Main Page

From A Closer Look On Syria
Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to A Closer Look On Syria

For a word on our approach and how you can contribute to the project, continue here.

ACLOU: Due to the similarity between the events we usually investigate here and the events leading up to the ousting of Ukrainian President Yanukovic, we have recently taken a closer look on Ukraine.

Chemical Weapons (starting late 2012)

Main article: Category:Chemical Weapons
Chem 4-9 A.png

The latest trend in Syria news are claims and counter-claims about the use of chemical weapons and the red lines they would cross, if confirmed. Our category on this topic covers next to every single incident that was brought to the western media consumers attention, including the one that almost started a world war.

Houla (May 25, 2012)

Main article: The Houla massacre
Ali-Al-Sayed 1.jpg

The murder of around 108 civilians, among them up to 49 children, in the town of Taldou belonging to Houla in Homs province, is maybe the most famous event that happened in Syria in 2012. It was immediately blamed on the government and led to several countries expelling their Syrian ambassadors. Initially attributed to the use of heavy weapons, it quickly turned out that most of the victims were killed by short-distance violence. This led to the blaming of Alawite "Shabiha" militias loyal to Assad. While the UNHRC closed their investigation in mid August stating to be reasonably certain that indeed government loyalists were the perpetrators, a lot of the conflicting evidence collected in our research was either washed away or not considered at all, while contradictions in the testimonies of witnesses backing their conclusion were denied. A central question is who was in control over the area at the time - our attempt to answer this based on all collected evidence can be found here.

Homs Massacres (2011-present)

Main article: Homs Massacres
Homs Districts all labels.png

Although relatively secure by now, the city districts and rural surroundings of Homs were home to some of the most shocking massacres of the Syrian war, especially in early 2012 when rebels had control over most of the city (that was following a short-lived Syrian military withdrawal brokered by the U.N. and Arab Laague). The ongoing ACLOS effort to list and analyze as many massacres as possible, so far includes more than 40, accounting for at least 1,400-1,900 deaths of almost strictly civilians victims. Alleged details are compared with common family names, district demographics, and the usual ACLOS techniques, to establish useable insights. Consider the Khalidiya Massacre of February, 2012, with 138 people killed, rebels said, as family homes were shelled. But the victims were 100% male and 94% adult, pre-segregated just like the prisoners of rebels the other side claimed the victims were. And this one's no fluke; strangely similar patterns repeat over and over in what makes for chilling reading.

Aqrab, near Houla (December 11, 2012)

Main article: Aqrab Massacre
Aqrab Rescue baby.png

With all the remarkable crimes going on, it takes something special to break through the numbness - what about Alawites killing Alawites for a change? Allegedly this is what happened in Aqrab, near Houla, in early December 2012. Some 125-200 or more men, women, and children, were herded together by Alawite "Shabiha" and blown up by them en masse. At least, that's what "activists" said, and it was the same exact ones who brought the Houla story to the world. And then the same reporter who was on the ground in Houla hearing their report comes back and takes a look - with surprising results, at least for some western media outlets. Sunni rebels took the town's Alawites hostage (about 500 of them), bargained some away to freedom (and some spoke to the media), and the rest ... no one knows. Ominously, the last we heard was the rebel story of "Shabiha" blowing them all up. We can see that's not true, and yet the people are just gone.

Featured Article

During the late days of June and the early days of July, 2012, heavy fighting between the Army and what they call "terrorists" took place in Douma town outside of Damascus. According to opposition activists, the army committed a massacre. As usual, the signs are a little more murky than that, and it's all bit ickier than usual.

Ras Al-Ayn (November 8, 2012 - Today)

Main article: Assault on Ras Al-Ayn
Sere kaniye burial.jpg

Ras Al-Ayn, directly at the Turkish border in the north-east, early November 2012: The Kurdish dominated and mostly self-governed town gets assaulted by hundreds of Islamist fighters coming across the border from Turkey, under the eyes and with help of the Turkish military. After typical sectarian assaults on the civilian population, Kurdish militia takes up the fight against the foreigners. In the process of the following weeks, the town sees shelling by both the Syrian and the Turkish army, several defeats of the Islamists with retreat behind the Turkish border, and finally a fragile truce. On January 16, again large groups of foreign fighters with tanks cross the Turkish border and heavy clashes break out. After a month of heavy fighting, another peace agreement is signed on February 17. Five months later, following an Islamist attack on female Kurdish fighters, heavy clashes lead to the final conquer of the border station by the Kurds, which leads to increasing tensions in other parts of the region. As of mid September 2013, hundreds of Islamist fighters are trying to besiege the city while the Kurds are fully mobilizing.

Daraya (August 25, 2012)

Main article: Daraya massacre
Daraya truck 1.jpg

During the army's attempts to re-conquer suburbs of Damascus, reports of massacres in the town of Daraya just outside Damascus started to surface, with a huge number of dead going up to 600 civilians. Several scenes seen in videos of both anti-government and pro-government sources, with one said to show around 150 killed civilians alone, suggest that this was not a single event but the product of several days of struggle over the control of the town. Investigation ongoing.

Tremseh (July 12, 2012)

Main article: Tremseh massacre
Confiscated tunisian passports.jpg

When news of this alleged massacre reached the media, it came with alarming numbers of up to 300 civilians murdered in the small village of Tremseh northwest of Hama. In the following hours and days, both pro- and anti-government sources helped to clear the picture of what is now mostly called the "Battle of Tremseh" between the army and anti-government fighters who had used the village as their base for operations in the region. The real death toll seems to be some civilians caught in the crossfire and a couple of dozen killed anti-government fighters. In addition, many including foreigners were arrested and their arms and equipment confiscated.

Sari Saoud (November 26, 2011)

Main article: The Killing of Sari Saoud
Sari Truck.jpg

An investigation into the death of a young boy killed in broad daylight by sniper fire in Homs. While videos made by anti-government fighters suggested that the murderer was an army sniper, detailed accounts by Sari's mother blame the fighters themselves, accuse them of taking her dead son away from her to make the videos, and suggest that there was no army presence in this part of Homs at that time.

Other research...