Maksar al-Husan Massacres, Mid-September, 2013

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Islamist rebels in central Homs province launched attacks and raids on at least three Alawi (Alawite) villages, starting on September 9, capturing one of them. In Maskar al-Husan, they massacred a reported 22-30 civilians (plus 7 defending soldiers), ranging from two to 90 years old. Al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra admits to the raids and massacre, justified by the victims' status as Nusayris (enemies of God) whose towns allegedly sponsored attacks on rebel areas. This story, reported by the prominent Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, comes in tandem with an uptick of public executions and other shows of hate for Syria's Alawi community, especially in Islamist-held swathes of northern and eastern Syria.

Location

The SOHR mentions three towns: "Maksar al-Husan, al-Mas'oudiya and Jub al-Jirah" These can be found on Wikimapia: in the center, Jubb al-Jarrah, Mas'Udiya nearby at 11:00, Maksar al-Hesan at 7:00. This area is about 50 kilometers east of Homs city, all just northeast of "Mount Ash Shumariya." This page will not be called the Mount Shumariya massacres, as that would confuse with the planned Shumariyeh Massacre page (also against Alawites)

SOHR Reports

From Syrian Observatory's English Facebook page. September 10:

Homs province: Residents of the Maksar al-Husan village of eastern Reef Homs reported that fighters of al-Nusra front killed 8 A'lawi civilians in an attack on the village, clashes broke out yesterday between al-Nusra front and rebel fighters from one side and regular forces from the other. Regular forces regained control of the village last night, with reports of several casualties from al-Nusra and the death of at least 2 regular soldiers by the clashes.

A summary of the events was posted September 16, 12:38 AM GMT:

Homs province: al-Nusra front acknowledged responsibility over the attack on the villages of Maksar al-Husan, al-Mas'oudiya and Jub al-Jirah in eastern Reef Homs. al-Nusra mentioned in a statement that its fighter prepared to storm "the Nusayri (A'lawi) villages of Maksar al-Husan, Jub al-Jirah and al-Mas'oudiya of eastern Reef Hama. The neighbouring Sunni villages have always been bombarded from these villages and from checkpoints in its surroundings and Sunni residents have been subject to arbitrary detainment". After preparations, a leader made a speech provoking them to kill Nusayris "the enemies of god". Fighters began the attack later at dawn of Tuesday 10/9/2013, they were able to enter the Muksar al-Husan village within an hour of the attack. al-Nusra launched 120mm mortar shells, Grad rockets, 57mm and 23mm artillery shells and domestically manufactured rockets on the Jub al-Jirah village and al-Mas'oudiya town.
It is worth noting that the al-Nusra front along with a rebel battalion took hold of the Maksar al-Husan village for several hours last Tuesday. Activists from the village confirmed that al-Nusra front killed 22 of the village's residents: An 83 year old man and his 75 year old wife. A 45 year-old man, his 89 year-old mother, and his 30 year-old wife. A 65 year-old man. A 40 year old woman and her 2 children (10 and 12 years old). A 22 year-old young man. A 64 year-old man, his 2 children (16 and 20 years old) and his 90 year-old mother. 2 children (9 and 11 years old). 6 Bedouins who live in the neighbourhood (a 69 year-old man, his 18 year-old son and 20 year-old daughter. A 41 year-old man, an 80 year-old man and a 75 year-old woman.
The al-Nusra front mentioned in its statement that "the attack resulted in the death of at least 30 "Nusayris", seizing 10 Kalashnikovs as well as several ammunition, cars and equipment and that the casualties included Colonel Ra'ed al-Hasan. They also stated that the barrier of fear was broken "since it was the first time these villages were stormed and several of its residents killed". At night of last Tuesday violent clashes broke out in the village between regular forces on one side and al-Nusra front and a rebel battalion on the other, regular forces were able to regain control of the village afterwards. Several fighters from al-Nusra front and the rebel battalion were killed by clashes and violent bombardment preceding it. 5 regular soldiers were also killed by the clashes.
* Picture of al-Nusra fighters storming the Maksar al-Husan village.

Attacks continue from nearby: Sept. 15, 11:57 AM:

Homs province: Areas in al-Hola and Qal'et al-Husun town were bombarded by regular forces which led to injuries and house damages. The Mas'oudiya village and Jub al-Jirah town were subject to bombardment with domstically manufactured rockets, which led to several injuries and house damages.

Other Reports

One thing some opposition supporters have pointed out is that there seems to be virtually no reports on this massacre citing anything besides the SOHR. At least one exception is this AP report citing Jabhat al-Nusra's website as admitting to the affair with pride:

AP, Sept. 16: Al-Qaida-linked rebels claim Syria killings

In a statement posted online, Jabhat al-Nusra said that its fighters attacked the predominantly Alawite villages of Maksar al-Hasan, Jab al-Jarrah and al-Massoudiyeh in Homs province on Tuesday. It said they seized Maksar al-Hasan for 10 hours before being forced to withdraw, while the group's artillery destroyed the other two villages.

[...]

It added that the attack aimed to avenge "the lives of Muslim sons and women who were killed in eastern Ghouta," a reference to the suspected chemical attack last month on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus that the rebels and the U.S. blame on the Assad regime.

Another report comes from documents.sy in ususal brevity:

  • September 10: Ahrar al-Sham Movement and al-Nusra Front have seized control of the town of Maksar al-Husan in Homs countryside after heavy battles with Syrian Army; activists also reported a mass exodus from the town.
  • September 16: Al-Nusra Front has adopted the killing of more than 30 people in the villages of al-Masudiah and Maqsar al-Hisan in Homs countryside for sectarian reasons following the rule of “tit-for-tat invasions.”

Al-Nusra is said to claim at least 30 Alawi killed, SOHR confirms 22 villagers killed in Maksar al-Hasan, aged from two to 90, and five security forces members. There's likely more around, especially in Arabic and other languages, we haven't found yet.

CDV

The ever interesting Center for Violations of Documentation database seemed worth checking in this case of a pretty well-established violation of human rights. All civilian martyrs in Homs province, Sept. 9-11, 2013. 10 only. A family of four was field executed by regime thugs Sept. 10 in Metrass (Wikimapia, just outside the valley of the Christians, sounds interesting but not part of this subject). The rest: A boy died by shelling in Ghanto, near Talbiseh. Two men were shelled in Waar, which seems to be in Homs city (?) the 11th, three civilian men shelled Sept. 9 in Talbiseh and Rastan. Nothing is listed for the Maksar al-Husan/Mt. Shumeriyeh area.

Violations against Alawites don't get documented, it almost seems. At least in this, and a few other, cases ...

References