The Latakia Massacres refers to a number of mass-killings of Alawite families around August 4, 2013, in several towns of the Alawite-dominated Latakia province. This was the same time as a massive rebel/insurgent conquest of 11 towns in this previously calm area, and all reports so far are clear it was extremists among them who did the killings of at least 100 civilians, reported as 200, all counts considered incomplete and details not all known. The scale might prove immense. The victims of course included women, children and the elderly, with rape and slaughter reportedly involved. The details will come together in the sections below.
The death toll here is quite unclear. Official and loyalist sources were initially tight-lipped about the incident. As the Angry Arab blog noted "there is news of some 200 innocent civilians being killed in the attack on `Alawite villages. My sources tell me that even the Syrian regime media are covering up the scale of the massacre."  On talk page (death toll), there is an explanation for an estimate, as of mid-October, of at least 270 and as many as 450 human beings killed in and as a result of this rebel advance. This includes the accepted 200 (190-205) civilians found dead afterwards, defending soldiers (est. 30-75), excluding rebel deaths, including a broad estimate of hostage who would be killed even later on (40-175 out of app. 200). From those sub-totals, a less cynical and speculative estimate might be 220-250. It ranks as one of the Syrian war's deadliest episodes.talk page, mass grave(s)) Ahlul Bayt adds "according to the statements of the coroner, some of the victims were stabbed with sharp objects, while other victims had their throat slit, and the rest were gunned down by the foreign-backed terrorists." Some were identified but others weren't - many were decomposed and others had been badly charred.  Typical "Shabiha" massacre, isn't it? Who was just talking about making "them" hurt the way "they" allegedly hurt "us"?
- Note: This section is still incomplete. See also Talk page section, Monitor on Massacre Marketing for more ACLOS and related hostages research.
The exact number of civilians taken prisoner is a bit disputed. Early reports said at least 105, some say 150, and some over 200. A later pro-rebel report said it was only 136 women and children taken.  But Human Rights Watch, in their detailed October 2013 report found it was at least 225, first divided between 4 involved jihadist groups, then 2 (about 120 to ISIS and about 105 to allied Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar), all transferred in September to the custody of Ahrar al-Sham.  Later, HRW learned of 17 women and children captives who were executed soon after capture,  apparently before the 225 tally (which itself is rounded off), suggesting at least 242 were once held.
An August 18 L.A. Times report mentioned pro-government news reports "that more than 150 area civilians have been taken hostage," alongside an opposition spokesman who "said the civilians were being held to protect them from army shelling and would be released at some point in exchange for prisoners in government hands," unless perhaps their terms aren't met. 
In September, there were 225 or more hostages. With no explanation ACLOS can locate, by March, 2014, Al Jazeera broadcast footage it had "obtained" prior to then, of rebels holding 94 women and children kidnapped from rural Latakia in August. Rebels offered in the video to free them in trade for 2,000 opposition prisoners, who had to be mostly from coastal areas and be half women and children.  Three elderly women had been released shortly before that (so a total of 97, out of 225+ once held).  Many of those not explained could have been people quietly released for demands met, but other explanations exist for their dropping off the list.
In early May, 2014 - nine months after the abductions - at least 15 captives (4 women and 11 children), were re-united with their family at a public event in Kafraya with media present, including a reporter from Al-Akhbar. It doesn't seem Western media had any interest.
- The ceasefire deal in the Old City of Homs includes the release of 40 civilians from the villages of [near] Salanfa in the Latakia countryside, out of more than 95 kidnapped civilians, but not much has been revealed about the fate of the other hostages. Today, 25 civilians are expected to be released and moved out of the opposition-controlled eastern countryside of Latakia.
The released captives spoke of children executed (one woman looking for her 6-year-old son learned he had been "shot and killed by the fighters months ago.” Another child had had his eyes gouged out). Some spoke fairly kindly of their captors - rape isn't mentioned (and wouldn't be) - the women were encouraged but not forced to wear a hijab (veil), but they all decided to, and kept wearing it until Kafraya. 
After this release, there remained a steady 54 captives held by the Islamic Front (headed by Ahrar al-Sham) as mentioned and sometimes shown on video, in late May,  early August (one year after capture),  reportedly split 20 women, 34 children.  in early 2015  , and again in early August 2015, 54 were still said to be held (but no new video appeared).  One source from August 2014 includes a video of captive girls pleading about this case.  The cited video, interview with young Rowan, was Uploaded on Aug 27, 2014 by salomar alomar, listed as category: comedy. One girl holds a sign in Arabic (bottom line seems to say Bashar al-Assad). A brief view of the other girl's sign in English suggests it says "to all the world: (the?) Bashar al-Assad (regime?) no longer cares about (us, Alawites, his own people)."
Update, February 2017: As widely reported, including by SyriaNews.cc, everyone remaining, a total of 58 women and children, were released by their captors on February 9. This followed on exchange negotiations, with details not specified. The last reports noted were about a year earlier, when only 54 were held - 20 women and 34 children. The reason for this number discrepancy is not clear. An attached video shows most or all of these assembled for a public meeting with president Assad and the first lady, who asked about the contacts they've had with their families, and urged the children to get back to school and on with their lives after a 3.5 year interruption. (President Assad also calls the attack in which they were abducted, and the similar massacre and mass-abduction in Adra industrial city in December, 2013, as the two most serious crimes they've had to face.)
For Mother Syria
An August 7 Facebook post by the pro-government "For Mother Syria" contains an advanced summary of the killings so far, published in English, with "Names of the victims of the massacres which wiped out entire families, committed by #Al_Nusra_Front backed by hundreds of terrorists from (#Baghdad_and_Al_Sham_Islamic_State_Army ) terrorist group against the civillians in 8 villages in the countryside north-eastern city of #Latakia and #Slenfeh. This happened at the dawn of Sunday 4/8/2013"  The following is a summary of the list. The list contains 71 killed + 32 kidnapped people.
- Names of the victims of the massacres which wiped out entire families, committed by #Al_Nusra_Front backed by hundreds of terrorists from ( #Baghdad_and_Al_Sham_Islamic_State_Army ) terrorist group against the civillians in 8 villages in the countryside north-eastern city of #Latakia and #Slenfeh.
- This happened at the dawn of Sunday 4/8/2013:
- Victims names in village "#Nabata": (13 names)
- Names of kidnapped people from village "#Nabata": (23 names)
- Victims names in village "#Alhmbushiah" mostly children: (25 names)
- Names of kidnapped people from village "#Alhmbushiah" by Al-Nusra Front: (9 names)
- Victims names in village "#AlBalouta", Where entire families were wiped out: (18 names)
- Names of the kidnapped people from this village are not known yet.
- Victims names in village "#Bermseh" (4 names + 8 children)
- Names of the kidnapped people from this village are not known yet.
- Victims names in village of "#Abu_Mecki": (3 names)
- I could not document more information about the fate of this village.
- Village "#Aubin" was burned by the terrorists and we don't know anything about the civilians fate there, yet.
- Village "#Esterbeh" close to #Salma. the civilians escaped but the terrorists occupied the village.
- Victims names in village "#Nabata": (13 names)
A rebel fighter associated with al Qaeda posted several photos of killed people on his Twitter account. (It is possible the same individual was in Saudi Arabia on July 15, 2013.) The pictured were pulled from his page within a few days of drawing attention. These and the purported photographer are/will be discussed here on the talk page.
Inside an Assadist home:
By the roadside:
- Syrian rebels push advance into Assad heartland – F. Najia, 6 August 2013
- Syrian rebels are pushing toward President Bashar al-Assad's hometown of Qardaha in Latakia province.
- By Monday, the second day of their surprise offensive in the heartland of Assad's minority Alawite-cum-Shiite sect, the rebels had captured some 11 Alawite villages.
- The villages include Aramo, 20 kilometers from Qardaha, and Baruda, where the rebels seized visiting Alawite cleric Badreddin Ghazal, a diehard Assad militant.
- You can see above a photo of Sheikh Ghazal in military fatigue standing alongside Mihraç Ural aka Ali al-Kayyali, the man I dubbed in May “the ethnic cleanser of Banias,” who was also suspected of masterminding the twin Turkish bombings in Reyhanli.
- Brilliant ... if you can make your first major genocidal sweep into Latakia's countryside coincide with a chance to catch that "ethnic cleanser," you are on an anti-ethnic cleansing campaign, so obviously you aren'y doing any of it yourself. It's known of course the Sunnis he and the others killed, allegedly, were "Baathist partisans" and loyalists who "alienated" the rebels there. In both places now, it's reported a pregnant woman was sliced open and the baby torn out. Coincidence? Previously I heard of that as a Saudi Arabian Ikhwan thing, and I hear a member of the Ikhwan tribe Uteybi is the creep who posted those photos (all fighting age men, note). --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
A Reuters report has the rebel explanation for the 200 people they proudly killed. All fighting age men.
- Syrian Islamist rebels have killed around 200 people in a three-day offensive in the mountain stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect and driven hundreds of villagers to seek refuge on the Mediterranean coast, activists said on Tuesday.
- Since launching the surprise assault at dawn on Sunday, the mainly Islamist rebel brigades led by two al Qaeda-linked groups have captured half a dozen villages on the northern edges of the Alawite mountain range, the activists say.
- Diplomats say the coastal area and its mountain villages could be the scene of an Alawite bloodbath if Islamist hardliners eventually gain the upper hand in the conflict.
- "We killed 200 (of Assad's men) on Sunday alone, and yesterday at least 40," said a rebel fighter in the area. "His people were kicked out to the city," he said referring to the Mediterranean port of Latakia. "Only those who raised the white flag were exempt from killing."
- Ahmad Abdelqader, an activist with the Ahrar al-Jabal Brigade, one of the groups involved in the operation, put the death toll at 175, describing them as soldiers and militiamen who were manning roadblocks linking the mountain villages.
- Mohammad Moussa, a Free Syrian Army commander, said rebel forces were on the outskirts of the hilltop village of Aramo, which is 20 km (12 miles) from Qardaha - Assad's hometown and burial place of his father, Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria with an iron fist for three decades.
- "The objective is to reach Qardaha and hurt them like they are hurting us. The Alawites have been huddling in their mountain thinking that they can destroy Syria and remain immune," Abdelqader said. 
- The bolded clearly refers, in major part, to the massacres attributed down the months to Alawite "Shabiha." He's tacitly saying the plan is to kill Alawite families as Sunni ones have been, from aged to babies. They might plan to rape the women and girls (there are fatwas allowing that, rumored and acted on if one wants, if not legitimate), to slice throats, mutilate and incinerate bodies, burn people's fields and homes, etc. as has happened time and again in rebel stories, just for having the right religion. Baaaad blood. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
The December HRW report also offers this video analysis for a troubling glimpse into the captivity in question:
- The opposition has uploaded several videos onto the Internet in an effort to demonstrate that its forces have not mistreated Alawite civilians in the captured villages. Some militant Sunni groups consider Alawites and Shiites as apostates. “Don’t be afraid. We are not going to kill you or do you any harm,” a bearded rebel fighter who goes by the name Abu Firas tells an elderly Alawite man in one clip. “Do you know why? Because the prophet [Muhammad], peace be upon him, said, ‘Do not kill the elderly, a child or a woman.’ This is our religion. What about your religion?” 
The clear implication is that Alawites slaughter people, and might explain why, even in their PR video version, fighting age men are still fair game. Away from their cameras, Alawite women are reportedly being sliced open to deliberately murder their fetuses as well. 
(forthcoming) See detailson the talk page, Locations until it's sorted out and simplified here. It's complex and wide-ranging.
Human Rights Watch Report
- "You can still see their blood" - Executions, indiscriminate shooting, and hostage taking by opposition forces in Latakia countryside. PDF, 113 pp. Researched and written by Lama Fakih, Human Rights Watch, October 11, 2013. HRW download page. This is a pretty detailed and informative report that does little to absolve rebels of anything. It's perhaps even more useful as our (ACLOS) investigation and a decent first read. Released October 11 after a field investigation to Latakia. 
- massacre of `Alawite families in Latakia Angry Arab News Service, August 7:
- Of course, the news of such massacre of `Alawites is the last thing on the mind of Western human rights organizations (the Hariri branch of Human Rights Watch in Beirut in fact refers to them habitually as shabbihah, as do Western media). But there is news of some 200 innocent civilians being killed in the attack on `Alawite villages. My sources tell me that even the Syrian regime media are covering up the scale of the massacre. All Western media and Syrian "revolution" groupies are complicit in the massacre of innocent `Alawites that have been taking place in Syria and Lebanon in the last two years. Above is a picture of an obituary of a family and their children.
- AFP August 6 The rebels' capture of the Minnigh base in Aleppo province came after they overran villages in Latakia province, heartland of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect, and marked a turnaround after the loss of two strongholds. (good news, no massacre report)
- In the predominantly Alawite province of Latakia on the Mediterranean coast, the rebels captured 11 villages, edging closer to Assad’s ancestral home in the region, the village of Qardaha. The opposition’s gains in Latakia, an Alawite stronghold that has been peaceful for much of the Syrian conflict, is a symbolic blow to the regime and a boost to the rebels.
- It was a blow more than symbolic to the Alawites living in those villages, and the AP report has heard a bit about how the rebels are indulging this "boost." --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
- But those gains have been overshadowed by reports from activists that more than 80 people were killed in two of the villages overran by opposition fighters. The activists spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. If confirmed, the slayings will likely deepen Syria’s sectarian strife.
- The Observatory reported heavy fighting in Latakia throughout Tuesday while SANA said the army launched a counter-offensive and by evening, recaptured two villages. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Also Tuesday, pro-government daily Al-Watan said rebel kidnapped Sheik Badreddine Ghazal, a prominent Alawite cleric in Latakia region. The paper said he was taken Monday from the village of Barouda, one of those captured by earlier rebels. A government official in Damascus confirmed Ghazal’s abduction saying the cleric was “severely beaten” by his captors. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, did not give further details. 
- Meanwhile, Syrian Arab Army units recovered the control of Aramo and Starba towns, in the northern province of Latakia, after killing the mercenaries who had occupied those localities last weekend, reported SANA news agency.
- About 200 people were massacred by the extremists when taking control of various regions of that territory. Syrian Armed Forces continue with their offensive in the area to wipe out the so-called rebels by the Western.
- Syrian Islamist rebels have killed around 200 people in a three-day offensive in the mountain stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect and driven hundreds of villagers to seek refuge on the Mediterranean coast, activists said on Tuesday. 
I didn't check the content of any of these yet, but at least these 5 articles might be related, judging by words and date. I just searched SANA for Latakia and massacre, first in English, then Arabic. The English front page at least has nothing yet. These were all Arabic. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
"Syrian Arab Army"
I'm not sure how official this Facebook page is, "Syrian Arab Army" saying I and using "we" for SAA actions. But they have a report (in part):
- The villages of Lattakia Countryside, the villages are neutral and there were no army presence there, only few units of the National defense to keep peace inside, two days ago al-Nura launched a massive attack and entered three villages for less than 12 hours before the army units moved in and exterminated them. The villages were the fare most three from Lattakia that's why the army took more time to enter them as the attack was on all the villages at once, therefore the army secured them one by one prevented al-Nusra from entering them all but three.
- This picture of a citizen from a family there, that family had a soldier who was martyred in action with the SAA, al-Nusra members slaughtered all the members of the family, as long [sic] with some other families.
- ...those cannibals have no honor and would attack even a peaceful neutral village.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Facebook entries running back to Aug. 2. And select comments. This is apparently all they have, and the signs of any massacre come through as seen -slim to non-existent. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:15, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
- Aug.2 and 3, nothing for Latakia.For reference.
- Aug 4:
- Latakia province:The airforce bombarded parts of Salma town, reports of human losses. Clashes by the villages of Baruda, Inbata, and Sheikh Nabhan between the rebels and regime and pro-regime militia; reports of 1 regime loss. Several rockets fell on Baruda village, which is under rebel control, no reports of casualties so far. Violent clashes took place this morning by the observing posts of (Estriya, Baruda, Kafreya, Tela) in the Jabal al-Akrad area, Reef Latakia. Violent explosions were heard after rebels bombarded regime positions in the area. 1 rebel was killed and several others injured by the clashes as well as the regime bombardment. There are also reports of regime losses. 1 civilian was killed by the overnight bombardment on the village of Rabi'a, in Jabal al-Turkman.
- (comment: Inbata = Nabata? 13 killed, 23 abducted, tallied so far. Baruda = "AlBalouta"? "Where entire families were wiped out," 8 dead, kidnapped unknown. Did youhear anything about "Alhmbushiah" "Bermseh" or "Esterbeh"?)
- Latakia province: more than 12 rebels (some non-Syrians) and 19 regular and pro-regime forces were killed by the continuing clashes in Jabal al-Akrad. Clashes began with rebel attacks on regime positions at dawn. Airforce has bombarded rebel areas.
- Latakia Province-SOHR: A young man, from the Raml al-Junubi neighbourhood, was tortured to death in regime forces' prisons, after his detainment a year ago.
- Latakia province: Rebels targeted regime positions in the al-Nabi Yunus summit with several home-made rockets. Parts of Jabal al-Turkman was bombarded by regime forces, no reports of losses so far. Regime forces regained control of the Beit al-Shekuhi village after violent clashes with rebels.
- Latakia province: Reports that rebel fighters took hold of the villages of Obin and A'ramo in the Jabal al-Akrad area of Reef Latakia in the midst of clashes between rebel and regular forces in the area.
- (comment: ALLAHU AKBAR....good news)
- (comment: Obin = "Village Aubin was burned by the terrorists and we don't know anything about the civilians fate there, yet." Names are given for the other towns, kidnapped and massacred.)
- 1 rebel fighter from the Jusr al-Shughour city was killed by clashes with regular forces in Reef Latakia.
- Latakia province: Rebel positions in North Reef Aleppo is under airforce bombardment, no reports of human losses. Clashes took place in Jabal al-Akrad, reports that rebels took over the village of Khirbet Baz.
- Latakia province: 1 rebel fighter from the Jabla city was killed by clashes with regular forces in the Dourin town of Reef Latakia.
- Latakia province: Reports of gunfire by the precinct in the Qneinis neighbourhood of Latakia, there is heavy regime forces presence in the neighbourhood. No reports on the reason or type of gunfire. In Reef Latakia there are reports that rebels are targeting regime positions from the Bani Younus summit, amid clashes between both sides. No reports on the number of losses in either side. the airforce bombarded parts of Jabal al-Akrad this morning, no reports on the number of losses. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:15, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
- Latakia province: The airforce carried out an air raid on areas of the Salma town which led to the death of 2 civilians, reports of 5 other casualties and dozens of injuries. Reports that regular forces and pro regime militants kidnapped a young man from the al-Gharaf neighbourhoood in the al-Raml al-Janoubi area. Regular forces stormed the Qashba village of Reef al-Haffa earlier this morning, reports that several civilians including women were detained. Clashes broke out between rebel fighters and a military column heading from Jusr al-Shughour to the al-Nabi Younis area, reports that rebel fighters destroyed 3 military tanks and that several regular soldiers were killed and injured. The airforce bombarded the Salma town, reports that dozens were killed and injured.
- Latakia province: More than 20 people were killed by the airstrike last night on the town of Salma, in Jabal al-Akrad. The dead include 6 rebel fighters, 4 non-Syrian fighters and 10 badly disfigured bodies, thought to be civilians. The number of dead is likely to rise due to the large number of people with severe injuries and because there are still unidentified human body parts from the bombardment.
- Aug. 4 - the day the offensive was launched and seemingly the worst day of civilian killings, the SNC in Turkey "Requests an Immediate Investigation into Human Rights Abuses," all
of which they think are by "Assad."
- The Syrian Coalition applauds Free Syrian Army fighters on the Syrian Coast, as well as their fellow fighters across Syria, as the following areas in rural Latakia become liberated: Jabal Al Turkuman and Jabal Akrad mountains, including Mount Zion and Al Haffah on the Mediterranean.
- These areas were previously occupied by Assad forces and some were used as military sites from where Assad militias shelled populated areas and launched artillery strikes on innocent civilians.
- The military posts of Inbata, Baruda, and Tela are now under the control of FSA fighters who will now defend and protect civilians in those areas. The FSA will continue to fight for Syrians' aspirations of freedom and dignity as the battle of liberating Syria continues.
(if they were there with that mission the day before is unclear)
- The FSA and the Syrian Coalition consider all Syrian people equal, regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds. The new Syria will be a pluralistic and democratic state of justice and freedom that will safeguard the rights of all citizens.
- August 9 - after credible reports emerged that it wasn't just 200 of "Assad's" men who were killed and/or abducted in the offensive:
- The FSA issued a statement about the Syrian Coast in which they pledge to protect civilians and families in the area, ... they will only target ... Assad’s militia. The statement emphasizes that the role of the FSA is not to target civilians but to protect them from Assad forces.
- ... It also warns all FSA battalions against taking any action that might jeopardize local residents in the areas of military operations. The Syrian Coalition renews its commitment to the principles described in the FSA statement, calling once again on Assad forces to lay down their weapons and stop killing Syrian civilians.
After Human Rights Watch issued its report, the FSA supreme military council was given and failed this chance (PDF) to rectify the PR problem. In part;
- In the name of the Free Syrian people and our revolution, the Supreme Military Council (SMC) of the Free Syrian Army wholeheartedly condemns the alleged atrocities committed by extremist groups against civilian communities in Latakia. The ruthless massacres of Syrian non-combatants, regardless of their ethnicity, creed, or loyalties, is an abhorrent crime against humanity and antithetical to the values of our revolution.
- General Idriss and the SMC have made clear that we will not tolerate those who commit crimes against humanity. Unlike the Assad regime, the SMC is fully committed to respecting the rule of law and will hold any FSA personnel accountable if found guilty of a crime. ... We stress that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Suqour al-Izz, and Jaysh al-Muhajireen wa al-Ansar, are not a part of the SMC command structure and do not represent the values of the FSA or the Syrian revolution. These extremists have attacked the FSA and have killed numerous FSA officers.
None of those were killed during the joint FSA-Nusra=ISIS-JMA attack on Alawi civilians. If there was, it'd be "friendly fire." And they aren't too eager to have the condemned crimes looked at:
- The SMC command encourages Human Rights Watch and the international community to focus on the institutional crimes against humanity being committed by Assad’s security apparatus.
For a change.
- Massacre of `Alawite families in Latakia Angry Arab News Service, August 7, 2013
- Mass Grave of more than 200 bodies discovered in Latakia - Syria Ahlul Bayt News Agency, August 21, 2013
- Alsouriya.net January 31, 2015
- "You can still see their blood" - Executions, indiscriminate shooting, and hostage taking by opposition forces in Latakia countryside. PDF, 113 pp. Researched and written by Lama Fakih, Human Rights Watch, October 11, 2013. HRW download page
- Syria Deeply report, interviewing Lama Fakih, August 24, 2015
- Syria claims military successes in Assad's home provinceBy Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2013 4:29 PM PST
- Syrian rebels claim Alawites' kidnappingAl Jazeera English, March 24, 2014
- Latakia captives speak out about their ordeal, others still missing By: Zainab Bahjat, Al-Akhbar English. Published Thursday, May 8, 2014
- [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR0z5teV8lo Al Jazeera Arabic video, May 31, 2015
- Timeline photo posted by For Mother Syria, Facebook, August 7, 2013, 11:08 AM
- Syria rebels strike Assad's Alawite stronghold, seize airport By Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Mariam Karouny, Reuters, AMMAN/BEIRUT | Tue Aug 6, 2013 3:23pm EDT
- Car bomb near damascus kills 18 rebels take base Associated Press, August 6, 2013