eib, the elderly former head of the Baath party in Homs (allegedly a rebel supporter at the time).
  • Dec. 26-28: section:Massacre for the Monitors Baba Amr and perhaps elsehwere: In the days of a long-sought visit by the Arab League's observers to the rebel hotbed on December 27 and 28, regime forces in and around the district went on a spree of Shabiha in-home executions and strange shelling that left rebels with bodies to all but slap the monitors with - like the boy laid on the hood of their truck (see inset image above).

2012

Wrapped bodies of children, women, and men on display at a rebel mosque following the May 25 Houla Massacre

2011 witnessed the ascendancy of armed groups in Homs, the first violence and early massacres, the blaming of them on the government, and the leveraging of that blame - with the help of outside powers - against Syria's security forces to force a withdrawal in December. However good of an idea that seemed, this apparently ushered in some sort of vicious spiral that only made the problem far worse. Homs was doomed to an extremely grim chapter in the first winter months of 2012, related by the opposition's activists as punishment for freedom, by distance shelling, more intimate "Shabiha" massacres, and more, leaving rows of corpses that nearly always made their way quickly to opposition Youtube channels. The actual authors of that violence, and thus the cause-and-effect relationship between this liberation and this bloodshed, is clearly worth some thought.

The situation in the city seems to have improved gradually as security force regained control and minimized the capabilities of armed groups. Violence persisted, and even massacres remained, but became smaller, fewer, and farther between from the middle of the year onward. In the rural surroundings, however, massacres continued with less of a let-up. (subjective reading, to be explained, argued, etc. in time - see talk page section for "Army Presence in Homs") --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:20, 1 January 2014 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:35, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

  • January 16: section: Asheera Bakery Massacre As reported three people, a man and two children, were massacred at a bakery in Ashira district, which was then burned. The Ashira locals, of the Hanna Ibrahim family, were Christians, likely related to Christians of the Hanna family then being knocked off in and driven from nearby al-Qusayr.
  • January 24: section: January 24 Shelling Massacres Bab Tadmor and Karm al-Zaytoun districts, 27-30 dead, at least 25 of them adult males, This followed heavy regime shelling of residential homes with families inside, opposition sources claimed, while Shabiha were entering homes and stealing valuables, and rebels entered homes and took away the bodies for more anti-regime video propaganda gold.
  • January 26: section: Bahader-Akkra Family Massacre: At least 13-17 civilians executed in Karm al-Zaytoun, including six children (8 months old to nine years, mostly around 2), and at least five women, all civilians and absolutely mauled in their homes, throats sliced and skulls split, again left where opposition activists would find them and be able to prove the "Shabiha" slaughter, as they branded it.
  • January 30: section, Mohammad Family Massacre: Again, Karm al-Zaytoun, another family of 6, named Mohammed as reported - is killed after five days of being held prisoner in their own home and tortured. A father, mother, and four children are shown, most in their underwear, with shocking signs of flesh torture, bone-breaking, and other brutality. That was by "Shabiha," rebels say, and the killers again walked away and let the rebels walk in and film it. However, five activists might have been arrested at the scene of the crime - reports are vague and poorly-translated.
  • February 3/4: page: Khalidiya Massacre 138 listed victims in Khalidiya, 181 total in Homs this day. Reports say Syrian army shelling kills over 200 civilians, largely (138 at least) in Khalidiya, where 36 homes were destroyed with whole families inside. This was the most deadly incident to date, and came on the eve of another UNSC meeting to, perhaps, pressure Assad from power. This pattern of strangely fatal alleged shelling repeats all through these allegations, but is perhaps most acutely central in this case. The government and some locals said rebels massacred hostages they were holding and falsely labeled them as killed by the government. Strangely, it seems too many of the core 138 killed in Khalidiya are male - apparently 100% of them - to match with the story of families hit in their homes. Gender-segregated hostages is the better explanation. This will warrant more study.
  • February 5-8: section: Baba Amr, Feb. 5/6: Extreme shelling of Baba Amr reported, with strangely massacre-like effects. Side-issue and sub-set: rebel activists and field hospitals, injured children and shock videos, and the murky "field hospital massacre," in Baba Amr, Feb. 6 - at least two killed, Khaled Abu Saleh and others reported injured.
  • February 7, 2012: section: Sebil-Cairo Street Massacre - at least 18 victims, including 5 women and 5 children, from Sabil and Wadi al-Arab districts and adjoining Cairo Street, collected at a rebel morgue in Wadi al-Arab February 7. Not shelling victims, the story is they were "slaughtered" in their homes by Shabiha thugs.
  • February 20: section: Jinyat Family Massacre A family of 7 including two girls and a boy is killed by alleged shelling, like the above but further from city center - apparently on the orchard side of Malaab - much smaller, and more horrifically expressed yet. One 11-year-old girl appears both halfway blown-up butd also sliced and stabbed to death.
  • February 27: section: Darwish Family Massacre: Six unnamed members of a family called Darwish (4 children under 18), executed and burned, and "mutilated," in Khalidiya district. Again, it's said "Shabiha" held them in their home five days before the rebels found them recently dead.
  • February 27: section: Abel Massacre, Feb. 27 2012 64-86 victims, all adult males from Baba Amr, it's said, were found executed south of Homs, just as rebels were finallt chased out of Baba Amr. Same exact pattern would play out with the March, 2013 Abel massacre (see below)
  • February 29: section: Feb. 29, Sebil? Two families of five are reportedly killed in their homes, district(s) not specified. The record is fragmented. A young boy is shown on video, said to be the only survivor of a "Sabeel massacre." Families: Mando, Behlaq.
  • March 1: section: Sultaniya massacre: 38-41 victims, mostly adult male and "from" Baba Amr, were murdered by whoever in Sultaniya, just south of there (closer even than Abel, where 68 adult males were executed three days before). Listed as a mix of shelling and field executions, they are strictly men, of only a few families, some with several members. Some seem to be from known Alawite families, like Melhem, likely all related to Homs-based national parliament member Wael Melhem. It seems seven of their men were killed in this massacre. Almost as hard-hit, and more publicized, was the less-known Sabouh family, with six men killed. Then there's the al-Raay family, with another six killed, including women and children.
  • March 6: section: Sabouh Family Massacre A reported 17 victims, ranging in age from 85 down to one, massacred March 6 in Baba Amr, for at least 23 members of this family killed within less than a week (see above, March 1).
  • March 8: section: March 8 Jobar Massacre 39 killed in Jobar district, "slaughtered with knives," personal names not given but from 3 families: Al-Rifaee (20 members), Al Tahhan (16 members) and Al-Wa'er (3). Breakdown: 22 men, 6 boys, 8 girls, 3 women.
  • March 11/12: page: Karm al-Zaytoun Massacre: At least 100+ and up to 224 victims in two days of rolling massacres in Karm al-Zaytoun and al-Rifae districts, Adawiya, etc. The more famous first half was blamed on Syrian army and Shabiha, and said to have killed at least 21 women and 26 children, among 108 total. Some child victims show rather extreme injuries or mutilation, in extra-shocking images taken by rebels, later re-cycled for the Houla Massacre. Again, the government and some locals blamed terrorists, who had abducted family members they recognized in rebel videos of the dead.
  • April 2: section: Hospital Finds When Abdulrazaq Tlass and the Farouq Battallion allegedly "liberated " Homs National Hospital on this day, they quickly reported finding 75 corpses in the cooler there, presumably not just placed there by them. (possible confusion/conflation with the May 4/5 hospital finds, and thus with the Feb. 27 Abel massacre)
  • April 5: section:Mando Family, April 5: Four men of the family murdered at their farm near Baba Amr, while a Mando boy is killed over in Houla (which town, and possible connection to the below entry, unclear).
  • April 5: April 5, 2012 Houla Massacre (external section), summarized here: It seems 4-8 members of a military family were killed in an attack of this day. Someone's shells hit the home of a "dissident" (defected) officer named Mohammed Sawaf. The home shown has been located on the map, in east-central Taldou. A young boy is shown after execution, somewhat famously, wearing a wristband of the Syrian national colors (in places it's said this is a scene from the May 25 Houla massacre, but it's not). Only he, a man, and a woman are shown dead in the street as their house burns (and perhaps another child running away as the rebel cameraman approaches). The VDC lists two people named Ismaiel killed by Shelling in Houla this day - an 8 year-old boy (Adnan) and a 19-year-old woman (Saba), likely siblings. There are no clear family matches past that, but possibly less clear ones.
However, while the VDC has no one named Sawaf dying at this time, two named Sawah appear in Homs city - a doctor named Sawwah from Khalidiya, Homs, on April 5 (photos included - he's in his early 30s or so), and only four days later a soldier ("recruit") - not officer - named Ahmad Khalel Sawah] was shot in Baba Amr. He was 19, the right age to be the husband of Saba, married with two young children. It's not clear where he was from aside from "Homs," but he may have been kidnapped in Taldou on the 5th and taken here before dying, as it says, from a field execution. Still missing from this list is the allegedly defected officer Mohammed Sawah/Sawaf, Ahmad's father, presumably, for as many as 8 related victims, including in-laws.
  • April 7-11: page: Deir Baalba Massacre: This underrated massacre reportedly took somewhere in excess off 200 lives, reportedly all civilian, and of several select families - including at least 58 victims from various families named Al-Abbas. They reportedly died by field execution by free-roving gangs, mainly in the days between April 2 and 10. While the Army and its accomplices allegedly hid all the bodies away, mass graves of around 100 bodies total were reported by the opposition as of the 11th, and dozens of rotting bodies continued to be "discovered" until early May at least.
  • May 4/5: section: Hospital Finds An alleged hospital "find" of "February and March massacres" victims - 49 of them, all adult males, all killed by "shelling." These are likely the same people otherwise reported for the February Abel Massacre (see above). (possible confusion/conflation with April 2 hospital finds)
  • May 5: section: Halmouz/Ter-Maela massacres: Not clearly much of a massacre, but listed that way by some; in two villages north of Homs, alleged regime mortar fire from loyalist (and Alawite) Jabourin kill and char an unsure number of people, perhaps only the three people mentioned as displaced from Homs' Khalidiya district.
  • May 15: Shammas Massacre: section: Shammas Massacre Southern Homs city or nearby: at least 21 men allegedly executed by Shabiha, again filmed by rebels.
  • May 25: page (with sub-pages) Houla Massacre: 106 dead, 49 children, mostly in Taldou, al-Houla. This was carried out after a huge rebel force overran 4/5 of the security posts there. Opposition activists blame Shabiha, but also deny the rebel victory there. Those who describe the rebel victory accurately say rebels carried out the massacre, against Sunni families related to a parliament member or who supported the government (al-Sayed families), or converted to Shi'ism. (Abdulrazaq). Other names: Abbara, al-Kurdi (victims in Aqrab and Taldou)
  • May 25: page: Shumeriyeh Massacre The same day as the infamous Houla Massacre, an often-confused operation out of al-Qusayr, south of Homs) that reportedly killed about ten civilians from two families in the Alawite village of Shumariyeh, on the south shore of Lake Homs.
  • May 31 (external article): Massacre of 12 workers at a fertilizer plant, after their bus was seized.
  • June 12: Joseyeh Bus Massacre: external article - a reported nine Alawi bus passengers are singled out by rebel attackers and then beheaded.
  • June 28/29 (external article): Qalat al-Hosn Massacre(s) - professor Ahlam Imad and her family murdered brutally at home, another bus attacked, passengers executed.
  • September 26: section. On September 26, the Deadliest Day, nickel-and-dime massacres were coordinated nationwide to produce the biggest death toll yet. Homs had its share, a spike but not a huge one: 35 dead total. Two Shurbaji men and a Sabouh, killed in Jobar. Otherwise, 18 more adult males, field executed in al-Bayada, and swiftly handed over to opposition media.
  • December 10: page: Aqrab Massacre At the north end of al-Houla, the Alawite half of Aqrab town was overrun by rebel brigades, and some 500 civilians taken hostage in early December, about a week before this alleged massacre. Rebels say on the 10th Shabiha were holding the last 200 or so prisoners (some 300 were freed in exchanges - with rebels) and blew up the house they were in. Initial estimate were 125-150 dead. But a Channel 4 News video from the scene shows the house remained intact, the story is false, and the actual fate of a reported 125-233 Alawites, including women and children, remains unknown. The known details leave little cause for optimism. Names of note: of the original 500, 300 are said to be of a Jubeili family. A "Judl" boy was spared, a Daoud family was targeted in the takeover, two Hosins and a Youseh were released, other victims names don't appear. Five Shabiha are named as villains: two Jubeili men, two Melhem men, and a Faiz.
  • December 24: Talbiseh bakery bombing: A Wikipedia article says more than 14 civilians were killed while queuing for bread at a local bakery, as noted just one day after a similar accusation in Halfaya, Hama (see Halfaya Bakery Bombing. The VDC lists 18 apparent victims from Talbiseh and Ghanto. The people there included 11 men, one boy, 6 girls, and no women per this list. Five meers of a Sweiss family, 6 of Al-Naji (5 men, 1 girl) and 4 of Yehya (all girls, no father or mother).
  • December 28, Deir Baalba: ⦁ Of 364 killed in Syria, LCC reported 220 were found in the Deir Baalba district of Homs, "at least 150 charred corpses". Collected reports at Daily Kos, Dec. 29. VDC records only 15 men from there, field executed Dec. 28. Multiple names include Shehadeh (x2), Salim (x5). No explanation is given, but there is an active general video of un-burned men, mostly older, executed with head trauma, on the ground outside. There's no large batch of victims here or on the regime forces list. But if there was a larger number of bodies with identities burned away, it's smart to consider missing and killed, people recently: about 200-235 Alawites unaccounted for in Aqrab December 10, some 23 presumable Alawites beheaded and burned in Maan, Hama, around December 25. And closest of all, several mostly unidentified "shelling" victims from Ghanto, just north, on Dec. 27.

2013

A Haswiyeh man gestures with his fingers across his throat while explaining what happened there on January 15

2013, it seems by the partial analysis so far, saw a continued relative calm in the city compared to the surroundings of Homs. At the end of the year and presumably into 2014, displaced Homs residents in Nabk, Damascus suburbs, suffered repeated and confusing massacres that are listed here. (see note below)

  • January 5/6 (External article): Tasnin Masscare - mixed Sunni-Alawi town, raided - reported 105 dead or missing - both sides blame each other.
  • Mshierfa, Jan. 6: external article reported 11 dead, including a Christian family from Hama, on a bus near the Lebanon border.
  • January 15: page: Haswiyeh Massacre Busatin al-Haswiyeh, in the northwest of Homs, near Duvair (see map). Shocking initial reports heralded 106 victims, whole families of local civilians, again killed by Shabiha for daring to help the rebels. But the first list of 100 names included 75 adult male victims, and locals living there told the British media (Channel 4 and BBC) the massaccre was by, apparently, Jabhat al-Nusra. Their attack on the town killed about 30 uncooperative civilian locals, and "many" adult male militants were killed in the following battle. The layout of the crime scene and other clues support the locals' version.

Note: The following three entries are covered together on one external page under the heading "Abel Massacre." Three extremely brutal massacres over five days show an unusual degree of bestial mangling and perhaps an extra rage and frustration on the part of the killers. Abel, meaning apple, is just 3 km south of Baba Amr, Homs, and the incidents began the day after rebel forces were fully chased away from there after a huge and frustrating defeat, running to the south.

  • March 25: page: Abel massacre: Up to 21 civilians including children killed, hacked up, beheaded, etc. and burned. 13 visually verified, the
  • March 27: page: Abel massacre: Another massacre with burning of dismembered bodies, at least as reported, killed approximately 60 people, mainly or all adults, including many women and elderly. Two families were hit to the tune of 9 deaths each, and another lost 13. The victims are mainly listed as from Baba Amr, and it was said they were killed there, and hence no video and access ambiguity this time as with Abel. The middle massacre must be Shabiha work. But the tally includes victims from Buweida al-Sharqiya, near Abel, in the area rebels retreated to. And they sure seemed to know a lot about the incident for something somebody in Baba Amr must've seen, but which no one was able to film. Quite likely, this actually happened around Abel, as another point in the pattern just established there and about to be clearly repeated, just done on video silence and with a cover story.
  • March 29: page: Abel massacre: A third slash-and-burn massacre in five days, again reported as happening in Abel and again freely filmed by rebels. They claim only eight victims, but there's a reported second batch of 11 people, including at least 6 women and two children, treated the same way in Abel that day, even though they hailed from distant Talkalakh, where a massacre would happen two days later.
  • March 31: (talk) page: Talkalakh massacre 13 victims, including 8 women and some children, reportedly killed with knives, with both sides blaming each other, in Talkalakh on the Lebanon border, some ways west of the Abel area.
  • April 1: Awad Family Massacre (forthcoming)
  • April 9: Qusour Finds: 14 bodies, including five children and a woman, were reportedly found this day in the Qusour district, after being field executed about a year earlier.
  • April 10: section: Qaddour Family Massacre: A family of 11 is brutally attacked in their tents near Homs, a husband and wife, their eight children (ages 2-18) and a 75-year-old grandma, were all murdered and mutilated. Well, the mother of childbearing years survived, in the hospital, rbeles say. But the other ten were slaughtered, clearly with blades and sharp tool, and shown on video by activists who knew and said just which local Alawite families left the clues of their crime, after stealing all the family's cattle and gold.
  • May 17: Mallouk family massacre external article 13 civilians of Mallouk family, including 4 children, 2 women, their bodies mutilated and burned.
  • May 27: page: Al-Duvair massacre The Christian village of Duvair/Duweir is on the northwest fringe of Homs by Haswiyeh. Initial reports trumpeted that the town was anihilated by Jihadists, but rather most fled after a reported 45 locals were executed on the first day. This was the record for most Christians killed in a massacre, until the Sadad Massacre slightly eclipsed it five months later.
  • June 8/9 Qusayr/Deeba (Dabaa, again) 25 killed by 'shooting' and 'shelling' across the area. Zahouri Awad Idrees
  • June 22, 25 from Talkalakh killed, including 4 non-civilians with seeming like rebels and 2 "defectors," one with a relative killed. Likely total=23 massacred. (VDC query)
  • July 23: Sukhna Massacreexternal article 29 or 30 civilian victims, 5 women, 2 children. A little out of the usual range, it's in eastern Homs.
  • 31 civilians from Waer district killed by "shelling" from July 27 to August 1, with 20 of these on that final day. A Mameejo Family of 6 was killed early on, but the rest of the victims were all men, including 3 named Issa and 3 named Najjar.
  • August 2: section: Al-Shawahed Massacre: In Shawahed village Between Hosin Castle and Zara, six locals, four from an al-Ali family, are abducted and slaughtered by the roadside, allegedly by Shabiha. Same day, someone kills a state security forces member of the al-Ali family in a neighboring town. 2 more men executed the next day in Shawahed (total 7).
  • August 5-6 witnessed 7 "shelling" deaths mainly in Houla, prob all Taldou. From a VDC query:

Fadi Saad Eddin Qadour AM Homs Hula 2013-08-05 Shelling Ibraheem al-Ibraheem AM Homs Hula 2013-08-05 Shelling Khaled Abdulhaleem al-Abbas CM Homs Hula 2013-08-05 Shelling Najah Abdulhaleem al-Abbas CF Homs Hula 2013-08-05 Shelling Mohammad Ibraheem al-Jomaa AM Homs Hula: Taldo 2013-08-05 Shelling Kholoud Juma'a AF Homs __ 2013-08-06 Shelling Mohammad Ahmad Haidar CM Homs Houla 2013-08-06 Shelling

  • August 17: section: Marmarita Massacre 14-15 locals (including a boy and two women) in the Christian village next to Hosin Castle are killed during a rebel raid.
  • August 18: Four al-Noaemi men alone killed by "shelling"
  • September 9/10: page Maksar al-Husan Massacres Jabhat al-Nusra claims responsibility for massacring a reported 22-30 civilians, ranging from two to 90 years old. A little out of the usual range, it's in eastern Homs.
  • September 10: A family of four executed in Metrass, 10km west of Hosn Castle. VDC query. Notes: "family of Father, mother and two male children Field executed by the regime`s army, Turkmanni" Names: Abbas Khoder AM Ahlam Ramdan AF Rayan Khoder CM Hayan Khoder CM. Video of the martyr is now private.
  • September 14 Qusour 5 men alone killed by "shelling" including a Shahhoud, al-Mkhalalati, and 3 un-identified. (VDC query)
  • September 19: section: Jabourin Bus Attack App. 19 Alawites, most or all civilian, were killed in a terrorist roadside bomb attack on two busses carrying people to the Alawite village of Jabourin, north of Homs near Talbiseh (see map above).
  • October 2 Talkalakh 13 men killed by detention-torture. Names: al-Meslmani x3, Masri x3, Daeboul x2, Khalaf, Kurdi, Ahmad, Najem, Hallak (VDC query)
  • October 5 Wadi Arab 3 Joria men killed by detention-torture. (VDC query)
  • October 23, Sukhna: 11 executed in Sukhna, 1 woman, 10 men named Assaf, with the note "Documented on 4-11-2013, Several family members of the Ammour tribe were slaughtered by Shabbiha forces when they were being displaced from Sukhna city to other villages, and the bodies are still in the Palmyra national hospital." The woman is Hamida al-Sarai "Wife of Ahmad al-Assaf." Her name is suspiciously similar to the one and only FSA rebel from there - Saleh Mohammad al-Saeari - listed as dying one day earlier than the rest. (VDC query)
  • November 15: Wadi al-Mawla massacre external article 21-26 killed (mainly men), 6+ missing (mainly women and children), mainly of an al-Rajub family, allegedly anti-government activists at one time.

Note: The October 23 entry above lists people killed while "being displaced from Sukhna city to other villages". Starting in late November (in earnest), the VDC martyrs database shows an uptick in fatalities in the Nabk area of Damascus suburbs, where Islamist insurgents and government forces were locked in a fierce battle. See 57 martyrs from February 2013 to the end of the year, 49 from late August forward, 42 from Nov. 25 forward: Almost all are listed as adult males, 24 as civilians, and 33 as fighters. A strange number of the people here, civilian and fighters alike, are given as displaced from Homs (11 of the civilians, 22 of the non-civilians). Irrespective of that status, these internally displaced persons tend to have family names of those targeted in Homs and to die in small family groups, often by brutal execution. Because of this continuation of patterns from Homs, these incidents that merit it will be considered and listed here as Homs massacres. (see [[Talk:Homs Massacres#Homs Massacres Outside Homs|talk page section on this phenomenon] for more analysis.)

  • December 8/9: December 8-9, 2013: section: Nabk: Al-Faeouri Family: Ten relatives (men and women, no children) from Deir Baalba, Homs, displaced to the Damascus area, are killed there - around Nabk - during the firece clashes there.
  • (app.) December 14: section: Sukhna-Adra Massacre 14 displaced men killed, the only part of the Adra massacre mentioned by rebels, and with a shifting story.
  • December 25: section: Nabk: Alnshywaty Family: Three women and a man (no children) of the Alnshywaty family from Bab Dreib, Homs, were displaced to Nabk, Damascus, and found that a very bad place to be in January. They were reportedly slaughtered and burned.

2014

Sources said the decapitated bodies of a large number of villagers were found in Homs countryside, adding that they were the victims of a crime by Jund al-Sham Battalions, an ultra extremist group supported by the Saudi intelligence agency ... currently stationed in two villages of al-Zareh and al-Hosn villages in the same area.

See section below for more detail and speclation.

  • April 9 Karm al-Louz car bombing: at least 25 dead, 100 wounded in "Karm al-Louz district, home to many members of the minority Alawite sect..." LA Times
  • April 30 Abbasiya car bombing: Under regime forces fatalities, rank:civilian, the VDC has tucked away 17 victims from "Abbaseh Neighborhoods" (apparently Abbasiya, just south of Deir Baalba) with the note "The number of civilian deaths caused by the explosion of a car bomb by Jabhat Nusra." 9 men, 6 boys, 1 girl, and 1 woman. The core of this is is 8 martyrs from one family, labeled Al al-Saqraji 1-8. These include one man, the one woman, and all 6 boys.
  • July 23, 2014 Shinya Massacre of army recruits external article - a reported 20 soldiers who tried to defect, killed and mutilated/beheaded in the Alawite village of Shinya near al-Houla. VDC recods list only 4, all from Damascus area.
  • October 1 school bombing in Akrima: On October 1, two car bombs in sequence went off at a primary school in Homs' Alawite-majority Ikrima (Akrama) district killed dozens of civilians, mostly children starting their school year in a supposedly secure city. FIDES for example reports more than 41 were killed. The Opposition VDC lists 61 civilians from Homs, mostly Ikrima, killed by explosion this day: 28 girls, 21 boys, 11 men, 1 woman, all dutifully listed as with "regime's army," rank: civilian or in one case unknown. Notes: "Killed more than 41 children and more than 7 civilians persons and 3 element of security by explosion of two car bombs in the "Akrma al-Mouhdtha" school"

2015

The massacres of this year are mainly by ISIS and in the far east of the province, in and around Palmyra. The various massacres there total at least 300 dead, but aren't yet tallied or studied. They lie outside the usual geographic scope of this page, and come with little controversy over the guilty party, so detailed consideration seems less useful than usual.

Shababeek Souria infographic lists:

  • 8 Ameriya 15 May 2015 - 30 killed, by ISIS
  • 9 Palmyra 24 May 400 (mostly women, children) by ISIS
  • 11 Al-Zahra'a massacre - 12 December, 2015 - 16 civilians dead, 50 injured, by opp. forces (unclear/unstated)
  • 12 Al-Zahra'a 28 December, 2015 10 civilians dead +100 injured, by opposition forces
    • SOHR: 32 killed (initial), car bomb and suicide bomb, ISIS takes credit - gov: 6 killed, 37 wounded (initial) (Reuters)
  • 13 Termaal massacre 15 Oct. 2015 3 civilians dead, by Jabhat al-Nusra [5]
  • March 5, 2015 Armenian district bombing: 8+ killed, 12+ wounded by a car bombing "in an Armenian district, where the majority of people are Christians and Alawites." That should be on the east central edge of the city. No credit is mentioned. (CNN) Further reports seem scarce. The VDC records Zero Homs martyrs this day and also no relevant "regime forces" type civilian deaths (2 unknown rank Homs men - "special forces" - shot fighting in Latakia).

2016

  • Jan. 26 Zahra'a (disrict) car bombing: Twin car-suicide-bomb attack claimed by ISIS as killing 30+. Government reports said 22+ killed and 100+ injured. (Reuters via Business Insider)
  • Feb. 21 2016 Zahra'a bombing: twin car-bombing kills 32+ (gov) or 57+ (SOHR) killed, 100+ injured in Zahra'a, ISIS claims responsibility. (Reuters)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK_6zHTxVGk

  • Zara (Hama) massacre, 12 May: Shababeek Souria infographic lists: 10 Zara - 13 May 2016 - 50 civilians dead (women, children), by Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra [5] However, the #May, 2016 Zaara Massacre was on the 12th, and technically in Hama province, but the killers were from Homs, and took captives there. So as we do with the similar Aqrab Massacre, we consider it here too. The details are still unclear/disputed.

Massacre Details

Those massacres, alleged, real, and unclear, selected for deeper study but with no dedicated page, will be explored in sub-sections below, listed in chronological order.

Clock Square Massacre

April 18/19, 2011, City Center: Some sources mention a "massacre of time," where "time" = الساعة = alsa'eh (phoenetic) = central square with the central clock where you check the time and get in sync. "Freedom square" as currently labeled, with "new time" at its center. This is the new clock tower; there is also the old clock tower, a French design from the 1930s with three faces on an iron frame.

A year after the alleged massacre there, Rose al-Homsi posted an account from witness to the April 18 protest and the night-time violence. [6] The following is summarized from that. At the clock square, protesters gathered and gave speeches until sunset then settled in for sleeping and chanting god is great, and for the downfall of the regime. At 10 pm a group went to the Baath party headquarters in Inshahat to check rumors of high-up officials there. Extra fancy cars, and "protective" ones, were seen parked there. But back at the protest site a kilometer or so north they decided they wouldn't run. "We would not let go so easily!" [6]

The shabeeha [thugs] and regime forces spread around the Clock Square through its side roads however did not attack or enter. They were in vast numbers – quite unexpected to be honest, we began to count and prepare for the attack. The Sheikh Mohamad Aldalati spoke to a high ranking security officer, the officer agreed for his forces to remain separate from the protesters behind their checkpoints as a protective barrier between them and the shabeeha [regime thugs]. The agreement was in fact put into practice, but their looks were of death and swearing from their side and our side. The young man returned to the square with his friends, they were fully aware now the attack was not just being planned by local regime forces but was in fact ordered by Maher Al-Assad himself – his order was to empty the square, or else. [6]

They prepared, gathering medical supplies, arranging field clinics in case you can't trust the hospitals, arranging hiding spots if they needed to escape. There's not a single mention of weapons being involved. The Sheikhs agreed to stay with the people, while the women agreed to leave, fearing possible rape. At 1:00 AM, "the number (of protesters) decreased by a large amount and we began preparing to sleep as well as cleaning the square, some ate and others sang. The young men decided to leave the square, many had sisters who were out all day and their whereabouts were unknown, and others had parents fearing the worst for their son’s safeties. They left the square leaving behind the young men who were at around 5000 in total."

At 1:50 am, the shooting began. "The gunfire could be heard from every corner of Homs, there was gunfire in Baba Amr, Alkhaldiyeh, Bab Sba’, Bab Dreib [in almost all of old Homs], Albayada and Deir Balbeh….And most certainly in Clock Square! The young men went onto the roof and could see the bombs falling onto the square and bullets raining onto the protesters. The sounds of Takbeer “God is Great” filled the skies..." But it wasn't all those protesters who had fanned out to check on their sisters. "The friend told him that the shabeeha (thugs) forces opened fire heavily and randomly, targeting them. Protesters then ran and dispersed in all directions, chanting “God is the Greatest”. Gunfire was following them around in main streets and other roads." It followed the friend all the way home as he ran for two hours, north to Khalidiya. "The friend also told him that a lot of young men were martyred that day." [6]

Another witness cited for this report, it says, "did not move at all so the regime’s forces would actually believe that he was already dead. He told his friend everything he has witnessed." He saw bodies loaded into garbage trucks, and he was one of them. There were many; "he said that the number of dead bodies that were with him were over two hundred." He saw how they were offloaded at different places - the military hospital, the national hospital, and in a mass grave in a nearby village. There, he learned somehow, residents dug up the bodies briefly, and "the regime’s forces then instantly came, took the corpses, and buried them in an unknown location (to cover up their crime)." But this witness "was taken as a dead body to the military hospital with the rest of the bodies." He was "the only one who stayed alive to tell this miserable story," but also "discovered that one person was still alive and so treated him" (in the garbage truck or after all the offloadings?). After treating the other survivor, "he was detained." Then "once he was freed he came out to tell of the tragedy." "He didn’t know until now how, why, or for what reason he had been kept alive," and that is a weak point in this "miserable" tale - that the authorities would move a whole mass grave of mute dead people to hide the truth, but let a living witness just walk away to tell all the details makes very little sense.

The year-later report concludes that still "the exact number of martyrs" remained unclear. If not over 200, as the dead-playing witness claims, "the majority confirmed that there had been dozens, while some others said that there had been less than that," but they also ran away, so may have just not seen the piles of bodies. The CDV databse suggests it was less than dozens, or one dozen at most. A query shows a total of 12 documented martyrs in Homs April 18 and 19 combined, sharing 8 family names between them. [7] One other factor to consider is that "the number of missing people is very high," Rose al-Homsi adds, but roughly how high is not stated. [6]

After the killings, it was learned, "shabeeha danced and chanted praises to their God Bashar. They desecrated the Square with their feet ... The celebrations lasted until daybreak with gunshots..." [6] Later, in mid-March, 2012, two men described as something like Shabiha ("Hbhristin" to "Hbih" variant of Shabiha) were captured in Homs and put on rebel video as having admitted involvement in this massacre. A news story explained a video, adding that these two "participated in the massacre of time in Homs ... Omar Mukhtar Brigade arrest Hbhristin participated in the massacre of time in Homs committed by gangs and Anisa Brigades on 18-4-2011" when "Elmejrman recognize that the gang transported by dump trucks and bodies after the fire car wash blood." (Google translated)

The Syrian Coalition in 2016 marked the five-year anniversary of this "Clock Square Massacre" that involved "killing and injuring dozens of unarmed protestors." They call it “one of the most important moments of the revolution” They say the date chosen for Assad's brutality “coincides with the anniversary of the evacuation of the French forces from Syria.” (ETILAF 4-18-2016) But this is apparently wrong; all other sources agree Evacuation Day is celebrated in Syria on April 17, the day before this night protest. As for how the day was marked, see the above entry.

Claiming the wrong day, “Majd Ibrahim” told Scott Anderson for the NYT report Fractured Lands on the 17th “tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered at Clock Tower Square downtown, and this time, the police and shabiha took to the roofs and upper floors of the surrounding buildings to shoot down at them. “That is when everything changed,” Majd said. “Where before it was protests, from April 17 it was an uprising.” [8]

Clock Square Videos

Relevant videos:

8-14 Video? These have been presented as the same event, and apparently are - the date (Aug. 14) must be a typo. VDC reflects no such event between Aug. 14-15 (14 Homs people killed, half of them in Kafr Laha and/or Houla, the rest scattered).

Bus Massacre May 8, 2011

CNN reported :May 9, 2011

(Syrian) State media reported that 10 people were killed and three were wounded Sunday when gunmen attacked a bus in Homs, a province where clashes broke out between security forces and protesters over the weekend. The state-run Syrian news agency, SANA, called the attackers an "armed terrorist group." [9] [10] The opposition VDC doesn't attribute blame but lists 11 martyrs on May 8 with the note: "Was from the martyrs among whom who were in the bus coming from Lebanon back to Homs" The victims were from one main area well to the north of Homs: Az Ziyārah spelled 2 ways, put in Hama and Idlib ("Jisr Al-Shoghour") and neighboring Qastoun, Hama to the east, and one from Hasakeh: Ras Al-Ain. But they were all killed in "Homs," most likely near a crossing around Talkalakh.

May 14-18, Talkalakh

The VDC lists 31 civilian victims from Talkalakh killed in the span May 14-18 29 men, 2 women mostly shot, some by execution. Duplicate names include Shwiti x2 Hamada x3 Masri x2 Akkari x2.

It starts with one dead May 14, martyr #919 Ahmad Mohammad Hamshou with a photo after death (smiling?). A lawyer, aged 30, he was killed by detention-torture-execution, it says, explaining: "Assad thugs (Shabiha) from the village of Hajar Abyad, which is near Talkalakh, crossed him, beat him up, and tortured him, before he was arrested while in a very bad condition. He continued to be tortured while he was detained, until he died. The body of Ahmad Hamsho was handed over to his family around the end of May" Video of the martyr http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lSQ21vSQqA Video of the martyr http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c1ktEyxO5U

Then 9 were shot May 15, including the 2 women, one of whom died "after she was transported to Lebanon." At least one May 15 entry (Ali Hazem Basha) notes "Killed by a sniper bullet." Only one person was shot on the 16th. By the list, 2 civilians were tortured and executed and 14 were shot dead on May 17. At least two (Sulaiman al-Kurdi Mohammad Mahmoud Hamada) carry the note "During the attack of the city," meaning Talkalakh. One man was aged 74. Another was 20, martyr #1001Mohammad Masto, civilian but sometimes wore camouflage and carried an RPG launcher. Four more civilians were shot dead on May 18 and then things seemed to settle down for a while.

May 21 Cemetery Shootings

VDC list, May 21 2011 all Homs = 17 men, all but the top two seeming to fit one event. These are mostly field executed, interrelated with names Lada/Ladi x3 Numer/Nemr x3 Masri, etc. They're from Khalidiya, Bab Tadmor, Deir Balba, and Tal al-Nasr, but most not specified, just "Homs." Some have notes "Tal al- Naser graveyard," not explained. This is north of Deir Baalba, a large cemetery. Sharef Ihasn al-Sibaee has a photo or video still and a daylight video of what seems a freshly-injured man amidst a crowd. The best guess from this is a funeral was attacked. The video title says in part (auto-translated carefully) "Martyr Sharif Ahsan Sibai," martyred in Tal al-Nasr "during Shiism." The meaning of that ( أثwناء التشيع ) is not clear. funeral procession video for him.


May 31 Cemetery Shootings

For May 31, 2011, the VDC lists 13 men from Rastan killed by shooting. 3 are named Ruz, 2 are named Hamdan, and 2 Obeid. Six of them are listed as "workers" and others are at least partly related. The entries weren't all reported at once, but 15,000 martyrs apart in time; the first ones listed have numbers like 1,222 and 1,234. Others have numbers in the 16,000+ range. Qasem Faysal Hamdan (#16142) is one worker with a photo and an extra note: "In a shooting at the cemetery with the invasion of the city, was delivered over to his family and buried on 07.06.2011" As with the May 21 incident above, it seems a funeral was attacked. The day before, a "boy" (age 24, worker) from Rastan was shot dead, along with two women and no one else. The funeral was probably for one or more of these.

Zhouri SFA Massacre

Al-Qusayr, Sept. 24, 2011: contemporaneous with the Qusayr-involved #Al-Assi River Massacre, a dubious grouping of civilians and non-civlians, apparently called FSA, and half of them of a single family, are shot dead in Qusayr (and Idlib!) this day. 15 total listed by the VDC, inlcuding 15 men and one 16-year-old boy

The boy and six others are from the hard-hit Zhouri family, listed below. Note the entry # shows lower numbers (3,000 range) reported at the time, and most (13,000 range) added much later. It seems only one Zhouri (Alaa, "SFA") was included in the initial reports of 8 killed.

Note: this is the only killing in the set explicitly blamed on Shabiha. One possibility is that Yathrub himself is what the rebels consider a Shabih.
  • An odd case: Asharf Abdulhadi al-Zhouri #13,658. Civilian, age 27, from Qosair, university student age 27, was killed the same day - as recorded here - but elsewhere: "Martyrdom location: Jabal Zawyeh: Iblein" Notes: Brother of Martyr Yathrub Zhouri.

LCC Sep 24:

Syria: Ten people were killed today by the bullets of the security forces and the Syrian army. Eight of them in Qosair in Homs, one in Hama and one in Douma, in Damascus Suburbs. ... Homs: Quseir: More than 8 people were martyred and many injured following gunfire during the storming of the city. The house of one of the martyrs burned down when it was hit by an RPG. ... Homs: Quseir: The officer Maan Kanj was martyred in Quseir for refusing to open fire on demonstrators.

There is and never will be any proof he refused anything. Ma'an Abdulkarim al-Kanj, with photo of him in SAA uniform. Rank: Engineer Captain. Notes: "He known as Abu Obaida". They order engineer captains to shoot people? Who's going after his family? Bilal Kanj El Kanj, non-civilian, age 28, Qosair. "Rank: SFA." A Mostapha - among others - was missing. LCC Sep 25:

9-25: Homs: Qosair: The residents receive two unidentified bodies. A large number of young people are still missing, including Abdo Jalas, Mohammad Harbeh, Mostapha Kanj, Bilal Kanj, Omar Jobran, Anas Motawwaa, Mohammad Mohildeen, Hassan Ali Amer, Bassel Haj Hassan and Khaled Jabbour.

The unidentified bodies may be from among these other victims:

Al-Assi River Massacre, Sept. 2011

From video, apparent murder weapon, discarded clothing

September 24, 2011 (app.) This incident deserves a little space here. First, consider from the LCC's daily report of Sept. 24 the video (09-24-11) Al-Qusayr | Homs | (GRAPHIC) Massacre of Homs: Bodies in AlAssi River. [11] Al-Assi seems to be the main river running through the Green Belt of Homs, flowing north from the Mount Hermel area in Lebanon. Qusayr is specified, and it passes there just before Homs but it could be elsewhere.) Filmed around 6:30 Pm on the 24th, by the on-screen data, it shows blood of executions at a small building, remains buried in shallow earth (a partial limb sticking out, chewed down by dogs, perhaps, to meaty bone), and a tool apparently used in the murders is picked up and waved around. Removed clothing and shoes for at least a few victims that appears, at low resolution and light, rather military in appearance (see inset). Also, blood smears on the concrete lip and stairs along the river, and faintly bodies under the water can be seen. Their failure to floating on the surface suggests they've been in there less than 2 days. They're not shown being pulled out or afterwards and we cannot see how many bodies there are.

The video right above the river one is (09.25.2011) Homs | Martyr Safa Ghassan and signs of torture. It's dated for the next day but posted early. It's not mentioned, but he visibly looks pulled out of a river, bleached white and water-logged skin, and naked. He was dumped after receiving some nasty torture - dozens of small holes all over his chest, sides, arms and hands, various scratch marks, and one little hole each at the collarbone and lower neck. These are likely worsened by submersion in water (with its microbes and larger flesh-nibblers) but probably predate that. His right eye is perhaps removed under closed and flat lids, either by some fish, or some tormentors. There are forehead injuries like from a rifle butt, and his right hand sliced and maybe crushed, now puffing up black with decay.

Safa Ghassan Tawakol before he was abducted, tortured, killed, and apparently dumped in the al-Assi river

This man gets an entry at the VDC as a martyr, with a link to a different posting of this video, a fuller name - Safa Ghassan Tawakol - and a location, Bab Dreib, Homs. Martyrdom location, blank. Cause, shooting, 9/25. Plus there's quite the photo of the man (inset), which doesn't look civilian except technically. Paramilitary - camo pants, khaffiyeh, gunner's vest, automatic rifle and that look. He's posing sternly, but in a living room. He seems prepare to fight the terrorists of Homs as a neighborhood Shabih, or for that matter like a rebel fighter, but he's listed as neither. Note that Safa is usually a woman's name. Having a woman's name is sometimes a Christian thing around Homs (see Sari Saoud, Maya Nasser). Christians in Bab Dreib don't usually side with the rebels. For reference, the VDC has three apparent relative from Homs listed besides him - this list has all 6 "Tawak" name martyrs - the 4 Tawakols plus two Tawakalnas.

The LCC's report for the 25th adds a twist to his story: "Homs: Delivering the dead body of martyr Safa Ghassan Tawakoul who was injured in last days of Ramadan and was moved to Al Ber Hospital to get the treatment, but the security force kidnapped him from there and no one heard about him since then. Today he was delivered to his family as a dead body.
" [12]

A river is not mentioned in Safa's entry, but he's apparently one of the bodies removed, apparently on 9/25 as recorded, and has that given as death date. But it said bodies, plural. How many others were buried in the river and who were they? The helpful visuals stop there but a guess could be ventured of at least five others, and maybe 11 or more, for a total of 6-12. The VDC martyrs list (usually meaning killed by the "regime") offers five more possible companions:

  • Ahmad Sultan El Rahal Civilian - Homs Talbesieh 2011-09-25. Detention - Torture Age 45. Notes: "arrested 23 sept. 2011 : martyrdom after torture"
  • Abdel Moin El Mokahal, Non-Civilian (Rank: Recruit). From Homs: Deir Baalabeh. 2011-09-25, Detention - Torture. Notes: "arrested 18 august. 2011 : died under torture Given back to his family today"
LCC 9-25: "Homs: Deir Baalba: The body of the martyr Abdulmoeen Makhal, a defected recruit, was handed to his parents by the Military Hospital. The body shows signs of brutal torture. Security forces arrested the martyr when they stormed the village of Zaafaraneh on 2011-08-19." [12]
  • Mohamed El Shiar, Civilian. Homs: Khedr. Died 2011-09-25, Shooting. Video (no longer available)
  • Moatez El Shiar, Civilian. Homs, Bab Al Sebaa. 2011-09-25, Shooting
  • Iyad Mohamed Bacchar Allouch, Non-Civilian (Rank: Recruit) from Homs: Khaledeyeh. Died 2011-09-24, Shooting. Martyrdom location:Homs: Qosair Notes: executed because he refused to fire on demonstrators. Video of the martyr: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoO4Tpa3eIA (funeral)

Note that two of these are actual military members, allegedly defected/dissenting. If we take the same pulled from the river date Safa was given as date of death, and check the VDC regime fatalities list (suaully meaning killed by rebels), we get an interesting result. Sept. 25, nationwide, regime fatalities = 6 only, and apparently five of them were in Homs.

  • Alfat Wajeh Naser: From Suweida, no details on location, likely unrelated
  • Adnan Mohammad Abd al-Kareem: killed somewhere in Homs, from Homs, Warrant Officer First Class
  • Ahmad Sha'ban Mahmoud: killed in Homs: Jeb al-Jandali 9/25 Warrant Officer Third Class
  • Ma'in Ahmad al-Salih: Killed in Homs - Baba Amre neighborhood 9/25 Policeman. Notes: "Personnel of Political Security Branch in Homs."
  • Muhammad Hassan al-Hoash Martyrdom location Homs - Baba Amre Rank Soldier. Notes: "Personnel of Political Security Branch in Homs"
  • Hassan Ali Eid: especially this guy. Age: 50. Area: Zahraa (Alawite majority). "Occupation: Head of" (redacted?) Rank: Civilian. Was he

Safa's Shabih commander?

  • One victims marked "Personnel of Criminal Security Department in Qousair" was also killed on al-Qousair-Arjoun road Sept. 24. And again, Qusair was originally cited. No other Sept. 24 entries appear to fit the patterns.
  • Khaled Saeek Mohabani Soldier. Age 21, from Homs : Joret Al Shayah. Killed Sept. 23 in Homs : Al-Qosair. LCC 9-25: Homs: security forces told the family of martyr private Khaled Mahbani that the "terrorists" who killed Mahbani have been killed. The family was shown 13 dead bodies strewn randomly in the morgue freezer. It is worth mentioning that martyr Mahbani was shot in the back of his head by 9mm bullet, which exited from the eye. Martyr Mahbani is from Jouret Shiyah. His family was given the news of his death by a phone call on Friday evening." [12] The he was handed back right after the river recovery suggests he might have been one of those in the river. It might be worth mentioning the precise details rebel sources know. Perhaps wisely, they don't specify what his last words were.

Between Safa, the two "civilian" recruits and fellow torture victim, and the seven security men, it seems ten is about the most likely number of soggy dead for this massacre.

November 1 bus massacre

This attack occurred just northeast of Zaidal east of Homs, at about 3:45 pm on November 1, 2011, a source informs us. <citation forthcomin> A bus carrying 15 civilians was driving east towards Jub Abbas village (Wikimapia). Unclear criminals blocked the road, detained everyone on the bus, and killed 11 of them who they decided were Christians or Alawi. An extremely graphic video run by pro-government sources shows at least two victims were hacked in the head with swords or axes (top removed, sliced down the middle). The victims were reported by pro-government sources as: Ahmad Assaf ,55 years old from Jub Abbas - Yasen Alshami , 63 years old from Tal Alnaqa - Suliman Ibrahim 60 years old from Wridah - Elian Darwish 67 years old from Wridah Anwar Abdullah 60 years old from Wridah - Hasan Abboud 30 years old from Almghliah - Ali Ahmad 26 years old from Jub Abbas - Mahmud Alsalih (the driver) Alaa Alsalih - Husin Aljundi - the 11th victim's name was unknown

VDC list, same 11 men killed by "field execution," no explanation. (Raja Awwad is the 11th name) The LCC"s daily report for Nov. 1 makes no mention of any such incident. However in the same area they report "Security Forces detained the agricultural engineer Bassam Mushantaf as he passed the checkoint to the town of Fayrouza." This might be the same "checkpoint" that stopped the bus. Perhaps he's one of the 4 that were spared but still detained.

Zoeib Family Massacre

Onetime Baath Party secretary for Homs, Ghazi Mohammad Al Khaled Al Zo'eib

Bashar al-Assad's ruling Baath party was once represented in Homs by Branch Secretary Ghazi al-Zo'eib. But by the end of 2011, anti-Baath rebels were displaying and burying his punctured corpse in their hotbed neighborhood of Baba Amr. In between, he retired apparently, and rebels say he defected, was wooed back but resisted, and the regime forces massacred him and several family members in late 2011. The finale of this is explained in a short note on the LCC daily summary for the 24th:

Security forces carried out the assassination of Mr. Ghazi Mohammad Khaled Zoaib, former secretary general of ...the Homs' division of the Baath Party, and his wife Rajaa Mohammad Khaled Bakkar while raiding their house and opened fire on them in the neighborhood of Baba Amr, and then burned the house. The martyr had been threatened before by the regime as a result of his support of the revolutions since its beginning. [13]

A more lengthy note on the Syrian Shuhada entry for Mr. Zo'eib (here transliterated as Ghazy mhmd alkhald alzayb) explains that the Local Coordination Committees support that "Zugheib ... was threatened by the system as a result of his support of the revolution since its beginning," and had "pro-regime pages on Facebook launched a sustained attack him two months ago. Indeed, the written comments on the pages of a pro-regime accused Zugheib of supporting militants , and claims that his grandchildren out in the confession says that a member of the armed groups . [14] It's troubling that allegations from an actual pro-regime site are the only thing cited - these could as easily have been sown by rebel supporters laying the ground to blame the government for his coming death, exactly as they were used.

Furthermore, someone called "Abu Qusay" who claims to be Zo'eib's son explained it all to Saudi-owned al-Arabiya (video, Arabic), from which translatable text notes (as well as the video) were included with the Syrian Shuhada entry. [14] By that, Ghazi still had "official status" and was "a member of the central committee of the party." The Baathists offered him a renewed spot as Branch Secretary, during a meeting attended by Syria's Interior Minister and the head of the Political Security in return for the narrator, "Abu Qusay." As he explained, "They asked us to be shabiha and asked us to lie on television, but we did not (agree)." His father would not sacrifice him, "as happened with my cousin." So it was the regime, "not the alleged armed gangs," who assassinated Ghazi in "a political decision." "Security forces ... raided his father's house four times, and the fifth time armored cars Pickups military and civilian vehicles took the home, then burned timber and firewood around the house before bombing the house."

The central martyr is recorded as Ghazy mhmd alkhald alzayb by Syrian Shuhada, and by the VDC as Ghazi Mohammad Al Khaled Al Zo'eib. They share Video of the martyr (inset image). Notes: "He died" That's terse, or incomplete. He didn't die alone - his wife, as mentioned, was killed at the same time. S.Shuhada lists Rjaa mhmd alkhald albkar, "wife of Ghazli Alzayb." The VDC has Raja Mohammad al-Khalid Bakar, a late entry numbered 14953 to his 5627. Notes: Was martyred with her husband by security shooting." The same video is shown, plus another Video of the martyr. These videos would not be publicized, or made, for a few more days (see below).

A cited data source for both Syrian Shuhada entries is somewhere on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Freeabazeed?sk=wall . And another video is provided there: as the title translates, it shows people digging a grave (for the Zoeibs?) in someone's orchard (their own?). It's dated and uploaded Dec. 24, although the burial wouldn't be for days. For unexplained reasons, rebels knew of the killings but couldn't access the bodies. Only on the 27th, as monitors arrived (see below...) did the LCC report "Homs: The corpses of Ghazi Zaib and his wife were found. He was the former Secretary of the Baath Party in Homs, and was martyred two days ago. His funeral is scheduled for today." [15] Reported killed three days ago (not two), he looks freshly killed in the cited video. He's exceptionally thin, either just from age, or he may have been starved during his captivity. It could be just bullet holes or some torture that left the numerous puncture wounds all over his chest. He has red, roughed up skin, various scrape marks, etc. The totally-clothed lower body is unusual and interesting given the smoke stains from belly down, and a large black burn, perhaps, on his lower right side, and disrupted ankle and feet unusually covered with socks. As for his wife, Raja, they tore her right hand half-off at the thumb-wrist, blew or tore a hole in her jaw, from the bits we can see on video.

In all of this, the 10-year-old Zo'eib boy, who was killed the same day in Baba Amr, is not explained. The VDC has Hamza Zo'eib, child-male - killed by "shooting" on December 24, no other data. Syrian Shuhada has Hmzh alzayb, killed Dec. 24, age 10, and the questionable note "The execution of the child Hamza Zeib after insulting the army three bullets."

Perhaps young Hamza is a continuation of the mentioned nephew-slayings. As "Abu Qusay" explained to al-Arabiya, "three sons of brother Ghazi Zugheib has been martyred in previous periods by the forces of Assad , they are: ( Mahmoud Ahmed Zeib - a child in the eighth grade - cited on Eid al-Adha ) , Jihad Ahmad Zeib ( Communication Engineering - fifth year - as a result of the bombing of their home district Babaamr 12/20/2011 ) , Ali Ahmed Zeib ( eighth grade - as a result of the bombing of their home Bbabaamr 20/12/2011 ) .[14] The VDC has all of these: the earliest is Mahmoud Ahmad Zuaib, child-male, Baba Amr, age 11 - killed November 8, 2011 by "shelling." Entry #13150 (late entry). photo (intact) and videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QTjRL9dekI - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t76FLlt6Icg. The other two nephews of the former Baath party secretary died closer to him, just four days before. Dec. 20, Baba Amr, killed by "shooting," the VDC has Jihad Ahmad Zo'eib (22, the 5th year student, photo) and Ali Ahmad Zo'eib, no data.

These three, plus the fourth unexplained youth killed on the 24th, plus Mr. and Mrs. Zo'eib makes a six-member killing spree. It's a little loose to call this one clear massacre, but the tail end alone barely qualifies and the preceding pattern strengthens the terroristic intent of the killings. Someone apparently was pressuring them with this bloodletting, probably as stated to join a campaign of killing and lying on TV, and indeed they were killed for refusing. As for the crucial questions of who that would be, recall that "Abu Qusay" is speaking on TV, and his rebel allies always wind up with the corpses of his alleged family members.

Massacre for the Monitors

LCC daily reports of December 23-31 describe escalating violence across Homs as security forces killed citizens with "Artillery, RPG and nail bombs" and random heavy gunfire. But their main story was the ongoing "siege" of the Baba Amr district: a Christmas Day, 2011 LCC "urgent Appeal" (attached to their Dec. 25 daily report) called for the Arab League's monitors, recently arrived in Syria, to come see the damage in Homs. They especially cited Baba Amr, which remained "under a tight siege and the threat of military invasion," they said. "We face a real threat of genocide and crimes against humanity in Homs ... if the Arab League does not immediately send its observers there," and added "We hold the Arab League and the International Community accountable for the massacres and bloodshed committed by the regime in Syria." [16]

Observers were sent to Homs quickly, by Dec. 27 when they got at least to the edge of Baba Amr, and 28th when they were given quite a show inside. When they first arrived on the 27th, opposition sources seemed disappointed. Some video titles from the LCC report of the 27th are instructive:

(12.27.2011) Baba Amr | No doubt that the Head of the Monitors saw the tanks in Homs today ... A footage showing the residents in Baba Amr district asking the the Arab league observers to enter the district and observe what the Syrian regime has done (knowing that Baba Amr district is one of the hottest spots in Homs). The observers refuse because of sniper fire which they fail to document. ... A footage showing the residents in Baba Amr district explaining to the Chairman of the Arab League observers how much damage the Syrian regime has done to the neighborhood : the Chairman of the Arab League observers is totally ignoring them. ... A footage showing some of the Arab League Observers crying when they saw the orphans whom their fathers were killed by pro-regime troops in Baba Amr. ... Some of the Arab League "observers" wandering in Al-Gottat district with the company of syrian regime security forces. [15]

On this day and the days immediately before, someone made sure the monitors were able to witness the tail end of what the LCC report termed the "massacre of Baba Amr." The scale isn't huge in this case; VDC Baba Amr search - Dec. 22-31 = 46 martyrs, including 39 adult males, 4 women, 2 boys, 1 girl. (at least one victim from the 26th doesn't appear - see below - for a total of 18 that day and 47 in total for the week.) Recorded fatalities by day:

  • Dec 22=6
  • Dec 23=9
  • Dec 24=7
  • Dec 25=0
  • Dec 26=18
  • Dec 27=3
  • Dec 28=3
  • Dec 29=1
  • Dec 30=0
  • Dec. 31=0

December 23 report contains a video "showing nine bodies of civilians who have been killed since yesterday by Assad's troops in Baba Amr district." [17] VDC Dec 22-23 Baba Amr = 15 dead, and 15 family names with no repeats. Of interest are: Elewi, Hameesh (unnamed), Fauori (a woman), Raslan, Ali. A Saleh Al Jamooli was killed by "shelling," the rest by "shooting," meaning armed men inside the district, or from snipers in the encircling periphery.

The 24th saw the death of girl martyr Rima al-Mhemed al-Nahayer (a late addition: #14,692 to the 5,600 range of December on most entries). Age 16, killed Dec. 24 by "shelling," but video shows her totally intact, with only a little dust on her clothes. Shelling may have let the killers in her home, but it didn't directly kill her. A LCC-listed video in fact says "Child Reema AlMuhaymeed Murdered As Assad Forces Shell," but another specifies "Child Rema Al-Mohemed was martyred by Syrian security's bullets in Baba Amr neighborhood." The same day, LCC reports, "pharmacist Mohamad Al-Awd, father of two, was martyred in Baba Amr after being shot three times by the regime's security forces." [13] VDC lists Mohammad Abdulsalam al-Awad (a late addition, #13,457) Age 29, Married and has 2 children. From Baba Amr, killed there by "Sniper Bullet." One wonder what pills the sniper made off with. Video of the martyr.

Also on the 24th was most of the #Zo'eib Family Massacre, a subset covered separately above. The former local chairman of the Baath party in Homs is executed in his home in Baba Amr, along with his wife and a boy relative, after three young nephews were killed over the preceding weeks. Activists say he had sided with the rebels and so was being pressured and finally killed by the government, It's not clear if the Zoeib funeral was staged for monitors (there's no shared video of that), but the body discovery and funeral were delayed three days until the 27th, just long enough to let them observe some tangible portion of this politically confusing development.

December 26

Christmas was a light day for martyrs in Homs, with zero recorded here for Baba Amr (as with Dec. 30 and 31). But as the list shows the following day made up for it with 18 killed in the deadliest day of this span. LCC videos Dec 26:

5 martrys were killed in the massacre of Baba Amro neighborhood ... Mortar shell blows civilians apart ... a whole family killed, after Assad's forces shelled their house in Bab Amr ... Dictator Destroys Baba Amr Civilian Population ... witness hit by tank fire... An emotional distress call from Baba Amr to the free World! [18]

With select links, VDC killed this day by shooting (men unless specified): Tamer Al Assi (early entry, #5,666) - Abdel Kareem Al Misri - Abdel Raheem Al Misri - Muna al-Masri (woman, #14,958) - Basel al-Saied age 24, media activist (photo - late add, 13,226) - Zaher Me'rawi - Suleiman Khaled Al Hamad: a soldier - non-civilian "recruit" - implicitly defected and killed by the regime, or else he wouldn't be listed here.

Killed by shelling: Sulaiman Ayoush AM (photo: older man) (late add: 14,523)- Hassan Ahmad Al Bayreeni AM - Rabi'a Al Saqqa (woman) - Zino Al Saqqa - Amer Al Saqqa - Sami Mesleh - Sho'eib Al Ahmad - Abdel Mon'eim Shallaf - Mohammad Shallaf - Ghassan Nasreh - Kafya Husain al-Dahsh (woman).

LCC 12-26: "a whole family killed, after Assad's forces shelled their house." Which family? Saqqa lost three to "shelling." Video for all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTuL2Vpm4TY - account terminated. LCC-cited vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui-CjSfTQjA (private). But this fails to explain a fourth Saqqa killed in Homs that day - Hamza Al Saqqa (#5,670) was from "Qadeemeh- Bab Howd" and was "shot by a sniper." (video) This connects to a different area nowhere near Baba Amr ( video). Though it's a side-note, in that area (just "Bab Howd") a woman Lama Shihada was shot the same day.

The lists above are of people from Baba Amr, but at least one victim who died there is listed as from Province: other, Area: Iraq. Kafya Husain al-Dahsh, Age 24 killed by "shelling," Martyrdom location: Homs: Bab Amr. Notes: "Holds Iraqi Nationality." Quite likely chased out by Al-Qaeda in Iraq over religious differences, like so many Iraqis taking refuge in Syria, she was killed at about the time AQI's branch in Syria Jabhat al-Nusra is known to have begun operating. She's another late addition, as with apparently all females and some males (some noted above). At #14,954 she (and the rest) were listed after #14,481 on May 7, 2012, but before #15920 on May 17. All these late entries were part of a huge batch, several hundred it seems, dating back to mid-2011, in Homs and nationwide, in these days.

Kakhia Brothers

The actual relation is unknown, but two men of the name Kakhia were brutally killed on December 27 in incidents presented separately but apparently connected. The LCC Daily report says "Homs: Martyr Muhammad Kakhia, was trying to get assistance to residents of Baba Amr, got stopped at a checkpoint and arrested, was killed today under torture." [15] Usually assistance, in this context, is specified as food or medicine, but it's too vague to say even what they would say. The VDC lists Mohammad Hassan Kakhia, from Homs: Qadeemeh-Bab Al Derib. The entry links to a video where rebels show a body they describe with that name, in Baba Amr, they say. We see his backside, bruises across the back from a severe beating, other injuries and bandages on the lower back and buttocks. Another man is shown, from the narration perhaps Khaleef Tayeh Al Bazazi, listed as simply shot, as this man appears.

Unmentioned in all that is that a relative was killed same day in Homs, also after detention and torture: Ghanem Kakhia. "Assistance" coupled with apparent brothers tortured to death in Homs harkens back weeks to the Early December, 2011 Sectarian Killings in Homs: Two men named Abed were killed by "Kidnapping - Torture - Execution" on Dec. 6, activists said, after being "kidnapped in the Zahra neighborhood when they were handing out flour note." That would be Shabiha work, but bodies were somehow in front of opposition cameras before their blood had even dried.

This time we only see one of the bodies. Ghanem's entry links to the same video as Mohammed, but they say in the video it's the other Kakhia they're showing. Ghanem was from Baba Amr, and apparently died there, but we don't get to see video of him. He'd been kidnapped. His possible brother was coming from Bab Dreib to "get assistance to residents of Baba Amr," like perhaps his brother. It may have been more spendy aid than "flour notes." But he too was detained by someone, again someone with a conduit to the rebel Youtubes, and probably makes at least a 19th listed martyr in Baba Amr that day.

Ahmad al-Raay

Ahmad al-Raay laid on a truck of the Arab League monitors in Baba Amr, Dec. 28

Surely the most dramatic moment in this period was the December 28 presentation of boy martyr Ahmad al-Raay (Ahmad Al Ra'i as recorded by the VDC). Video of the martyr: Visibly around 6-7 years old, his wrapped body is being laid on the hood of a marked Arab League truck (unharmed face alone visible). He's joined there by olive branches under the wipers, large-caliber casings - perhaps from the operation that led to his killing - and chants of Allahu Akbar from the gathered citizens. [19]

The LCC's daily summary for the 28th included videos described as "#Homs: The Arab League observers being brought into the mosque to see the body of 5-year-old boy shot by the regime's forces in Baba Amr" and "#Homs: The blood of Ahmad Al-Ra'e on the car of the Arab League monitors in Baba Amr neighborhood." [20]The suggestion thus far is that he was shot in Baba Amr, and the VDC's entry says "Cause of Death: Shooting," "Notes: in front of the Arab observers' commission," as if that was where it happened. [19]

However, the LCC has a more remote portion of the killing: "Security forces fired at a car on the highway to Damascus wounding two women, along with the martyrdom of a child, Ahmed Al-raayhis, and his father suffered a critical head injury." [20] This story has compelling detail, and must refer to the same child, but the story implied is confusing. Security forces would be in charge of the car and its occupants after shooting it up. Yet it was rebels bringing the body back to a mosque in Baba Amr after the foiled escape attempt, and laid it across the observers' truck like a hard-won trophy. It's not clear what happened to Ahmad's father and the others in the car.

It should also be noted six people of the same family name from Baba Amr would be executed in the March 1, 2012 #Sulatinya Massacre, listed by the VDC as Raie. But the Arabic names in both cases = الراعي  or الراعي appear to be the same. Perhaps those Raays should have fled, but they knew the highway out could be dangerous.

Asheera Bakery Massacre

January 16, 2012: Ashira neighborhood, reported 3 civilians killed, including two children, "by Shabiha in shooting on the automatic bakery in Asheera neighborhood (Asheera bakery massacre)." That's on the entry where the VDC lists only one adult male victim with a name (Attiyah Hanna Ibrahim) perhaps suggesting a Christian background (a Hanna family was then being attacked by Islamists in nearby al-Qusayr - see here). LCC daily summary lists videos: "The two martyrs (Christians) from Al-'Asheera neighborhood, after the security forces attacked and burned the bakery" - "The massacre at the Bakery Al-'Asheera neighborhood" (possibly related) "Asheera | Homs |The martyr Hameedah Joubair Makhloof (Female 60) Al-'Asheera neighborhood" The text part has it bigger and worse-sounding: "Homs: Martyrdom of two children and a man, who weren't identified, at Al-Lewaa Al-Khateeb bakery in Asheera neighborhood." Names appear for two: "Homs: Martyrdom of Haytham Hana Ibrahim and Attiyah Hana Ibrahim while they are at the bakery by security members' gunfire they are Christians from Ashera neighborhood."

January 24 Shelling Massacres

January 24 LCC daily summary reports 47 martyrs total in Homs this day, including "at least 18 martyrs" in Bab Tadmur neighborhood due to the shelling by Assad's forces that destroyed two inhabitated buildings while the residents in their homes." A video title there claims 21 Martyrs. [21] They also reported "The regime's thugs (Shabeha) are raiding Bab Tadmur neighborhood once again and opening gunfire intensely and sporadically. They are also breaking the homes' locks, stealing the valuable things inside and destroying private properties." And separately, rebel brigades and/or activists were entering the shelled homes, without any hassles from the Shabiha, and spiriting away all the bodies to make their videos. one extra-memorable video scene has a frayed middle-aged man with his face half shredded-away.

Then in Karm al-Zaytoun: "The regime's forces are attacking the neighborhood of Karam Zaytoun with RPGs and heavy machine guns. There are reports about martyrs and wounded. ... Martyrdom of several civilians in Karm Zaytoun neighborhood due to a mortar shelling without warning that led to the collapse of houses on the heads of their inhabitants." This led to the same-day video series "massacre in Karm Azzaytoun," filmed and compiled here, after rebels got the roofs back off their heads and got the deceased under cameras instead. These show people, mainly adult, who do appear smashed under rubble, perhaps, with crushed heads and mangled bodies. But Another video shows a pre-teen boy in a jacket, completely intact but with blood on his face. [21]

VDC records reflect that out of a total 43 dead in Homs that day, only nine are listed as from Karm al-Zaytoun - 7 adult males named, one woman and one boy, both unidentified. The only boy seen on video seems like one of the most identifiable victims.

In Bab Tadmor there were 18 martyrs listed by the VDC, all adult males. These being "residents in their homes," we are lacking an explanation for so many homes with only men living in them. Prisoner segregation, as always, is one possible explanation for that.

Bahader-Akkra Family Massacre

wrapped child victims

January 26, 2012- Karm al-Zaytoun (KaZ) or Nazeheen: The LCC report daily summary of January 26 shares graphic Videos from Homs, that claim to prove "Shabiha slaughter a whole family in Karm Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood. Five children under the age of five years old, a young girl, a man, and three women killed by Assad's thugs." More videos are under the headings "The martyrs of the Karam-Az-Zaitoun massacre." and "A massacre in the area. A real massacre." A total of eight videos are shown with clearly sliced throats on babies, hacked-open or smashed-apart skulls on all ages, and more. Just the freeze-frames at the LCC post there are enough to get the picture. Little kids with bloody faces wrapped in orange, or previously on red clinic tables, a pre-teen boy with eyeballs popped out, etc. [22]

The LCC says January 26 witnessed 32 martyrs in Homs, of 65 total for Syria that day. Only the family of ten is specified as massacred in this way. There was other suspicious violence listed, especially snipers placed at regime places or a church. But in KaZ we have:

Fall of martyrs and dozens of wounded from a violent attack launched by security forces and army on Karm Al-Zaiton, where mortar shells were fired, which led to the displacement of the residents of two entire streets in the side of Al-Janoubi neighborhood, and destruction of several houses.

There's little else, aside from the shocking videos begging an explanation. [22] The next day the LCC share another video "showing the burying of the bodies of the civilians who were killed in Karm Al-Zaytoon massacre," but there are no further details.

Alternately, This other video of the wrapped bodies gives the locale Al-Nazeheen, perhaps meaning the area labeled Nizha on the city map above, a bit west of KaZ.

The VDC martyrs database is more helpful here, presuming their records are acurate as to names and such. AM=Adult Male, CF=Child Female, etc.

Abdullah family: (3) killed by "shooting" in KaZ. Omar Mohammed Al-Abdullah AM - Alaa Al-Abdullah AM - Amer Abdullah CM. Mahmoud Naguib Palasem from KaZ, killed by "Kidnapping - Execution." That makes four maybe inclusions. The other 10 fall into two family groups.

  • Bahader family (7), killed in KaZ Jan. 26 by "Field Execution." This must be the family of ten, or the bulk of it. Notes for each: "His/her house was stormed and he/she was killed." By whom is not specified here. Video of the martyr for all of them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CodxCMhQdes.

Moataz Bahadir AM age 24 -Rana Bahader AF age 25 - Abdul Ghani Bahadir CM age 9 - Samira Bahader CF age 3 - Sedra Bahader CF age 2. Two other adult female members - Mayada Abdulghani Bahader - Ghazal Bahader - are listed with age:0 (no data) and slightly different notes: "Her House was raided and all the family was executed." The difference in entry numbers, in the 6,000 vs. 15,000 range, suggests as often happens male martyrs were listed at the time, and the females noted months and about 9,000 victims later.

  • Akkra Family, KaZ (3) field executed, same notes, same video as above: Sanaa Akra CF age 2 - Ali Akra CM age 2 - Najm Akkra CM, Different notes: "He is 8 months old, killed while storming their house." Again, the girls are added later. Najm is entry 6679 and Ali 6642, while Sanaa is #14683.
  • Other KaZ (3) field executed, same notes, same video as above: Kenana Affara AF age 28 - Waed Hamsho AF age 19 (#14999) - Samir Wahoud AM age 50 (#6620).

Total = at least 13 field executed civilians in Karm al-Zaytoun, perhaps all somehow part of the cited family of ten seen in the rebel morgue. It's probably 17 with the four maybes, or even more - VDC's records are frequently incomplete.

Confirmation of the alleged ID: AP report by Bassem Mroue and Zeina Karam, Jan. 27:

Video posted online showed the bodies of five small children, five women and a man, all bloodied and piled on beds in what appeared to be an apartment after a building was hit in the city of Homs. A narrator said an entire family had been "slaughtered."
...
The video posted Friday by activists showed the bodies of five young children, their faces bloodied, wrapped in orange plastic bags. It said the children were believed to be from two families, the Akras and the Bahadours. Brown cardboard placards with the children's names written in Arabic were placed on their chests, identifying them: Thanaa, Ali, Najm, Abdul-Ghani and Sidra.

Video titles translated: Children slaughtered with knives Homs Karm al-Zaytoun at the hands of the Alawites - Homs: Karm al-Zaytoun: (شاهدو كيف = Hahdo how = shahdw kyf = ?) slaughter children of Syria with a knife." And the Wikipedia page Siege of Homs:

Pro-assad militia called "shabiba" entered a building in the neighbourhood, and killed 14 members of a Sunni family. The Bahader family was found shot and hacked to death, the dead included 8 children under the age of 9. YouTube video footage was taken by activists, showing the family members dead bodies, with wounds to the head and neck including children. There was no comment from the Syrian authorities, but a doctor in Homs said "Alawites who had remained in Karm al-Zeitoun mysteriously left four days ago, and the rumor was that they did so on orders by the authorities. Today we know why. [9] (cited: al-Arabiya)

Mohammad Family Massacre

January 30, Karm al-Zaytoun: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, daily summary for January 30 reports over 100 dead "so far," with 76 of those in Homs, and "among them are two families, one in Karam Zeitoun and the other in Rasta [sic]." The one in KaZ is explained so:

The activist Abu Mo’az talking about two massacres in Karam Al-Zaytoun, Homs speaking with great difficulty: The family remained 5 days in their home… The first martyr is a handicapped boy who was disfigured and tortured to death! The second martyr is a little girl tortured by shabiha who took out her intestines. The third image is of the father who was ortured and disfigured with broken ribs… He looked as if they smashed his whole body. The fourth martyr is a baby boy pulled strongly away from his mother’s lap while holding her hair. … He was tortured and deformed; some of his mother’s hair is still in his hand. The fifth martyr is a little girl brutalised and tortured till she passed away!! The mother was the last one! Her eyes are almost ripped out. Apparently, she was tortured to death! [23]

The cited video (graphic) is under heading "(01-30-12) Karam az-Zaytoun massacre | Homs | Child, Ahmad Al-Muhammad Murdered by Assad." (an other video). The description they provide is fair enough. I'll add that the baby has a massively broken arm and guts squished out his side, and the "disabled" boy wears a poorly-improvised diaper, and has a bloody groin injury. All but the mother are laid out in their underwear in good lighting so you can see where the killers dug holes into the soft parts of all their bodies, it looks like. They say the mother's eye was pulled out, and it could be. They also say she died last, though she's only shown last. The suggestion: she was made to watch, and then one eye only was put out. More likely, it was blown out from a gunshot to the back of the head, explaining the brain matter extruding behind it.

They say the killers made a point of spreading this abuse out over five days of living hell. That would have started about January 25, the day before some exuberant new criminals in the KaZ or Nazaheen area slaughtered people from two other families (see above).

The "Examiner" later ran a photo os these victims, arranged differently - falsely attributed to the Houla massacre. It shows a little more detail on the wounds.

Besides the videos, the text part of the LCC report add fairly little. "Homs: Shelling towards Karm Al-Zaitoun neighborhood and Al-Nazeheen continues . Shooting and explosions didn't stop since early morning." This renewed Army shelling coincided with the killers ending their five-day stint in that home, and what seems to be only a brief time that activists could access the house, after the murky pro-Assad criminals fled but before Assad's army and authorities closed in. And they didn't hit the window right either, LCC reports:

Homs: Security forces and thugs (Shabeha) committed a horrible crime with an entire family in Karm Al-Zayton neighborhood and arrested several young men who were able to arrive to the home of the murdered family. That could also be rendered "found at the scene of the crime." Consistent with that, it says "securitiy members took the corpse of the family members namely: Mohammad Turki Al-Mohammad (Father), Ebtisam Al-Khodr (Mother) and Amjad, Tahiyat and Ahmad (Children). One is left off here - there are four children - Ahmad (age 11/12?) a boy of perhaps six (also diapered), a girl about the same age, and a baby boy of perhaps 2.

The VDC has all six on this list, amongst a few other martyrs in Karm al-Zaytoun that day. Each entry says field executed, no notes except the father. Some combination of these 4 video links is given for each: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMc-WbFIXwE - ...v=mi5-5MsYEkg - ...v=2E44MkwaXCo - ...v=Jbei-9YfyNI

Listing note: for whatever reason, the males were listed first, with martyr numbers in the range 6906-6964, while mother and daughters bearing numbers in the range 15013-15020.

Mother's name: Al-Khider/Khedr/Khodr - a man of that name - Mulhem al-Khedr - was killed November 2, 2011 in Kafr Laha, al-Houla, near Homs, in the Khedr block factory massacre. The victim was among about 10 workers there, but he was the brother of the victim, Muammar al-Khedr, likely a wealthy person who's factory and family might have been targeted by rebels for not donating the adequately to their cause. That's total speculation with no known evidence except dead people rebels are always able to film even before the authorities can respond - too shortly before, it seems, in the January massacre.

Baba Amr, Feb. 5/6

(forthcoming)

Sebil-Cairo Street Massacre

February 7, Sebil, Wadi al-Arab, and "Cairo Street This massacre re-sets the pattern, so evident in the Khalidiya Massacre three days earlier, and prevalen in Baba Amr in the days between, of blaming artilley of a distant foe for the surge in dead civilians in rebel-held areas of Homs. This time, again the regime and its brutal "Shabiha" enforcers were the ones in Homs and in peoples' homes. The LCC daily report for February 7 shares videos (warning: graphic! but not as much so as some of these) of a "Wadi Al-Arab massacre." One of them shows victims in the morgue, and one man at least has a bandaged-over throat wound. [24]

While the morgue is apparently in that district, the victims for the most part weren't. The VDC martyrs database shows 53 fatalities in Homs on February 7. Only one - Omar Skaff - is listed as from Wadi al-Arab. What one sees first is a small cluster of field executions in Sabeel district, which is just south of there. All Sabeel martyrs February 7 - 12 total - 4 adult males, 3 adult females, 2 boys, 3 girls. Considered by family:

  • Atfah (5 members): 4 VDC listings for this name, each time Atfah spelled differently): Walid Fares Attfa from Sabeel. Notes: "He and all his family were killed by Shabiha." Age, etc. not given. Adult female, Zuhour Fares Aatfeh, age 24, was "killed with her entire family at the hands of the pro-regime thugs (shabbiha)." Girls Israa Fares, age 12, and Shoroq Fares, age 15, are also listed with the note "Thug killed her along with her family." Adult female Sabah Ahmad Alwan is also listed by VDC with the same details as these others, listed as married, to who unstated. The LCC report had this to say: "An entire family was martyrd in Al-Sabeel neighborhood; they are, Walid Farress Attafeh and his wife Sabaeh Alwan along with their three children, Zuhour (24), Sherooq (16), and Israa (12). [24] So the number is five.
  • Ghantawi (5 members): Adult male Abdel Nasser Ali Ghanttawi has no details besides from Sabeel and field executed, but Fatima Al-Jabouli is noted as "wife of martyr Abdul Naser Al-Ghantawi." Three Ghantawi children joined them in death: girl Souad, age 15 , and boys Omar Abdel-Nasser (age 5) and Nabil Abdel-Nasser (age 7). Ghantawi may not be their proper name - one boy is named as "Nabil Abdel-Nasser neighborhood Ghanttauwi." Ghantawi seems to literally mean one from al-Ghanto, just north of Homs by Talbiseh, and a cite of frequent rebel violence. Living in Sebil at least in February, the children are the only VDC entries this day with "massacre" in the notes. The LCC report notes "Martyrdom of the chemical engineer Abdulnasser Ali Ghantawi, his wife and three of their children (aged 2, 7 and 9) during the raid of their home in Sabeel neighborhood by Shabiha. Their fourth son was able to hide in the attic and report of the incident." [24] Note the age mismatch with the children, possibly a clue.
  • Al-Tarkawi (8): On the 8th, the LCC noted "mass executions of entire families" - by "Shabiha" - "yesterday in the Sabeel district." They included "Eight people from the Al-Tarkawi family were executed" [25] Unless this is a fuller version of the Ghantawis under a different name (which is possible) that's 13 victims between the families. Otherwise, it's eight.
  • Mayhani (6) LCC's day-after report cited the murder of "six members of the Al-Mahayni family" as part of this Sabeel massavre. VDC lists only one of these: Abdullah al-Muhaini from Sabeel, field executed. LCC had shared a video of him on the 7th: "Wadi Al-Arab neighborhood: Civilian Abdullah Al-Mihini killed in his home by the Shabeeha (regime thugs)." the video is horrible - bad torture, tweaked tissue in his torn open arms and legs. [24] The other five members don't seem to appear in the VDC, but an apparent relative - Satam Rateb almhini of Homs - died on Sept. 11, 2011, from ... detention-torture. It seems to run in the family.
  • Other/Unsure (2): Not clearly attached to any family are two adult males Mowaffaq Seedawi and Omar al-Naassan, age 72.
  • Zamil (4 members): Then there is another small cluster of only two that becomes four, from "Cairo Street." That doesn't pop up in Homs on Wikimapia, but rendered in Arabic ( شارع القاهرة ) it does; two spots are marked, both of them along a north-south road that marks the western edge of both Sebil and Wadi al-Arab. So the spatial connection is strongly implied. This time, the targeted family is named Zamil. VDC entries: Hala Al-Mahbani, adult female and "wife of Abelkareem Zamel" was executed. Notes: "After their home was shelled, they attempted to flee however regime`s forces arrested them and gathered them with the rest of their family (the Zamel Family). They then proceeded to slaughter them with knives in front of their home." The other Feb. 7 listing is Khalid Abdul Hakim Al Zamil, child, male. "After escaping from the bombing, they were arrested and executed in front of the house." That's it. Dad Abelkareem Zamel is only listed, with a slightly different name, on the next day: Abdul Hakim Al Zamil died Feb. 8 by "shooting," with no fancy story, details, links or visuals. With some oddities, that's three victims. And if "Qahira Street" is the same as Cairo, another woman named Reem Al-Beraqdar should be added. Also field executed, in fact the entry says she is "Second wife of Zamil." Dual wives usually suggests someone who is prosperous, a possible clue. Still, this seems like a small family, or there are other entries missing.

Mr. Skaff, the lone local listed by VDC is likely all at the same morgue the victims from elsewhere and likely worth including as a victim of the same people, or allies of theirs.

Tally: 19-24 from Sebil, 4 on Cairo Street, and Skaff = these rebels managed to scoop up and collect at least 24-29 massacre victims for this "Wadi al-Arab Massacre," including quite a few children. Shabiha did it, they say, but again mobile rebels got the bodies, using unexplained methods.

For reference: LCC's whole next-day note, introducing the Mahani and Al-Tarkawi families:

Homs: In a new escalation of its violent crimes, Shabiha operatives conducted mass executions of entire families. Yesterday in the Sabeel district, three families were slaughtered with knives. Eight people from the Al-Tarkawi family were executed, as were six members of the Al-Mahayni family and five members of the Al-Zamel family: Abdel Hakim Al-Zamel and his wife Reem Beirakdar; Hala Al-Mahayni [sic - Mahbani] and son Khaled. They were trying to escape the shelling in their area when the Shabiha operatives arrested and executed them right outside their homes. [25]

Jinyat Family Massacre

February 20, 2012 - Malaab district, 3-7 killed. This incident is not sold as a massacre but might well be one. There is a slightly-promoted video I'll start with. I've considered this perhaps the single most hideous thing I've seen yet, and don't even want to link to it. As reported, "11 years old girl Kamar Abu Hamad has been killed by Assad's bombing." [26] Her mangled body is shown only in underwear. Her skull is ruptured and partly missing on the right side, along with the brain it seems, but her face is mostly intact, a scream suggested by the pulled wide half-mouth. Shoulder abrasions plus this suggest a hit in the back of the head with a RPG blast, perhaps. All tissue beneath the chin is torn away somehow. her right ankle and left forearm are also torn up with extremities hanging loose, almost severed. One wonder how many different explosions she was subjected to.

Separately, Kamar's skin is sliced open badly (slices a few inches long) at the left shoulder, right underarm, and down the right side and right buttock at least, as well as smaller wounds, from stabbing perhaps, all over the body, including one perhaps straight through the heart. That one, through the left side, is still leaking copious blood at filming time. Considering both types of injury, the order is not hard to reason out. There's no reason to stab someone who'd been blasted like that; it's not a good mercy killing, and she'd already be dead. Conversely, one might decide to blast a girl who's been stabbed to death if the knife-wielding rebels holding the body decided it was better to blame distant regime artillery.

Kamar Abu Hamad has a VDC martyr entry: Kamar Abu Hamad Civilian, Child - Female, age 11, Homs Malab Neighborhood. She died 2012-02-20 from Shelling. Anyone who must see the video, there are three of them linked there. The VDC entry also mentions other children in passing on her story: "Three Children martyred due to regime`s shelling, She and her niece Hory and Kamar Gnyat." These too are listed:

  • Kamar Gonyat Area: Malab, age not given, but the photo there says something like 8. Entry #66425. Like the rest, it says shelling killed her. By the videos provided she's much more intact than the other Kamar, and clothed. She suffered possibly explosive removal of one limb - the panning makes it unclear, but apparently an arm sticking out, just past the elbow a frayed stump of tissue. She has a head wound like a bullet hole, as well as a covered/plugged hole in the right side of her neck, bad slice or gash to the bridge of her nose, and little scars all over (they don't look like stab wounds).
  • Hori Jinnyat Malab, age not given. A photo there says also around 8 - younger, older, or twin is unclear. He was clearly listed first: entry #8303, 58,000 entries earlier. Notes: "Three Children martyred due to regime`s shellinon their house, he and his sister Kamar and his niece Kamar Abu Ahmad" Niece here clearly means cousin. Provided videos show a boy with fairly long hair, mainly intact and clothed, but sporting a mangled left foot with missing toes, and right big toe smashed apart. He's got blood across face and clothes, the crotch especially. The back of his head has a major injury (if exit wound, the entry's not clear). Left upper arm and shoulder shot through perhaps, at least 4-5 small holes, bones broken, all floppy; they twist it around to prove that. Possible left eye injury through closed lid. Wrapped and cleaned, it still looks that way, in video "Important Homs neighborhood playground hero martyr Houry Fairies" (Google translated)

حوري جنيات = hwry jnyat (phoenetic), where Jinyat translates fairies. Houry is not a usual name for boys or girls, a casual search suggests. Hurrah is close, a male name meaning free/liberal. Hurairah, Male, means "Narrator of Hadith, a close companion to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)." Closer yet is Huuriya or Horia, female, meaning nymph/angel/attractive girl/virgin of paradise. With his long hair, possibly made-up girlish name, from family "fairies," it seems likely this is a liberal and "modern" family of some non-Salafist background, to say the least. Specifically, giving a boy a girl's names in Syria is sometimes a Christian tendency (see Sari Saoud and Maya Nasser).

The LCC report for the 20th with the video of Kamar, and also of the other Kamar (labeled only with Homs and the date) does not mention any of these children in the text part of the report, by name or otherwise. But another angle may be added here: parents.

Homs: An entire family of four, 3 women and a man, called the Jeniyat were martyred after targeting their home with two artillery shells in Malaab Baladi neighborhood near the Shoes Factory." [26] Perhaps this refers to the two girls and a boy - whose absence in the text here is strange - plus a much older sister, or perhaps their mother. And perhaps, as it sounds, these are four adults connected by name to those three kids. In fact, either reading is possible, and so the range of 3-7 victims, with seven seeming more likely. But to clarify, by various searches, no name-related adults appear in the VDC database remotely at this time, and the apparent fragmentation of the record may contain clues.

Mal'ab Location on Wikimapia: west of center, up against the orchards. No factory seems to be labeled within the area. A good guess is the only large facility there, just west of the stadium, at the little bend in the river. This is just outside Malab, putting them most likely on the west edge of the district, with the attackers coming through the orchards perhaps more likely than from within the city.

Darwish Family Massacre

February 27, 2012 - Khalidiya District As reported by the VDC database, six members of this family were field executed in Khalidiya on, or a bit before, Feb. 27. This includes a father, a mother, a son, and three daughters, with little to no details given. Unusually, they're all unnamed aside from Darwish, which may not even be their real name, for all we know. [27] These are mentioned with no more useful info by the connected LCC in its daily summary of December 27 (Warning! Graphic videos)

Homs: Another massacre added to the series of massacres by the regime's thugs (Shabeha), an entire family from Al-Darwish was murdered in Khaldiyeh neighborhood including father, mother, son and three daughters. They didn't just slaughter them but they mutilated their corpses as well.

Subtitles on one video of the boy explain "we found him and were able to release the other bodies after 5 days of them being stuck in their home." It's been no five days after they died. The combined suggestion, however logical, is that the Shabiha spent some days with these people, perhaps torturing them, before killing them around Feb. 26, and then leaving the site for activists to find on the 27th.

LCC provided videos and notes:

This shows rebels loading a hefty-built/overweight, bald-headed man's body, near-naked, onto the bed of a pickup truck. He has massively puffed-up eyelids, open a slit, lots of blood out the mouth and nose, burned-black face, stabbed in the belly, burned in spots all over, leaving little circular orange wounds, and horribly burned legs, to the bone in places. There's no visible mutilation, aside from by fire,

The Darwish boy on rebel video with rebel story

This is a boy of perhaps 9 or 10, a bit chubby, shown in the inset image. He too is burned all over, skin reddened with orange patches, perhaps worse than his father, and stabbed a few different times in the upper body. His whole right hand and backside of right arm are burnt black and half-melted. He has a smoke-stained forehead and blackened lips, perhaps beyond ordinary smoke inhalation. The order of operations is unclear. Note from the image that he was clearly blindfolded during this whole prolonged ordeal.

Bodies wrapped in a dimly-lit room, the boy recognizably shown first. The father is second; his facial blood has been coated in heavy white powder here. Otherwise, only parts of faces are seen. The presumed mother at 0:39 has small wounds in her left cheek and apparent bruisng all over the face and eyes. One girl 0:21 has burns on her face and black lips, left side, like the boy's. From the left eyebrow up as far as we can see seems charred black. Another girl, about 11, might have a black eye, or these people were all really tired, or whatever else causes dark eyes (early decay, perhaps), Another girl is smaller, maybe 7-8, barely seen with her eye frozen open just a slit, no marks or signs visible.

Considering the logical possibility that Darwish is not the real name of these people, one other entry of the day is worth mentioning. LCC has a video: Homs: Khalikyah neighbourhood: Martyr Mus'ab Abdul Mu'ti Al-Dwairi. There is no "Khalikyah," but with a typo he was killed where the Darwishes were. Dwairi is just similar enough to Darwish to notice, but means one from Dwair/Douair/Duvair, like maybe the Christian village of Homs, near Khalidiya. He's listed as killed by simple shooting, and from his face alone no link can be made to this burning massacre.

Abel Massacre, Feb. 27 2012

Near Abel, 64-68 Adult Male Victims The LCC daily summary for Monday February 27 announced 144 deaths nationwide, "including 64 in Baba Amr neighborhood who were slaughtered in Abel area in Homs." They had lived in Baba Amr, the LCC says, but were killed in Abel, a small town several kilometers south of Homs (see maps above).

The regime's forces and thugs committed a horrifying massacre at a security checkpoint in Abel area where 64 martyrs fell. The martyrs were families trying to flee from the shelling at Baba Amr neighborhood. Reports said security members and thugs kidnapped the women among them. The residents found 47 corpses in an area between Ghajar and Tanota and another 17 corpses were found to the north of the Sad Shandakhiyeh. Later on, the Red Crescent Society delivered the corpses to the National Hospital in Homs.

There are no videos for this story. The top photo (7 shirtless adult males laid out dead) is captioned: "BABA AMR: Some of the bodies of the 64 martyrs of Baba Amr." [28]

There was a later Abel massacre of March 25, 2013. That time, at least 14-21 locals - including women and children - were reportedly slaughtered by Shabiha and burnt, with the killers making videos that, along with the bodies, were in rebel hands in short order. This was the day after Baba Amr was announced cleared and safe, yet again, by the Syrian Arab Army on March 24, 2013. When far more died in Abel in 2012, it was the day before Baba Amr was declared secure - February 28. Depending on who the victims really were, retreating rebel brigades of Baba Amr, perhaps with hostages to dispose of, are potential suspects in both cases.

Otherwise, reports seem more specific than "Abel." Wikipedia's article List of Massacres in Syria notes a "Ram al-Enz and Ghajariyeh massacre," citing two sources:

The bodies of dozens of men were found dumped on wasteland on the outskirts of the stricken city of Homs on Monday in what appeared to be one of the worst instances of mass killing since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last March. ... The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, said that the bodies of 64 men were taken to the National Hospital ... The details available were murky, however, and the bodies had not been identified, making it difficult to establish exactly how or why the men died. [29]
  • Naharnet (top image: recycled from Khalidiya Massacre]]) Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: "Sixty-eight civilians were killed today in the western countryside of Homs, in a rural area between the villages of Ram al-Enz and Ghajariyeh, and were taken to the state hospital in the city of Homs." They heard the victims were "displaced from the city of Homs" and killed, with guns and blades, "by 'shabiha' (pro-regime gunmen)," according to the reports received by the Observatory, Abdul Rahman said. "But we cannot confirm or deny this information." The exclusively male nature is not specified here, nor are any clues of specific identities. Note that the "47 corpses" per LCC were found "between Ghajar and Tanota," and this entire 68 is from between "Ram al-Enz and Ghajariye."

Sly heard the victims were not identified, and thus "activists said they thought," but couldn't prove, "that the men had been trying to flee the violence with their families." [29] The VDC database doesn't immediately provide any identities nor, for that matter, any such unidentified bodies. all Homs martyrs Feb. 27 = 29, all kinds of people in different areas. No 47-64-68 executed men. Expanding it to Feb. 25-29 helps little. This batch of victims does not turn up, unless it's at another time. Consider the 49 adult male "victims of February and March massacres." bodies reported in early May, just then found at (the same?) National Hospital, identified but presumably decayed, then taken and buried south of Homs, in areas near Abel. (see #Hospital Finds, May 4/5)

February 29, Sebil?

On leap year day with so few proper anniversaries, a massacre even murkier than usual seems to have occurred somewhere in Homs. Two families were singled out to lose five members each. The LCC daily summary mentioned them together with family names:Number of martyrs in Syria reached uptil now 29, 16 of them are in Homs including 5 from AlBahlak family and 5 from Docotr Mendo family including 4 infants and 2 women. [30] Clearly the 4 infants cannot be from either family alone, as each seems to have a father, mother, and three children. Note also how no location is given, as it usually is.

The VDC database does not reflect the LCC report except in part. Checking Feb. 28, 29, and March 1, there are no victims named anything like al-Bahlak, not any family or cluster of victims that seems likely to be them in an alternate form. There are, however, five members of a Mando family listed on the correct day, including three children and a medical doctor. These five were killed somewhere in Homs (unspecified). Cause of Death for all, "Field Execution."

Note that in all cases but the father, personal names aren't given. This vagueness may well be a clue, especially considering the other family doesn't appear at all. As for the uncorroborated Bahlak name, again the VDC martyr's database doesn't show it on this day. But in general, it appears. It's best to search this with the proper name: بحلاق . Entered in Arabic mode, four Bahlak martyrs appear (each one switched back to English mode):

Alleged massacre survivor "Nabil"

The LCC report gave no further details besides a valuable video: Sabeel | The only child who survived the Sabeel Massacre [30]. Thus Sabeel is the only location mentioned for any massacre, this might be the locale of one or both family slayings. The video shows a living and intact boy, aged about 7-8, laid on a clinic bed and interviewed. Chewing gum, perhaps, he seems distant and spaced-out at first. possibly in shock, drugged, mentally disabled, or a combination. Then he gets convincingly teary-eyed when speaking of his family. An ACLOS associate helped translate the dialog of the boy's questioning by the doctor:

Q: What is your name?

A: Nabil.

Q: What is your father's name?

A: Abdoulnaser.

Q: Where did your father go?

A: To Saudi Arabia.

Q: Where is your mother?

A: In Saudi. They are all there.

It's said he was was just with his family as they were massacred, but all he says is they've gone away to an earthly locale, be it with no mention of return. The implication is a touchingly profound case of denial, with a suggestion that Syrian children put Sauidi Arabia in a mental slot almost interchangeable with heaven.

The other man next to the boy explains in the video that he found "Nabil" next to five corpse in a burned house. However, the boy doesn't show signs of being around smoke and fire, blood, or even dirt. There's no visible reason he would be left for dead and no visible injury at all. They have him pull up his shirt for some reason, and his belly is free of marks. The doctor holds up his feet, saying that both legs are broken, apparently at about that shin-level. But this seems unlikely; the legs show no sign of injury even to the extent of bruising, and both the boy and the doctor move them around with no sign of discomfort. The rebel doctor also seems to gesture as if "Nabil's" face had been scratched, but no marks show up on video. He has a dark spot on the lower lip, either a wound they don't explain or a birth mark perhaps.

Since Abdulnasser is not Dr. Mohammed Mando's name, this boy must be - allegedly - from the other massacred family of five in Homs that day - named al-Bahlak by the LCC. In the video, we have personal names but no family name, while with the al-Bahlaks we had the opposite, preventing a clean match or mismatch. But a deduced composite guess, then is: "Nabil" is claiming to be a child of one Abdulnasser Bahlak, and he may or may not be that. Mr. Bahlak and Dr. Mando lived near each other in Alawite-majority Sebil. it's possible they were all abducted from there and killed as rebels abandoned Baba Amr. But the reports here and the patterns of other whole-family massacres suggest they were living together in their homes until killed there.

Sultaniya Massacre

From video "Baba Amro: Massacre in the neighbourhood by Assad thugs on 29-02-2012" part 1 of 3. [31]

This is either two similar massacres at once in Baba Amr or south of there in Sultaniya, or a larger massacre of 38-41 victims, divided into two portions. Aside from the al-Raay family of six, the victims are all listed as adult males, executed by some pro-government forces, on March 1 and/or the day before (Feb. 29).

The two main groupings are put forth as, and might well be, two different massacres of 17 and 21-24 victims. (See Talk page section for more details and a victims identity table)

  • One set is apparently in Baba Amr, reported by LCC, 17 clearly-named victims killed "after the withdrawal of the free Syrian army from Baba Amro," [31] by "shelling" per VDC, a "massacre" per LCC [32], by "thugs ... break[ing] into houses, farming area, and orchards on the outskirts of the neighbourhood," 
or, per Syrian Shuhada, by "slit throat ... at the hands of security." [33] Rebels still got the bodies and made videos of "Baba Amro: Massacre in the neighbourhood by Assad thugs," with at least 11 of the recovered victims seen on the bed of a pickup truck in the falling snow (inset) and then in a rebel morgue. [31]
  • Another, more vague pool, is largely noted later, "field executed" per VDC and labeled as "Massacre of the Sultanyieh." 11 martyrs among the larger pool have a variation of the Sultaniya massacre label - all those named Melhem, Suleiman, Ibrahim, Shaqhabi, Mussaitif, or Salem, all adult males. [34] Syrian Shuhada lists most of these but gives no details. LCC's dispatch made no mention of these victims or a massacre in Sultaniya.
    • An even later and more vague sub-set was only documented in late March and included a family of six in Baba Amr named al-Raay, also killed in "al-Sultania Massacre." This is centered around a man named Khaled but with his wife, son, parents, and sister all unnamed except by relation to him. [35]

Both sets feature Baba Amr-listed adult males of a few families, executed there and/or south of there, where rebels had access, on about the same day. With Baba Amr's rebel brigades, their weapons, hostages, etc. all scattered, killing hostages in two areas at once is more likely than usual, with or without a central order connecting the crimes. But the division into two groups could also be nothing more than a more publicized half of a rebel massacre vs. the other half - and either way for easier labeling, there are enough similarities to consider them together under the name of the shadier portion.

The families of note appear in both sets; Those named Melhem, generally added late or not at all, seem to be from a prominent Alawite family in Homs with a member in Syria's national parliament, Wael al-Melhem. He's accused of running a Shabiha-type family militia that's behind at least some of the Homs massacres (see Melhem). As partly explained there, they too continued to take frequent martyrs before and after this event, which seems to be the single deadliest one for them with seven members lost in the Sultaniya half. The Sabouh family/clan/name took the next-biggest recorded loss, with a clear six martyrs. They're in the other portion, reported more prominently. That family would be hit harder yet just a few days later, with a reported two-family massacre of 17 people in/from Baba Amr, named Sabouh, ranging in age from 85 down to 1. (see Sabouh)

The names Ibrahim and Suleiman are both common and commonly massacred in these incidents and have sections on the talk page (linked). Others may emerge as noteworthy in time.

More narrowly, Mahmoud Zouby joined the Saboughs here, and when 17 Sabouhs were killed on March 6, another 4 al-Zoubi men also appear (as alzaby) killed in Homs ("Four brothers, were killed in the massacre on 6-3-2012 Jobar neighborhood, whose bodies were identified on 2012-5-16), along with two others in Deraa (a man and a teenage girl). [36] And the victim Radwan Bittar is one of the several men who died with no family members joining them - in Homs. As for his extended family elsewhere in Syria, a Mohammed Byttar (Syrian Shuhada entry - same Arabic name) died the same day in Latakia, under torture. That could mean Bittar is an Alawite family, like the Melhems at least.

Sabouh Family Massacre

March 6, 2012, Baba Amr, 17-18 victims:

17 named Sboh, given ages as low as 1 and as high as 95. Names generally matching:

  • VDC list of 17 Sabouhs killed this day in Baba Amr. 7 adult males (like Mohammad Sabouh age 48), 3 adult females (like Basma Sabouh, age 30), 3 boys ([Akram Sabouh Akram] was age 4), and 4 girls (Zahia's age isn't given). All say cause of death: field execution, Notes: "Two families were entirely slaughtered by Assad's thugs after raiding their homes." No further details.

Local Coordinating Committees, daily report for March 6 featured this early report:

Homs: Security forces and Shabiha carried out a new massacre in Basateen Baba Amr area claiming the lives of 13 martyrs from two families slaughtered with knives.

A later update accompanied a video:

The Sabbouh family, an example of what is going on in Baba Amr – Another massacre and bodies discovered in Baba Amr . 5 days ago, 6 bodies from the Sabbouh family were discovered with others who were executed by slaughtering during the raids that Assad forces carried out in the farms in Baba Amr. Today, more victims were discovered from two families of the Sabbouh family, adding up to 18, most of them women and children. We should note that state-run Addounia TV went in to Baba Amr two days after the massacre took place and taped some of the killed family members in their homes, accusing the Free Syrian Army and Farouk battalion of doing this. While activists confirm that Assad forces are who committed this massacre. ... Here is the video that Addounia TV played yesterday showing some of the Sabbouh family members killed in their homes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-Q_4zgrcxA [37]
(dead video) Note that this time, activists don't flaunt their access to crime scenes by providing video. The fact that loyalist channels did the filming is portrayed as suspicious.

The VDC and Syrian Shuhada cite 17 victims, while the LCC has 18.

Here are the names of those killed in this massacre: 1- Abdelkareem Sabbouh, 85 years old 2- Omar Sabbouh, 55 years old 3- Muhammad Sabbouh, 48 years old 4- Basma Sabbouh, 30 year old woman 5- Abdelazziz Sabbouh, 18 years old ; First family : 6- Abdelsalam Sabbouh, 50 years old 7- His wife, Zahia Sabbouh 8- Tarek Sabboh, 15 years old 9- Farouk Sabbouh, 10 years old 10- Akram Sabbouh, 4 years old 11- Faten Sabbouh, 1 year old 12- Faten Sabbouh ; Second family 13- Abdelwahab Sabbouh, 52 years old 14- His wife, Mayada Sabbouh, 40 years old 15- Maysaa Sabbouh, 20 year old girl 16- Muhammad Sabbouh 17- Roula Sabbouh 18- Rania Sabbouh

The disagreement seems to be over Abdelsalam's wife Zahia.

March 8 Jobar Massacre

March 8, 2012, The VDC records for this day show 39 civilian victims field executed in Jobar. Three families are named (two with names of iother districts), with most given no personal names at all. Rather than the usual men-only massacres, this seems slightly man-heavy families, minus most of the women.

    • Al-Rifaee family: 20 members, from Al-RIfaee 1 to Al-RIfaee 20. 12 Adult males, 2 Adult Females, 4 girls, 2 boys. All from Jobar, no more details, killed by Field Execution. Notes for each: "Assad's thugs slaughtered him with a knife." (Same day, from "Rifaee Neighborhood" was Amer Na'asan Ghazi "found deformed in the Sitteen St and he was tortured to death by Assad's thugs after they kidnapped him in the main street 7 days before that.")
    • 16 from the Al Tahhan family, also unnamed and listed as Al Tahhan 1, etc. (the last of 16). The same knife notes for all, regardless of gender. 7 Adult Males, 1 Adult Female, 4 girls, 4 boys.
    • Three men of the al-Wa'er family, Jobar, same basic notes. Personal names (Rakan, Waheed, Waleed) and videos are provided for them.

Suleiman Family Massacre

moved to Talk:Deir Baalba Massacre#Suleiman Family

Hamidiya Massacre

March 31, 2012: All civilians killed in Qusayr area this day = 7, per VDC records.

Khalaf abdalkareem alhaj Civilian Adult - Male from Homs Qusair: Hamidia (#10560 married. notes: "Due to the heavy shelling to the city.")

  • Abd al-azeez khalaf alhaj Civilian Child - Male Homs Qusair: Hamidia (#10576 notes: " Due to the shelling to the town")
  • Talen Khalaf alhaj Civilian Child - Female Homs Qusair: Hamidia (#14746 notes: "She was martyred due to the heavy shelling to the city")
  • Yousef Abdulelah Bakkar Civilian Adult - Male Homs Qusair: Bweda Sharqiya (#10601 age 28, single, notes "(killed) While helping the wounded people") (so probably the apparent fighter)
  • Abd alrahman shehab Civilian Child - Male Homs Qusair (#10575: notes: Due to the shelling to the town. video, intact-looking toddler - another video is private)

Hamidiya on Wikimapia next to Qusayr airbase and al-Ghassaniya.

Graphic video Auto-translated title "Cham Homs short the burning of the bodies of the children as a result of the bombing of the bands of the lion of the houses." "Short" = al=Qusayr. Lion = Assad. On the right is a boy, apparently, face burned away and skeletal, left eye missing. The girl in un-burned, and had her skull split wide open, almost as if by a sword. Two dead men are also there - one middle-aged civilian, one possibly a rebel fighter, younger with a light beard.

This and previous days show several non-civilian martys with martyrdom location in Qusayr area. Some seem like rebel fighters, others soldier who failed to quite defect, and some just "soldier" - besides 3 acknowledged "regime forces" killed there March 28 and 30.

April 2 Hospital Finds

Tlass (blue sleeves, center) leads the takbeer inside the hospital. Next, the heroes found 75 dead bodies.

(possible confusion, partly or entirely, with other such finds or massacres, or a whole new set of dead)

The Farouq Battalion, led by Abdulrazaq Tlass, filmed themselves launching a morning attack on the/a National Hospital in Homs, which reportedly led to their taking control of the place that day. The LCC reported at the time "75 unidentified corpses were found in the refrigerator of the National Hospital after the FSA captured it." [38] (see section at the rebel attacks on hospitals page) The VDC reflects no such find this day (all 19 Homs martyrs, but does cite one about half the size around April 21 (see below). There may be killed soldiers on the other list - 12 regime fatalities, April 2 - six are claimed for other areas. There's an entry with at the bottom with no martyrdom location and the unusual note: "No clear information about death date and location is available.. We were unable to get more details." Five others with missing area details, clustered in the middle, have versions of that note or it seems could have - all but one were reported together (entries 12941 12944 12946 12947 12949, with 41221 (rank: civilian) a late addition, also placed back on this date, with no no less insight than for the first five. These are possible hospital guards.

Mando Family April 5

April 5, 2012, near Baba Amr: The family targeted on February 29, as well as before and after, was also hit hard on April 5. As the LCC Daily summary reports:

Homs: Several businessmen were martyred under torture after they were arrested from their farm in the neighborhood of Bab Amr during the raid. Their farm was burned after looting its contents. The martyrs are: Abdelhalim Mando, Yaser Abdelhalim Mando, Shawky Yaser Mando and Muhannad Yaser Mando. Their corpses have not been delivered to the families thus far.

Clearly the businessmen are related. VDC has entries for these, all civilian, from Baba-Amr, killed April 5 by "Detention - Torture." Each entry explains "They were arrested from their farm during the raids on the neighborhood of Baba Amr, were the security forces burned the farm after looting its contents."

Shawki's photo is cropped from a group photo included with this Arabic report from April 7. This says the victims were a father and his two sons, plus his grandfather (his father apparently already deceased). "Activists said that security forces looted the farm which contain large amounts of money, and warehouse genuine leather, and gold pieces." There was no official statement, they say, as usual "since the beginning of the events." Described as businessmen, they apparently prospered under the "Assad regime," wearing nice suits and sitting in nice chairs, stacking up gold and leather, and passing the unspecified family business down along at least three generations.

Perhaps most interestingly, a child of the family was also listed by the VDC as killed in nearby Houla that same day by ostensibly random shelling: Rami Mando age 10, from Homs: Houla - killed April 5, 2012 by "shelling." No photo or further details.

Mid-April Massacre in Zahraa

(forthcoming) (the VDC database has no clear record, anyway, of anything like this)

April 21 Hospital Finds

(possible confusion, partly or entirely, with other such finds or massacres, or a whole new set of dead) VDC query: all Homs martyrs, April 21, "hospital" in the notes: 36 total the baby girl is a coincidence (died in a field hospital but 35 adult males interest us. They tend to have this note: "His dead body was in the square of the National Hospital and then was taken to the Tal Naser graveyard on this date." They had been killed by "shelling." Family names: Al-Taleb, Kana'n (Kanaan), Al-Masri (Almasry), al-Deib, Shahadah, Alouz, Ali, Al-Abbara (Alabara), Junaid, Shomary (any relation to Alawite town, Shumariyeh?) etc. There's little if any clustering of these names as if abducting brothers, etc.

Hospital Finds, May 4/5

A National Hospital in Syria, 49 Adult Male Victims According to the VDC database, 49 dead men killed several weeks ago by "shelling," emerge suddenly at the/a National Hospital in Homs May 4 and 5. These (like Mohammad Zuheir Masharqa) have the note "He was one of the victims of February and March massacres. The victims corpses were found at the National Hospital, and they were buried during the past days in Kafar Aya and Bwaida villages." All are adult males, from Homs but not specified where, no ages or details given. Who found them at the hospital, how long they'd been there, brought in by who, and buried by whom are unexplained.

Family names: Kakhia, Ammar Taher Al-Melhem, Janseiz/Janseez x3, Halabi x3, al-Zoubi, Beirini, Qasem x 2, etc.

The stated burial locations are familiar - south of Homs. Kafr Aya is a village immediately south of Homs itself, and "Bwaida" is likely Buweida al-Sharqiya, a few kilometers south of there. Both are quite near Abel and probably the specified villages. This is similar to the same batch of 64-68 men the VDC failed to report in February (see #Abel Massacre, Feb. 27 2012 above). The LCC had reported of the 64 bodies, there was a subset of "47 corpses in an area between Ghajar and Tanota," which is very close to the 49 reported in May. That had specified the victims were fleeing from Baba Amr, had been executed, not shelled, remained unidentified, and were taken to the National Hospital at that time by the Red Crescent. But these bodies are sold as just now found there, if aged, killed by explosives, and listed with names but almost all devoid of area specifics. Two exceptions (at least) to the last rule do specify a location, both times Baba Amr: one is "non-civilian" - "FSA" and the other is a "civilian" but shown in an army helmet. The lack of location for the rest could reflect the men being originally from other areas before rebels abducted and re-located them to Baba Amr, prior to their killing south of there.

The LCC also do not reflect anything to support the VDC's record; their daily reports of May 4 and May 5 mention nothing about bodies turning up, nor anything unusual in Homs hospitals, aside from May 5's note from nearby Qusayr that "UN Observers Will Not Enter to Witness Tanks at National Hospital, Activist Pleas." It is possible this always referred to the National Hospital in Qusayr, not Homs, given the body recovery area between the two cities.

If these two cases are one, as seems likely, it's either a strange instance of alleged body recycling, or perhaps the new "find" was simply a made-up reason to just then report the vague identities found (or decided on). If they're not the same, there is a reported total of 117 executed adult males between the incidents. Either way, the number is substantial, there are likely many missing family members who never turned up at all, and all the relevant facts remain unclear to this day.

Halmouz and Ter-Maela Massacres

May 5, 2012, near Ter Maela : 2-3 dead? This was described as a or related to a massacre, but it may not be one. Nonetheless, it may be a small one, and is interesting. The LCC daily report, May 5, shares a video: "Martyrs of Halmouz and Teir Maalleh Massacres" Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7X9UlPuHuU (unavailable). The massacre part isn't well explained, but a text entry there adds:

Homs: The northern countryside; Halmouz town: A mortar hit Halmouz town from the pro-regime town Jaboureen. Three individuals have been martyred immediately and they were displaced people from Karm Al Zaytoun. An injured man is in a critical situation. [39]

Three killed "instantly" and another critical implies a possible death toll of four. The video beneath that entry shows only a damaged building. (0:48) Another video shows one victim, adult male, slightly mangled: Syria, Halmouz +18 A mortar hit Halmouz town from the pro-Assad town Jaboureen. 5-5-2012 (2:33) The description says "they died in Halmouz while being displaced and away from home! ... This is Kofi Annan's ceasefire plan."

Ter Malea is just north of Duveir. Jabourin (placed for the bus attack, see below) is near Halmouz (within mortar range), according to the video title above. So it must be further north, closer to Talbiseh. It's all Homs area, close enough Khalidiya residents in numbers fled the violence there, only to have it quickly track them down anyway.

The VDC lists no one from Halmouz, and only two victims in/from Ter-Maela (Teir Maalle) in May, both on the 5th:

LCC otherwise agrees - of the three who died instantly and the fourth in limbo, all they name in the post is "Teir Ma'alla: martyrs, who fell after a mortar was fired: 1-Young Ahmad Jokhdar 2- Young Zakaria Mahdy Al-Raes." But strangely, elsewhere in Syria, this:

Raqa: Student Mostafa Khaled Al-Ibrahim was arrested from the Faculty of Civil Engineering campus, and he was taken to an unknown direction. he is from Teir Ma'alla in Homs, [39]

That could be coincidental, but there was a third victim from there named. With a little imagination, and questioning whether Mr. Ibrahim was taken from the government-secured campus, or somewhjere more militant-accessible.

Ibrahim is a common name, but appears frequently in these massacres. Raes doesn't seem to, but Jokhdar seems to be a rarer name that's often an Alawite one. Consider in Homs unnamed male, Bab Sbaa, "shelling," 3-23-12, and unnamed, misspelled al-Jokhdar male Al Jpkhdar, October 24, 2013. From Salamia, Hama, he "was shot by one of the barriers to regime forces "Local committees" and after a search of the car turned out to have been killed by mistake, He is Alawites," CDV noted. The grammar makes it less than clear who ran the checkpoint he was shot at - both sides could have something translated "local committees." But Jpkhdar appears in the "regime casualties" list (as rank: civilian), and not on the martyrs list for those killed by the regime.

Shammas Massacre

May 15, 2012: LCC Syria Today 16-5-2012 mentions "yesterday’s massacre in Shammas neighborhood in Homs," but the dispatch from the 15th doesn't mention it. Nor clearly does their fuller report Syria News - May 15, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos). A horrible massacre was reported in "Qasir" (Qusayr) and/or surrounding towns, with shelling, slughter by Hezbollah, and arrests of 70 people all reported. Shammas suffered shelling, random shooting at university students, and arrests of dozens. No massacre of 21 is mentioned. Other reports like this, Strescom.org mention "Assad’s forces killed ... 21 in the massacre of the neighbourhood of Shammas in the city of Homs where regime forces targeted unarmed civilians." And there's a 1:24 video (yet to be reviewed) Description: "This footage, uploaded by Syrian democracy activists was puportedly filmed in Homs on May 15, 2012 in the neighborhood of al-Shammas. It depicts some 20 men who have been murdered executions-style, allegedly by the forces of Bashar al-Assad. Some of the bodies appear to have been crushed to death; others stabbed or shot."

Clue #1: dispute over death toll. DCHRS reported later on the most noticeable massacres in 2012, including "Al-Shammas District Massacre." Expanded to cover one month (? Date: 15/5/2012 – 16/6/2012) and described as "a result of internment and field-executions by the Syrian army." Shelling and executions over a month. "Number of martyrs: 14" This may still refer to just the one day's massacre, revised downward, and may be supported by the VDC, who list 34 martyrs from Homs this day, only 12 from Shammas. Barshali, Mulla, Zaqreit (x4), Hawazni, Abduljalil, Rabaah, Maamo, Abd, Agha - sounds closer to the later 14 tally, with two missing. The 12 look like Ameer Mousa Agha Area: Shamas, Cause of Death: Shooting. Video 1 (private) and video 2 (active)

So is it 12-14 killed or 20-21?

The Guardian's May report on Shabiha "ghosts" cites an activist to report "on 13 May, according to Mohammed, the shabiha moved into his area of al-Shammas, formerly a relatively peaceable Homs neighbourhood, and perpetrated a massacre there; he doesn't know how many were killed." Otherwise, May 15 is unanimous, but his uncertainty of the number might reflect the disagreement over that and refusing to take sides. He might be right that security forces were on the offensive in Shammas since the 13th, perhaps with rebels fleeing to the southern countryside. And he and the rest might be wrong about the killings happening in Shammas.

Re-considering the VDC's records of 12, perhaps they're just missing the rest. Or maybe they're on here, just from a different area. Shammas (12) plus Jobar (6) gets us close to the right number, especially with an apparent relative from Qusayr. Jobar is also nearby, just south of Baba Amr, and Qusayr is further south, both places where rebels leaving Shammas might go. The Jobar 7 all share the note "He was one of the martyres of the last Jobar massacre. Their names was known now." Implicitly, the names weren't known when rebels first submitted their tallies. These are Zoabi (x4), al-Kurdi, and Melhem (x2). It's not clear if this note refers to the March Jobar massacre, one of this day May 15, or somewhere between (death date can mean date filed) - but it might fill in this Shammas massacre.

One of the 7, one of the Zoabis, is from Qusayr. So are 9 other victims lacking that note, for a total of 10 Qusayr dead 10+12 = just over the reported 21. Names include Bitar, al-Sayed, Abdullah.

It's not clear how these mini-massacres might combine, and how reliable this 21-victims total is. It might be the 12 + unknown, 12+7, 12+10, or perhaps 12+7+9 (cannot count Wael Zoabi twice) for maybe 28 men of frequently-slaughtered families, again brutalized by Shabiha and left for rebels to freely exploit.

May 15 videos available as of Jan. 2015

"It depicts some 20 men..." Only 8 or probably 9 can be discerned in this room.

Jandar Resort Massacre

(forthcoming - see Talk page section.)

Sept. 26, 2012

Sept. 26, 2012 was the Deadliest Day to date, with an unusual burst of smal-to-mid-sized massacres coordinated nationwide to break a record set in July. Homs had its share, a spike in killings but not a huge one - 35 dead total. Two Shurbaji men and a Sabouh were killed in Jobar. Otherwise, 18 more adult males, field executed in al-Bayada, and swiftly handed over to opposition media. VDC list. Names: Allawi, al-Farran, al-Tahhan, Hamid, Ahmad, and five unidentified.

Ghassaniya-Haidariya massacre

September 30, 2012: a reported 17 killed in raid on a Christian-majority town and one next to it. : Breaking News.sy reports a rebel raid, looting, arson, and "a horrible massacre against 17 Syrian civilians" in "the two villages of al-Hayedreh and al-Ghasania." These are on the south shore of Lake Homs, north of Quseir and near Shumariyeh and closer yet to Qusayr military airbase. Al Haydariya On Wikimapia Ghassaniya is reportedly a Christian-majority town. The attack is said to have begun with an ambush on the road that killed two officers - Lieutenant Hatem Abbas and Colonel Adel Suleiman.

Opposition VDC records no such massacre in its martyrs database. One possible victim of "shelling" in Qusayr listed the next day: Suliman Ali Akkari On the killed officers, however, they list in regime forced deaths a ;t. col. Hatim Munier Abbas killed 9-29 on Homs : Damascus Highway, but no clear Suleiman match.

Kafr Aya and Jobar Massacre(s)

January 20, 2013: Activist reports claim more massacres in the outlying soutwest areas of Homs: Massacre in Kafr Aya and Jobar in #Homs, #Syria…bordering Baba Amr. 1 year on, we make the same calls." An urgent plea from Dr Mohamad Al-Mohamad in Jobar, next to Baba Amr:

The Baba Amr field hospital inside Jobar neighborhood is making an urgent plea to all Free Syrian Army fighters, Alnusra brigade, anyone who fears God, Free Syrian Army in the suburbs of Homs to come help the people of Jobar immediately as well as the people of Kafr Aya and Alsultaniyeh as massacres are taking place.
The Alawites have made it clear they are now killing and destroying what is left of us and trying to push us out of our areas to take control, this is part of an old plan that is now being put in place by force. We call upon all fighters to come break the siege on Homs immediately, why has everyone left Homs why have you all left Homs, the city of the revolution the centre of the revolution...

A search of the VDC database for the days surrounding this show no clear sign of major death from any cause in these areas. The "massacre" can stay listed but it seems to have a death toll of "at least zero" with no higher estimate at the moment.

Awad Family Massacre

The VDC database shows a rebel FSA fighter of this family name from Zaraa - Mohamed Mahmoud Awad "Nnch" - died fighting on March 31. Where: He died near Checkpoint Abu Zaid - Martyrdom location Homs: City al-Husn. This most likely means Hosin Castle. There's a photo of a bearded, bald-headed man who really could fit the biill of Salafist or "Shabih." Following this, the Syrian Air Force, apparently, got really mad at people with that name. The VDC lists 8 civilian people as killed by random "warplane shelling" in Homs province just on April 1.

Two adults, a man and a woman, were bombed in Jandar village, near Hasya, where the Kome family (see below) would be murdered: Hasan Ali al-Awwad, Adult - Male, and Fteim Ali al-Awwad, Adult - Female. (Another woman, Siham al-Shihan , of Jandar died the same day from shelling, while the day before a man, Khaled Samir al-Naser, died of torture. Otherwise, it had been quiet for months) If this apparent Awad couple had any children, they'd been sent elsewhere.

Elsewhere, many miles away, the same thing killed 7 more Awad people, among only 8 total, on the same day over in Homs: Umm Reish Village, not Jandar. This is a ways east of Homs (Umm-ar-Rish on Wikimapia). It's near the Mount Shumariyeh/Maskar al-Husn, the Alawite village attacked with a massacre in May 2013. Is that maybe what "Husn" meant? One more adult male and five children were killed by the "warplane shelling" here.

  • Manar Mohammed al-Awad, Child - Female. Notes: "Martyred with Her family by the bombing of MiG for the village."
  • Khadejah Mohammed al-Awad, Child - Female
  • Manal Mohammed al-Awad, Child - Female
  • Ahmad Mohammed al-Awad, Child - Male
  • Mostafa Mohammed al-Awad, Child - Male
  • Mohammed Ahmad al-Awad, Adult - Male, old enough to be married - possibly the oldest of their six children, or a separate adult and parent of these. Notes: Martyred with his family by the bombing of MiG for the village.
  • Elham Adult female, age and family name not given, but married and specifically "Wife Of Martyr Mohammed Ahmad Awad." (like Mohammed, no mention of children)
  • One other who died might be Elham's father for all we can tell: Mohammed Ali al-Dokhi, adult male (no details)

Although it's not presented as a massacre, these patterns suggest that someone, for whatever reason, did single out this family for a far-flung day of punishment, and you don't usually do that from the air.

Kome Family, April 2013

All Homs April 9, civilians only = 23 martyrs, 17 killed by execution and worthy of note. Nearer the top, a man, a boy, and a girl of the Kome family from Karam al-Shami died by "Detention - Torture - Execution." The girl's name is Mery, age 15. her entry notes: "Field Executed with her father and brother after being arrested on Deba Checkpoint, the bodies were given from Homs Military hospital with torture marks on their bodies." Martyrdom location: "Homs: Hasya" There is a town of that name just south of Homs, near Jandar. This is perhaps where they fled, or were taken, before being killed there by whoever, in the unknowable space between the (alleged) checkpoint abduction and the hospital hand-over.

April 9 Qusour Finds

All Homs April 9, civilians only = 23 martyrs, 17 killed by execution. Three are covered above, and 14 bodies were reported found, mostly of people from Qusour area, including five children. The date of death is apparently grossly inaccurate: Five were identified and contained this note:

A mass massacre that was committed towards the residents of Qusour neighborhood was found today. People believe that it occurred in the time between the 4th and the 5th months of 2012. The bodies of 3 adults, 4 children (aged between 14 and 15), a child about 8 to 10 years old, and a grown woman were found near Al-Hal market; their hands were tied to the back and they were completely burned. The ages are according to the doctor
  • 9 others unidentified, all listed as adult male, with a shorter version of the note.

The activists do not explain where and how these bodies were found, they think, about a year after the people died. Given that and the reported burning - of all bodies, it sounds like - it's reasonable that many weren't identified. How they identified the other five is not explained, but that too can be done, even without the inside knowledge of the case rebels seem to deny here but may actually have. It could be too that the victims died far less than a year prior to this.

Qaddour Family Massacre

Activists standing between the two rows of mutilated bodies, blaming Assad's "Shabiha"

On April 10, 2013, another ten victims of an apparently Bedouin family of rural Homs were martyred, with great cruelty. Including 7 children (an eighth child had reached 18), the Qaddours were massacred by, according to opposition sources, "Shabiha" of specific families they named. Whether or not "both sides blame each other," ACLOS encourages and pursues skepticism of claims like that. There's also cause for concern over an 11th victims at least - the mother of the children killed - said to have survived.

The victims listed, per the VDC, each labeled with the area of Homs "Kherbat al-Tin," cause of death: field execution, and the notes "A massacre committed by Kahla family - they are Shabiha" regime's armed thugs", where more than ten people from Qaddour family field executed after being tortured , then the Shabiha stole all their cattle." [41]

There's an extremely graphic video, 2:40, of the victims. Local activists, visibly extremely upset, try to upset their audience showing close-ups of horrific injuries - sliced throats, gouged-out eyes, etc. and a lengthy explanation in Arabic. (ACLOS has not analyzed the content of the video yet)

Video description (first video):

The Shabiha of Abbas family along with the Shabiha of the neighboring villages attacked the victims' homes, which are tents they have been living in for twenty years near the village of Tal al Shor among three pro regime villages of Alawite majority. The attackers tortured the victims, executed them with pullets in the head and then slaughtered them with knives. They also stole 700 heads of cattle, in addition to the victims' property of money and gold....
Note that two Alawite families - Abbas and Kahla - are named between these sources, and so set up for revenge.
...
Note that the mother of the children is still being treated in Al Zaim hospital in Homs. She is in a very critical condition and we ask Allah to recover soon.
The VDC listed the only dead female as aged 75, so clearly not the mother of any of these 8 children, ranging from 2 to 18. It's troubling that among the dead the only thing missing is the female(s) of childbearing years (we have no guarantee this was the original number minus one - there are many childrten there, as well as a gap between two clusters). This obviously raises the question of whether the mother(s) or any missing daughters truly survived in a hospital, or in some worse condition as war booty alongside the cattle and gold.

Location: Khirbet al-Tin is not pinned down, but the video description says it's near a village of Tal al-Shor, presumably Tall Shawr on Wikimapia, the square village centered here on Google Maps. It's just southwest of Homs then, by Lake Homs, with Jobar, Qatinah, and Abel being nearby areas.

Dabaa Massacre

App. June 1 2013, Qusayr area: SANA report, June 2: "An armed terrorist group on Saturday (May 31) committed a massacre against a family of four members, including a woman, in the countryside of al-Qseir in Homs. An official source told SANA reporter that the terrorist group’s members killed the family members inside their house in the area between al-Dab’a village and the industrial area in the city of al-Qseir before they looted the house. The source pointed out that the martyrs are a woman called Yusra Abdul-Rahman al-Qaissi and three young men."

Location: north of Qusayr, by air force base - on Wikimapia Opposition VDC records: 11 civilians in Homs including one abducted 5-28 at Shinshar checkpoint, tortured, and these 6 civilians from Qusair: Dabaa killed 2013-06-01 by Field Execution.

- Mohammad al-Qaisi Son AM Field executed by the regime`s army forces Near barrier (DABAA)

- Khaled al-Qaysi AM Married with 1 Child Known as (Abu Ghazy), Has been field executed and slaughtered with 4 members of his family by the regime's army forces located on the checkpoint of Dabaa's intersection

- Mohammad Khaled al-Qaysi AM photo 82157 Married with 1 Child Has been field executed and slaughtered with 4 members of his family by the regime's army forces located on the checkpoint of Dabaa's intersection

- Alaa Mohammad al-Qaysi CM Has been field executed and slaughtered with 4 members of his family by the regime's army forces located on the checkpoint of Dabaa's intersection

- Yosra al-Qaysi AF Married with 1 Child Wife of (Mohammad), field executed and slaughtered with 4 members of his family by the regime's army forces located on the checkpoint of Dabaa's intersection

- Riad al-Qaysi AM Has been field executed and slaughtered with 4 members of his family by the regime's army forces located on the checkpoint of Dabaa's intersection

Two days earlier, May 30, VDC records an unusual death: Mohammad Raed Abarah Lawyer - Media Activist from Dabaa with 2 photos in camouflage, near a burning house and near a seized fighter jet. Another shows him dead, wrapped, with blood from his nose. Killed May 30 by "warplane shelling," explained "Was Called Abu Salem, Shot by regime forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah."

Al-Shawahed Massacre

Near a village of al-Shawahed, western Homs province, six men were slaughtered on the morning of August 2, 2013. This seems to be near Hosin Castle (Qalat al-Hosn, aka Krak Des Chevaliers) and within or near the Valley of the Christians. Al-Shawahed appears on Wikimapia as Shuahid - right between Hosn and Zara. Its name Google-translates to "evidence," and as always that's what it's about. Rebel-provided evidence yielded this in the LCC's August 2 report:

Homs: Regime forces and thugs commits a massacre against six workers while heading to thier works in Shawahed village and they were killed and slaughtered by knives as reported, and the martyrs are; Saeed al-Ali, Waleed al-Ali, Ahmad al-Ali, Muhammad al-Ali, Muhammad Othman and Ahmad Marouf. [42]

Another source in Arabic mentions (Google translated) "Homs Homs occupied the most important events of the day 02.08.2013 and F (If Allah is not often you) Elevated seven martyrs executed six of them on the ground at the hands of regime forces in the town of evidence, (الشواهد) (alshwahd)" This gives a list of names that, transliterated with Mylanguages.org romanization appear on the left (alshhyd = martyr, trimmed), with three VDC matches on the right, for 6 victims (killed by "field execution").

  1. - s'eyd al'ely - Saeid Ahmad al-Ali from Hosen Castle: Shawahed village
  2. - wlyd al'ely - ??
  3. - ahmd al'ely - Mustafa Ahmad al-Ali from Hosen Castle
  4. - mhmd al'ely . Mohammad Ahmad al-Ali from Hosen Castle: Shawahed village
  5. - mhmd 'ethman . ??
  6. - ahmd m'erwfd - ??

The from areas aren't likely correct. If they were from Shawahed, they wouldn't be caught heading to work there, from elsewhere. Perhaps they're from Qabo village, 16 km northeast of Hosn. Another match by area and name, comparing to the four al-Alis, is the VDC's regime list entry Tammam al-Ali, rank: unknown. From Homs: Qabo Village. Killed 2013-08-02, by "Shooting." Notes: State security forces. Photo included of a charismatic young man smoking a cigarette. Rebels would dislike him and perhaps his whole family, and might be considered better suspects in their slayings. But to be fair, this time they didn't prove their access to the murder victims with public video.

There were also rebel losses this day in a fight around there, which might have interfered with the body recovery. There are at least six VDC-listed non-civilian martyrs we can link to this: Ahmad Abdul Hakim al-Zoubi from Hosen Castle, FSA, "Martyred during the clashes with the regime's army forces" August 2. Two rebels from Talkalakh, a bit south of Hosen, killed August 2 in clashes. 3 FSA guys from Zara, same story. This is not the Alawite district al-Zahraa in Homs, but a town Az-Zara (as labeled on WIkimapia) between Talkalakh and Hosen. Half the recorded six (clear) rebel losses in this fight were probably from there.

Marmarita Massacre

(forthcoming - see talk page section)

Jabourin Bus Attack

September 19, 2013 (forthcoming)

Nabk: Al-Faeouri Family

December 8/9, 2013, Nabk: Ten relatives from Deir Baalba, Homs, displaced to the Damascus area, are killed there - around Nabk - in Decmeber 2013. By VDC records, on December 8, four adult men were killed by "shelling" in "Damascus Suburbs: Nabk." Described as "FSA," they apparently came to fight, but quite possibly not. Their last names all are al-Saleh al-Faeouri. Then, 6 members killed Dec. 9 by "shooting" somewhere in "Damascus suburbs." Same basic area, four adult females and two adult males, all named al-Darweesh al-Faeouri except one woman named al-Afnan al-Faeouri.

That's an unusual pattern, but meshes with the previous day's to suggest 4 husband-wife sets and two single men, all coming to fight or to be there for the fighters. The name Darwish has been of interest here, frequently massacred (see talk page section), and Faeouri is emerging as a frequent name killed singly within different massacres.

Sukhna-Adra Massacre

App. December 14, 2013: As documented first here at ACLOS, the VDC at one point listed 14 adult males, 12 unidentified, killed by field execution, with "Martyrdom location: Damascus Suburbs: Adra," Cause of Death: "Field Execution," and notes: "12 martyrs were Field executed by the regime's army forces in one of Adra Prison, and found their drad bodies inWest Adra Industrial." The names and entry numbers were not saved. It was the first and last massacre they mentioned in connection with the alleged Adra massacre of dozens to hundreds in an al-Qaeda assault starting December 11.

34 of the 44 victims the VDC does document in this time, blamed on regime shooting and shelling, 34 are not from Adra, but displaced, from elsewhere in Damascus area and Homs. That basic list - the only executed people in Adra - has been changed now. It's only 11 martyrs long, with most given names, field execution changed to "detention-execution," and the area of origin is filled-in. Consistently, these men were all displaced from "Homs: Sukhna" (making it another of the Homs Massacres) And importantly, the notes have been changed. "Twelve worker were detained at Dumair's checkpoint, and were transported in the middle of the night to Adra in a military truck, then they were thrown at the ground with their hands cuffed then field executed with a machine gun, one of them was found alive and sent to a field hospital." The miracle survivor is probably how they will claim they got the improved story, but the delay is strange. Perhaps they think the bodies were dumped in rebel-infested Adra, to make it appear the terrorists were responsible. The original version had a video of someone explaining what happened (not saved). That's no longer attached - perhaps his version was different from the survivor's. That story is not explained in any detail or with any video.

Nabk: Alnshywaty Family

At least four members of a Alnshywaty family (Arabic: النشيواتي) who were displaced from Bab Dreib district by violence there. (One Nashwaiti man was killed in the Feb. 2012 Khalidiya Massacre, at least.) They relocated to the Damascus area and were massacred there during a time of firece fighting between newly-arrived terroriist hordes and the national military and its allies. Both sides blame each other.

(This is one of a growing number of Homs massacres, same names and patterns, but happening outside Homs in the community of those displaced, especially those unfortunate enough to wind up in Nabk, Damascus province, in December 2013. (talk page section)

An internally displaced family of four (husband, wife and their daughter and the wife's sister) from Homs were killed overnight in the town of al-Nabek. Activists accused regime forces of killing them and burning their bodies. A rebel leader was killed in the eastern Ghouta clashes. Clashes continue in Adra between ISIS and regime forces, supported by Hizbullah and other militia.

The family is unnamed, but the VDC eventually listed them. From Bab Draib, Homs, Date of death: 2013-12-25. Martyrdom location: Damascus Suburbs: Nabk. Cause of Death: "Other." Notes: "A massacre of a family whose bodies were found burned at the hands of members of the Iraqi forces and the Lebanese."

Mid-February, Zara-area Massacre(s)

(Exact date unclear) Feb. 7: Intifada Palestine report There are ongoing clashes as the government starts to re-assert control of the area, with improved security lately, SAA, NDF, Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), armed locals, but well-armed rebels are still firing on drivers from occupied Krak des Chevaliers (Hosn "crusader castle").

During a January 29 attack on a National Defense checkpoint in the town of Ammar al-Hosn, the militants took great joy in mutilating the bodies of the troops who had been manning the checkpoint. They gouged the eyes of one corpse and beheaded another, taking the head with them.
Over the past several weeks, the militants beheaded many others, including fighters from the National Defense Forces, an SSNP fighter named Hanna Karam, and also civilians, most recently a young man named Fadi Matta, from Marmarita.

Feb. 8 ISIS announcement (purported) https://justXpaste.it/3afj (spam filter) (auto-translated)

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - the state of Homs - Enables the brothers in the organization Jund al-Sham (with) A martyrdom operation and other Angmasah checkpoint (Abu Zeid) in Krak des Chevaliers...

Iranian Fars News reported February 17, 2014 that Militants Massacre Syrian Citizens in Homs (alt posting: ABNA, Iran). First, the image is unexplained and doesn't belong. It's famous from its first publication in early May, 2013, after the Al-Bayda Massacre. The story is vague, and says in part:

Sources said the decapitated bodies of a large number of villagers were found in Homs countryside, adding that they were the victims of a crime by Jund al-Sham Battalions, an ultra extremist group supported by the Saudi intelligence agency ... currently stationed in two villages of al-Zareh and al-Hosn villages in the same area.
Some photos, apparently taken by the members of the same terrorist group, show Jund al-Sham members cut the throats of the victims in the historical castle of Homs where the militants are stationed.

(presumably different photos than the one mentioned)

A later info-graphic by Shababeek Souria calls this the Hosn massacre, gives February 18, and a death toll (seemingly rounded-off) of 100. Source unclear. Jund al-Sham is blamed. [5] Az-Zara is here on Wikimapia, on the edge of the Valley of the Christians. Sunni rebels from Az-Zara and Khalet al-Hosn sometimes raid the Chrisitian villages, mainly to the west and north (see #Marmarita Massacre, for one).

VDC Records

The VDC martyrs database, unsurprisingly, shows no sign of a massacre of civilians in the area, or from Homs province at all, in the days immediately up to the 17th. (All 173 "martyrs" from Homs province listed as dying Feb. 1-17) We can see the largest number of dead are from Zara, and those are almost totally non-civilian, it says - killed in shelling and mainly shooting. 60 of the 173 are listed as from Zara, with only nine being civilian. Rebels there got pounded, especially on the 2nd to 4th, the 9th and 10th, the 13th to 15th (many dead on the 14th), and some on the 17th itself.

As far as possible massacres, by victims groupings, two only pop out readily. Both are blamed on government bombing. Between the 4th and 9th, there is a lull in rebel bombing deaths - a let up. But then they allegedly dropped a barrel bomb on at least two rural homes, and six civilians were "Martyred due to the regime air forces' shelling with explosive barrels." Only 4 civilians died, one man, two women, and a girl, from Zara on February 6, and a woman and a baby the day before "martyred due to the regime air forces' shelling with explosive barrels." In order:

  1. Ayoush Bilal adult female, killed Feb. 5. No video. No details past "called as Um Hasan Hadoul"
  2. Montaser Arab boy, age 1 killed Feb. 5. (video, before he died, bad injuries, fighting to breathe, horrible)
  3. Monira Shahoud, Adult - Female, Feb. 6. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58aHnVwwuyU (serious wound to upper right head, possible smoke stains on face)
  4. Fatima al-Ali, Child - Female. Age: 8. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypLcQXtR4oE (minor facial injuries, seems basically intact)
  5. Asmae al-Ali, Adult - Female, Feb. 6. No video.
  6. Kheder Naseef, Adult - Male. No video. Notes:called as Abo Galeb

The three videos were uploaded by rebel-linked account Abu Umair - description under little Fatima's video gives the location (translated) "Homs countryside west of the town of Hasarjia" where a barrel bomb was dropped from a helicopter. This seems to be a tiny village right at the north edge of Az-Zara (and 1.5 km south of Shuahid - apparent rough locale of the #Al-Shawahed Massacre. How far to the west it was isn't clear.

A little more substantial, on February 11, 7 civilians and a rebel dad were killed by "shelling" in - more directly this time - "Talkalakh: Hesarjeih." Attached note: "Several People martyred in a massacre due to regime`s army forces shelling with surface-to-surface missile." The dead, as described, with the scant info added (aside from the videos, see below):

  1. Ahmad Ghasan Arab: Civilian Adult - Male
  2. Yehya Shahoud: Civilian Adult - Male (any relation to Monira, allegedly barrel-bombed on the 6th?)
  3. Samia Mahalli: Civilian Adult - Female - Married with a Child
  4. Rawan: Civilian: Child - Female - Mother's Name: Samia Mahalli
  5. Hala Anwar Haidar: Civilian Child - Female
  6. Ghina Anwar Haidar: Civilian Adult - Female
  7. Khodr Mahalli: Civilian Child - Male Homs
  8. Alaa Khedr Mahalli: Non-Civilian (FSA) Adult - Male

This clearly sounds nothing like a rebel massacre by any measure, or too likely anyone's - except maybe by ISIS or al-Nusra, or whoever, and depending on what the video shows, etc. Videos (not reviewed) - all five very graphic "generic videos" are provided with each of the entries.:

  1. Generic Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaiAKGfEWFo (woman, boy, girl each in one piece, but the boy missing the top of his head)
  2. Generic Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwJbq82vyr8 (man and five children alive in clinic, treated for horrible injuries to legs, groin, armpit, ankle)
  3. Generic Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc6T0X7hAu0 (too disgusting, removed before it could be reviewed)
  4. Generic Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVi-FQl_XU0 (three men apparently killed together in a field, one seemingly shot in the head, and clutching white beads)
  5. Generic Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuDDeN2QzxA (pre-burial, man wailing over wrapped adult, baby, unwrapped child)

The four still available were all uploaded by walidawad100 and thend to be described about the same way: (translated) "Homs countryside west of the town of Ministry 11\2\2014..."

So, somewhere to the west of Hasarjia, where people about to die clutch white beads*, at least 6 people were killed on the 11th by video and another 6 listed the same way for February 5 and 6. At least of these 12+ victims was seemingly shot in the head, not killed by barrel bombs. Most others do appear killed in more random-shelling consistent ways, but with little to no dust of a blown-up home on them. If some were executed, the rest most likely were as well, unless the small-scale shelling that goes with a rebel massacre did manage to kill a few people in itself. Any people left around beheaded were likely not the same as these 12 rebels documented. They may be from a different area. But they also may be a different part, along with these incidents, of a broader massacre in the same area but over many days.

  • The beads will suggest Muslim victims - seem likely to be 33 in number, no larger bead every tenth one as Catholics do (local Christians most likely would be Greex Orthodox). And of course Muslim beads can easily be planted in the hands of any dead person.

Aftermath

  • March 9 SAA retakes Zara - The opposition Shaam News Network claims, from “eyewitnesses”, that scores of residents, including women and children, were killed as the Syrian forces took over the town. (EA Worldview)
  • March 20 - 11 rebels killed in an ambush as they fled towards Lebanon (Al-Alam)
  • 45 civilians injured in an ambush reach Lebanon (Al-Jazeera)
  • 2014-3-21 Jund al-Sham official Aldandasa Abu Sulaiman was killed in Homs Castle fort According to press information, the Aldandasa descendant of the town of Mashta Hassan in Akkar, has spent the Krak des Chevaliers in Rural Damascus and his body was inside Syrian territory still not yet reached the Lebanese territory. (SyrianMasah.net)
  • 2015-12-19 Bilal Faraj Sweidan ( بلال سويدان الفرج ), Lebanese military, left in 2013 to join Jund al-Sham in the Hosn area in the Krak des Chevaliers. After the government forces chased them out in March, 2014 (says 2013, in error), he returned to Lebanon's Wadi Khaled region, and was soon declared the Islamic State's local emir for Akkar province, recruited and plotted attacks there until he was arrested in December, 2015 by Lebanese security services. (Syria News)

March 8 Zara Massacre

There was apparently a little-noted massacre in the same area as the mid-February killings that came (reportedly) as government forces reclaimed it on March 8, 2014. March 9, gov claims Zara reclaimed. Several sources reported on this AP March 8

Fighting lasted weeks around Zara, which rebels used as a base to attack pro-regime communities in the area, said Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. ... Abdurrahman and the Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen channel said Syrian forces were now advancing into the nearby area of Hasarijiyeh.

SOHR March 8

Homs province: warplanes went in more tha 14 air raids since this morning on areas in Al-Zara village, and Al-Hesen town, accompanied by dropped 3 barrel bombs and clashes between regime forces supported by NDF against Islamic battalions and Jabhat Al-Nusra.

At least one report (EAworldview) also mentions killings: "The Syrian military claimed on Saturday that it has captured Zara, west of Homs, after nearly a month of attacks ... The opposition Shaam News Network claims, from “eyewitnesses”, that scores of residents, including women and children, were killed as the Syrian forces took over the town."

A Facebook post by Shaam news Network (SNN) in Arabic (translated)may be what's referred to. March 9 at 3:41 PM in Syria (5:41 am California time) This conveys: "...real concerns the system (will? did?) commission a big massacre in the rest of the native town of Zara, rural Homs numbering more than 150 people, including women and children, and their number, and witnesses spoke of large numbers of "Shabiha" entering the town, and said through Allaski (? اللاسكي )Free Army that they had killed all those remaining in town."

VDC lists 37 entries for civilians executed March 8 - "Field execution of several civilians in a massacre when the regime and Hizbullah forces stormed the town" Halaweek, Kurdi, Majar, Koja, Awad etc man and his family add 2+) twice, "children of" add 1+) twice, minus wives listed = total of 41 civilians listed as killed, or more, perhaps several more. From this no exact tally can be ventured anyway, but some family names with 3 or more killed, some shared in other area bombing/massacres are: Qadour (2 un-numerated families) - 6 named Halaweek - 6 named Kurdi - 4 named Awad - 3 named Majar - 3 Koja - 3 Rustom. There are also 2 rebels from Zara listed as dying from "shelling." Apparently none died in the invasion, having retreated so they couldn't possibly be blamed for civilian executions. Unless ... they didn't retreat yet, they killed the people before they left, or they took captives with them as they fled and killed them outside town.

May, 2016 Zaara Massacre

Main content moved to: Zara Massacre, May 12, 2016

Note: the above two events clearly refers to the Zara near Hosn Castle, while this seems to be the Zara between Rastan and Habinafsah (Here on Wikimapia, labeled as an Alawite village). It's in or by the Rastan pocket of rebel control, and seems to be an Alawi village as claimed. There may some confusion on anything else Zara/aara/araa/arah on this page. Also, it's in Hama province, but like Aqrab, in the orbit of rebel places (Rastan) that are in Homs (the border runs across the lake somewhere). It's just south of the giant Zara thermal power station (whose smoke stacks were visible from Aqrab as Alawi residents fled the Aqrab Massacre in late 2012).

References

  1. Fury over Homs massacre as UN security council gathers for Syria voteDamien Pearse and agencies. theguardian.com, Saturday 4 February 2012 09.50 EST
  2. Statement by the President White House Press Office, February 4, 2012
  3. Activists: Syrian forces attack district in Homs, kill 11 Reuters, via Sunday's Zaman, 10 August, 2011
  4. Homs - Dec 5, 2011 - 19:27 Al-Jazeera: Blogs. Last modified: 5 Dec 2011 16:27
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Homs Massacres (infographic) posted by Shababeek Souria on Facebook, May 19, 2016
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 An eyewitness story: The Clock Square massacre, Homs 18/04/2011 – 19/04/2012 rosealhomsi, April 19, 2012
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  9. 9.0 9.1 Siege of Homs Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Accessed December 3, 2013.
  10. Syrian forces use soccer stadiums as prisons, human rights groups say CNN May 9, 2011, accessed July 5, 2015
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  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Syria News - December 27, 2011 (Warning: Graphic Videos) Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, via Uruknet, December 27, 2011 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "LCC_11_12_27" defined multiple times with different content
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named LCC_12_12_25
  17. Syria News - December 23, 2011 (Warning: Graphic Videos) LCC via Uruknet
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named LCC_12_12_26
  19. 19.0 19.1 Ahmad Al Ra'i Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, martyr's database query (includes video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE-iYB0vNiU), accessed December 24, 2013
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  28. Syria News - January 5, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos)
  29. 29.0 29.1 Syrian Activists: Dozens of Bodies found near Homs in one of the Worst Mass Killings of the ConflictBy Liz Sly, The Washington Post, February 27, 2012
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  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 "Baba Amro: Massacre in the neighbourhood by Assad thugs on 29-02-2012" (three-part series of Youtube videos) part 1 - part 2 - Part 3 Uploaded March 3, 2012 by Gayeth Saleh
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  35. 24 Homs martyrs with "Sultan" in the notes field, 20 being of this massacre. Violations Documentation Center query, Dec. 27, 2013
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  40. 2 martyrs killed May 5, 2012, from area Teir Maalle, Homs province.  VDC database query, January 2, 2014
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