Talk:Aqrab Massacre

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Video of Survivors

Most of these are specified as happening in Al-Houla, all on Dec. 11, most posted same day. I'm trying to get a tally of survivors, age, gender, condition, etc. First, the less famous ones (those besides the famous Mohammed Judl/whatever and the big lady, Umm Ayham, clearly blaming Shabiha).

Published Dec. 14. Trans: Scorpion scenes shown for the first time during the rescue civilians wounded children carried by activists, aww, an old woman battered and bloody, looking like a monster - lighting says early-mid morning, cloudy) --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:37, 17 December 2012 (UTC) :: That's from Jalal, it's already in the video timeline below, uploaded Dec 14. Still didn't come around to watch them all to get a bigger picture - and will stay busy at least until tomorrow. --CE (talk) 14:53, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

I thought the title sounded vaguely familiar - second time seen at least, by now. Might as well discuss it here too. I didn't see anything that could set the locale. I'll look at it soon. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:26, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
I should note that it's eminently plausible this scene was filmed during the "warplane shelling" of Dec. 2/3 instead of the events of Dec. 10/11 as advertised. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:34, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

Most others from the lists under "An Alawite family being cared for at a field hospital after a group of Alawite shabiha thugs shot at them after disobeying them in Aqrab village Hula ... Children from an Alawite family being cared for at a field hospital in al-Houla ... An FSA commander in al-Houla promises to care for the wounded children ... etc." from here

trans: 12/11/2012 Alawite sect children in Hula

Frightened boy, teenage (15-ish?): is this the same famous Mohammed, or just pretty similar looking? Injury to groin area. Smoke stains on hands?
Young baby with a light head injury seen, another bandaged, seems okay. Fighters looking like old biker meth heads.

Trans: Very dangerous Shabiha killed trying to escape from the Alawite sect Homs Hula 11 12 2012

Frightened boy from above? White turtleneck shirt. Looks frightened, trying to explain something. Long conversation makes him a likely candidate for the kid quoted by NYT as saying "Man, so what if I was in the Alawite sect?" Burned-looking legs shown, holes in right leg, back calf, back upper/inner thigh. Left leg, apparently shot/shelled as well. Here ... that makes him a dangerous Shabiha who is dead? Some confusion there...

Frightened boy, face-down, “surgery” (from still, didn't watch)

"A 4-year-old child who was wounded in an attack by shabiha thugs with hand grenades, as they meant to kill the Alawite family and blame the FSA" Trans: Hula very small child from the Alawite sect 12/11/2012

The tyke seems kind of dead. No clear movement, large hole in the left side of his head, some blood elsewhere. Surgery is being done, but it seems unlikely his brain is intact anyway.
To the side, sleepy boy (okay nickname?), I think... young teenager, 13/14 or so, injured only in right/back, bandaged, draining tube, poss.abrasion on right side of face. Later seen next to the famous Mohammed, covered in a black and white jacket.

Hula 12/11/2012 trying to reassure children Alawites

By the jacket, sleepy boy. Reassuring consists of the long-haired rebel leader touching his shoulder a lot while preaching to the camera.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4DBBjRi7qY

Trans: Testimony of a woman survivor of the massacre of scorpion 12/11/2012

Middle-aged/older woman, injured, smoke inhalation judging from her nostrils.

Context: December 2nd battle

The Jalal Solomon YouTube channel has uploaded a large number of videos of some December 6th battle. Some of the same videos are linked on this Facebook page. The videos show the Houla Scorpion Brigade taking over some nearby town.

This is amazing, by the way, Petri. I'm out of time now and might never quite absorb all of this, but I'll scan soon. The big gap up to and including the massacre is of course what I'd most like to see. Why in the days preceding this event did fighting and filming cease, as if someone were preparing for something? And why are the key events themselves (apparently?) included entirely in the blank spot? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:57, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

YouTube playlist: Aqrab Massacre.

December 2nd

Attack on government security HQ / checkpoint just outside Aqrab, next to what may by the local Baath party office. The location is on the road leading east north-east, over the bridge. Google Maps Wikimapia also has the marked by a small triangle. The text reads "تمركز الدبابات الحاجز الشرقي (Aqrab) حاجز للجيش والشبيحه", which Google translates to "Stationing tanks eastern barrier (Aqrab) An army checkpoint and Shabiha" – or with little tweaking – to "Tanks stationed at the eastern checkpoint".

Uploaded December 6th
Tank taken to Houla
Yes, the northernmost town is Tal Dahab. I think Tal means valley, maybe. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:49, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

December 3rd

Daoud Family killed

A man, a woman, and two boys from the same family (relation unclear) are listed as killed in "warplane shelling." The adult male is also listed dying from regime sniper. (see [Talk:Aqrab Massacre#Daoud|below])

Funerals
People fleeing
I just ran across these two (alt postings 1 and 2). I was getting ready to place them in Aqrab, from the mention. You (Petri) placed it in northern Tal Dahab, huh? Actually looks like a pretty good fit. These will not then be our Alawites, apparently shuffled only a few blocks east into the big red house. Some reason to evacuate others? Or just mobilizing family to support their claim of mass bombing those two days?--Caustic Logic (talk) 12:04, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
Great. Was looking for it as well but didn't look THAT far away. It's almost in Rastan. Huge indeed. Finished in 2001. The main building of the school in Akrad Ibrahim was build after 2004. Every little village there has at least one school of that type. People in most parts of the world could only dream of such an infrastructure development. And now? Allahu Akbar! :o( --CE (talk) 14:17, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
Cool. It's as big as all of Aqreb, and yeah, just north of Rastan. From the video, we can say which town this is - Aqrab or Akrab/d Ibrahim. It's Aqrab, I think, by how the thinner back stacks line up between the southern big stacks, instead of more between the northern two. Right? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:18, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
January 2014: Syrian Perspective reports on some battle at the Al-Zaara Thermal Power Plant. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:03, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
More bombing?

December 5

  • Rebel combatant Jihad Abed al-Rahman Bakkour, FSA, aged 35, listed as dying this day, from lack of medical care after being wounded in "the liberation of Aqrab checkpoint battle."

December 6th

December 10th

Visually, this (on GM) is the best intersection to explain this video.But that makes them looking south at 0:36, where it seems you're looking NW to the setting sun, or NE to the rising one. Thoughts? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:12, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
A rebel at guard at Aqrab southern checkpoint, shot from distance with high power sniper rifle. (See #Daoud below.) The wall behind the chair has graffiti, Could be the same slogan "From here throughout history the Free Army" seen in "Shomaliya". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:30, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for these, CE. RC visit incorporated up front now. The Islamist ambush/IED video, creepy at least, perhaps related. Area unclear. I have a location ID on the last, fairly sure. dead-centered here on Google Maps, view to the north. The left side of the street isn't a clear match, but there's foreshortening and the right side is right on - red building and features, wall, outbuilding, foreground rocks and shrubs at the bend (no need to re-watch and double-check). According to GM, this is barely inside city limits, on the entrance from Al-Houla. Not much of a guard if that's what he was, and Houla rebels were supposed to be in charge by then. I cannot say what would leave his head/face skin all hanging like that, but I don't think it was guns. There's a big splash of blood up the wall behind him - upward stroke from a close-range sharp weapon is my guess, right-handed assailant approached from about the cameraman's direction here. Probably not the weapon, but something metal in a pair, garden shears perhaps, seem to be weighing down the blanket to keep it from blowing away. They're not bloody shears, if so. He apparently wasn't covered before they do so here. The blanket immediately soaks through with his blood. He was killed very shortly before this rebel video. All bad signs. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:43, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Dec. 10 is clearly the big day here, as it's the one setting up the alleged massacre that night. Possible scenario: Government gets Red Crescent up to Aqrab, some agreement reached for the rebels to let them document the hostages, to hopefully see why they must now be freed by any means. Unknown happens, Red Crescent team comes back out sad-looking, perhaps getting it now. Later that day, army and popular committees types come in, prepared to storm the rebels if necessary. One of the busses is blown up, the operation cancelled. The rebels get the idea to say the Alawites were blown up, kill the hostages to spite the gov. toss the blown up Shabiha in as proof, in videos never released. Or, just said they were blown up, as a threat that they could kill them anytime now, followed by harder bargaining. The ambush video above, if real, is a big clue. I left a new comment there. The irony is the comment I'm responding to here, the one starting "GodBlessFSA..." In case pulled:

Ooh, the irony... the Houla-Aqrab rebels were holding 200 Alawites (yes, incl. kids) hostage at the time of this nearby video. App. talks broke down (there were 500 at one point). These attackers might have been coming to rescue the hostages. Kabooom! Later that night, Dec. 10, "regime/Shabiha" killers finally blew all the prisoners, rebels said with total lies. Go read up a bit and see the awful truth.
Or do I get deleted? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:03, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

Dated Dec. 10, women and children pose awkwardly in a field, out of fear of bombing. They aren't living or doing anything there, it seems, just posing for a moment. Might be able to locate it. Might've been set up for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (also trying to place their parked location) --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:53, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

I've been trying to locate where this was filmed. From all clues, terrain distant mountains at 12:00 and 1:00), field character, town layout, this video has to be looking south over the fields on an E-W alley in the southwest of town. IF it's filmed in Aqrab at all. The utility poles would have to have been moved to the other side of the road, but the spot dead-centered here is the closest match I can find. I don't think this explains it, but maybe. It is consistent in some ways, but I can almost't say if this spot doesn't work, it must have been filmed filmed somewhere else, presumablt in Houla, possibly Baarin. Not the best use of 2/3 of a night, but ... --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:28, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
I do not think the spot matches. You should look for the trees. There are very few trees around Houla. On place is the complex around the Aqrab eastern checkpoint. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:46, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Trying to figure out the cardinal directions. In Houla the field strips are generally in an north-south direction. The buildings always follow this direction. Roads on the other hand do not follow these directions. Usually a line of buildings are built on a strip owned by one owner. Sometimes the neighboring strip is also built up. When this happens an alley is formed between the two rows of buildings. I suspect the road we see might be one of the small alleys. The building to the left of the alley seems to be perfectly aligned to the road. Father away the road does not seem to follow a straight line. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:25, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Or maybe I am wrong, the field has been plowed transverse to the road. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:33, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

December 11th

Massacre?

Aftermath

December 12th

both via hassan husein --CE (talk) 13:18, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

uploaded December 14th ff (by Jalal)

Note: Added up-front. Does that old lady look to anyone else a little like someone from the lesser rubble of a blown-up building? I noted that up-front, but it was premature. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:53, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
About 80% of the people seen in the video are armed rebels. Not a healthy place for a small child or the old woman. Armed men act as shrapnel magnets, drawing in artillery fire. It may be, that these civilians are in fact hostages (or human shields). I see no other reason for them to stay in the vicinity of the fighters. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:59, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
I think I noted this somewhere on these two pages, but wanted to put it right here: this video may well be from the earlier takeover of Aqrab when people were blasted and burnt out of their homes. If so, it was just held back until the 14th, in case there was controversy, which there was by exactly then. Having this video of injured people coming out of the rubble might be part of why they decided to claim the Alawites were blown up in a building - here rebels are saving a few. But really maybe this is the nicer half of their initial re-location, and after filming this baby and old woman were probably taken to the hostage place or straight to Houla, and killed thereafter. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:26, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Other News Reports

uncertainty still remains as to what happened in Aqrab. ... (initial stories vs. Thomson's report) ... The rebels supposedly wished to use the Alawites as human shields in the nearby town of Houla, which was the site of the massacre of 108 Sunni civilians by shabiha. ... Before assessing the validity of Thomson's account, it should first be noted that those who wish to malign him as having an axe to grind are wrong. Thomson has simply reported what his interviewees told him, and nothing more.
However, it is apparent that Thomson's account of the events in Aqrab is not the first of its kind. At the same time as the New York Times report came out, the pro-regime propaganda site SyriaTruth, which has previously purported to expose me as an Israeli spy in Iraqi Kurdistan, released a 'preliminary' article -- drawing on information 'exclusive' to SyriaTruth -- that matches a number of details in Thomson's report. For example, one of Thomson's witnesses claims that the rebels who took the Alawites hostage were not Syrian Arabs. SyriaTruth's purported sources claim the same thing, identifying them as 500 men of Turkmen, Lebanese, other Arab and non-Arab origin. Both accounts also identify the fighters as being from Houla (SyriaTruth does not mention Rastan).'
(matches are seen as supicious)
Crucially, however, SyriaTruth goes further in vouching for the existence of a massacre, giving a figure of 180-210 Alawites killed, along with some 20 Sunnis who tried to defend them from the rebel attack on Aqrab. Another pro-regime site -- Shukumaku, which is much less widely read than SyriaTruth -- in a report on 12 December, puts the total number of those massacred at 235, among them 88 women and children (SyriaTruth gives a figure of roughly 90). Like SyriaTruth, Shukumaku claims the attack was the work of foreign militants, of the 'takfiri' type.
(Shukumaku would be the source perhaps for Presna Latina's report)
Yet as Thomson noted in a subsequent blog post at Channel 4, neither side has produced any strong evidence for the existence of a massacre in Aqrab.
(or aginst, for that matter... and it was the rebels who claimed a massacre so dramatically and THEY clearly lied, because the house is standing.
On balance, therefore, it seems more likely that Aqrab was a case of a mass hostage taking of Alawites by the rebels, rather than the shabiha. However, it is unlikely the perpetrators were foreign jihadists, and there is no decisive evidence that attests to there being an actual massacre, but the hostage crisis probably prompted all of Aqrab's Alawites to flee.
(so both sides are lying, apparently and we'll never know what happened to the missing people and quit supporting the "regime"!)
There were no reports on Syria's state media....
An Alawite resident of a nearby village said the violence began in Aqrab when rebels attacked a checkpoint run by pro-Assad militiamen, known as shabbiha. "We don't believe there was a massacre but we think there are a number of hostages being held. Clashes began when rebels started shelling the shabbiha checkpoint," he said by Skype. "But now the phone lines seem to be down in Aqrab so that's all we know."
A rebel who said he fought in Aqrab told Reuters that fighters had surrounded a house with more than 200 people because shabbiha were there. The militiamen had used women and children as human shields and the house had been shelled by Assad's forces, he said, without explaining why they would attack their own side.
Wounded children, apparently Alawites from Aqrab, appeared at an opposition field hospital in the nearby town of al-Houla, where they were interviewed by rebels in videos published on YouTube. Three young boys gave a similar account as the rebel, but did not say whether they were hiding in the house fearing government shelling or rebel attack.
"We were inside the house with shabbiha, they said they were protecting us from the rebels. The rebels started telling us come out, no one will hurt you. The shabbiha wouldn't let us leave," said Mohamed Judl, a young boy covered in a blanket, shivering as he was interviewed by an activist at the clinic. It was not clear whether the boy was speaking freely.
Others in the opposition blamed Assad's forces for the attack, which they said involved the shelling of a house in which at least 200 Alawites were hiding.
A rebel who spoke to Reuters by telephone said fighters had clashed for four days with the army in Aqrab, some 30 km (20 miles) north of Syria's third city of Homs. Rebels had surrounded one building and accused pro-Assad militias, known as shabbiha, of using residents hiding there as human shields.
"There were 200 people inside and we called on the residents to leave, but the shabbiha held some women and children by gunpoint. Eventually talks fell apart and the government shelled the building," said the rebel, who called himself Maysar.
Skimming Arabic reports; a few were pointless, but this one looks good. Translating. A previous investigation they did, and the later Channel 4 report highlighted as having "reached almost similar results as stated in our investigation here." Valuable bits later. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:46, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

Note: "Sundial" here, otherwise translating Scorpion, means Aqrab. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:05, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

They cite "investigation sources: contacts with local activists of the Hama region." There were tensions and violence, but even without army help, just mediation and self-defense, it was managed. A Sunni village of Baran is mentioned (?? - Baarin, 5 km west on Google Maps, "terrain" function I swear I never noticed, how handy! --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:05, 18 June 2013 (UTC)) as the one with friction with Aqrab(scorpion/sundial). Intermarriage exists, but minimal, as with business interaction. "It has got many cases where people were killed Alawite civilians on that road." "all reports and videos did not address the phases before and after the existence of the Alawite families in detention or blockade. ... The armed groups belonging to the opposition announced before the massacre a few days, specifically on 6 / December, announced the "liberation of village Aqrab." (completion of?) The attack: "targeted the People's Committees barrier (according to official label and shabeeha according opposition label) note that the popular committees comprising citizens of Sundial Alawites and Sunnis."
The people of Sundial has resisted considerable pressure to join the insurgents, as they resisted considerable pressure also asked them to expel the Alawites in the same hand are several families of nearly a thousand people, and the largest of these families are family "الجبيلي". (el-zhubeelay) ...gunmen attacked the homes of Alawites who were gathered in a specific area to facilitate their protection and for fear of being kidnapped, and gunmen surrounded the place, and asked the men to get out of the building, with a view to the families of women and children. ... they started to slaughter a number of detainees Alawites, as well as a number of Sunnis who tried to mediate or objected to the sectarian killings, said one of the sons region said a lawyer from the village contact colleagues from neighboring villages...
The suicide story I've dismissed is mentioned here: "The Alawites heard that militants want to "captivity" of women and children for purposes unknown, and there are some of them preferred death to happen. And discussed the mass suicide in order not to fall, but the gunmen their knowledge بالأهوال, the atrocities committed against located hands of Alawites. " (?? بالأهوال والفظائع التي يرتكبونها بحق من يقع بأيديهم من العلويين.) "According to the activist, in a telephone conversation with him, that he "wants to convey the view to international human rights organizations, which accused it derives its information from sources loyal to the opposition of any entity involved in the murder, and do not bother investigating information from sources eligibility local any of the dead man, who minted the same system what happened to him, as silent and media from all sides, because the victims today Alawites ... According to the activist, the fields in the region, "there are estimates varying that (400-500) a person of Alawites (especially of the family الجبيلي) and the Sunnis, who refused to join the sectarian violence, killed or kidnapped in the incident scorpion., And there are blackout suspiciously by various media about the incident." "People wonder, especially from the families of the victims, "Why did not issue any positions by Crescent organizations and the International Red Cross and any other organizations for sectarian killings of unarmed civilians." Says an activist from the same area "Whoever wants to know more facts for him to come and meet with survivors of the massacre and fugitives from the village who have been displaced to village (Altaonh) adjacent to the village of scorpion." --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:29, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Timeline

Timeline of reports Al Jazeera reported on what almost surely must be this story in a tweet of 9:51 AM (someone's time) on Dec. 11, as translated, "147 people have been killed in Homs today, most in the town of Aqrab." Then at 21:30 whoever's time, 12 hours later, they passed on this: "Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said that though the explosions have not been independently verified, 125 people have reportedly been injured or killed on Tuesday. "It's a remote area and it's late in the night," she said." And then sometime on that day, the series of tweets by Amin gathered at Enduring America, "that tell a confused tale from her own sources." By these, the LCC was confirming the attack, as EA said they never did, and their site doesn't confirm it.

Initial reports from opposition groups said it was due to govt shelling,yet most of those killed incl women and children r Allawites #Syria
LCC says 6 killed in #Aqrab,Hama...due to govt shelling, other activist say a car bomb exploded in #Aqrab killing at least 78 people #Syria
Now LCC says the pro govt shabiha had taken about 300 people hostage to protect themselves from an imminent attack from the FSA #syria
later they killed some 6 people who were trying to mediate the release of hostages and attacked the hostages #Syria
(the same six already listed as killed by shelling?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:03, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Why no Videos of the Dead?

As widely cited, and used to dismiss the whole massacre, there is no video proof of these 150-200+ dead women and children. The bodies would not all be out of reach, eben if there really was rubble involved. All the survivors we've been hearing about were taken into care and trucked to Al-Houla. The rebels always blame the government and always show the bloody proof. so if there is none... One reasonable explanation is because there were no bodies. I'm not totally convinced it happened, and not yet clear how badly no massacre contradicts the alleged witnesses (it contradicts the rebel fighters and numerous people telling the SOHR different versions of how they all died). However, what if there were bodies, either not filmed or the videos somehow held back. It's posible, but unusual. Why in this case? The reason would be clear; it's the worst-looking massacre yet for them. Would you want dead baby pictures attached to a crime it looks like you did? No. So would the lack of video then suggest they don't believe their own story? Or just the frame-up was expected to be effective enough it wouldn't be wise to add to the emotion this time? Or, was there simply no such event? Why were local rebels saying there was, but the LCC refusingto corroborate? Etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:43, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Sorry if this is redundant, but I followed the link on some Dec. 10 building damage videos (posted at Enduring America) to this channel. Aqrapa. Seems to be a local, filming daily: damage and dead people Dec. 8, nothing Dec. 9, damage Dec. 10 and Dec. 12, nothing filmed at all for the dramatic events of Dec. 11, and no dead seen after the 8th. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:34, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

A Dead Child?

Aqrab victim Amal.png
Aside from sheikh Ali Omar, there might be one other exception to the rule of no dead shown. SCDV listing for Amal Firas al-Qadi, girl, age 6, Houla, Homs, Dec. 10 “martyred due to the heavy artillery shelling of the city.” There's a video, described as Dec. 10, posted Dec. 9. She does not look like a shelling victim. Instead of numerous injuries all over and concrete dust, she has one injury - a split open skull, as likely a hatchet as fragments (censored for the inset). Her clothes look a bit dingy, like someone held some time somewhere where you can't do laundry. Her face is gray with what looks like smoke stains. These suggest she was in the hostage house with the burning tires like the survivors, but instead, her head was whacked open, earlier than the main reported massacre. Then laundered as a Houla shelling victim. Circumstantial case, but there it is. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:11, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
later addition - uncensored still
Yes, whacked open. This is no bombing or artillery damage. (Did not really look. The only thing I am still sensitive to is children with open heads or missing brains.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:17, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
This is not the worst one that way. It looks odd, in fact, like a slapped-on gashed-head prosthetic, and her head's structurally the right shape. But I'm sure it's legit. As for her death locale, I suspect laundered. And name, might also be laundered. There's at least one rebel fighter of the family name Qadi killed there June 1, 2013. Maybe a rebel involved "adopted" this one for visual impact and took her home to Houla, retro-active human shield, already martyred to make them look good. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:58, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Looking more closely, it's not so weird-looking, Some slice of skull at the wrong angle, top half-open. Cleaned-up inset at right. No one should watch this video, but I want them to see her smoke-stained little face. The day's not right, but maybe there was more than one day. Held for over a week they were -even the 9th would be day #8. Consider the last part of the section right above this on activist videos - two days have none, Dec. 9 and 11 the cameraman was sent away. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:11, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Did not study the video closely enough. There is cut right through her head and a strip of scull bone visible below the cut. Is the scull also sliced open?
Also of interest is the question if the scull was sliced before or after death. In many Syria massacres we see horrendous cuts on sculls and faces. It is possible that they were enacted post mortem, maybe to desecrate the bodies. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:55, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Yep, up too high, open a few inches. Yes also on post-mortem hacking. Also to horror-ize the scene for the responsibility-to-shock corollary of the R2P doctrine. OTH, no other clear sign of death. Suffocated maybe? (the smoke was to suffocate partly) Or killed by this? Can't know, probably matters little. A skull was hacked open, and either way it's wrong. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:09, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm coming back to this issue briefly. Why have I been so weak on this point? This is probably an Aqrab massacre victim, 6-year-old girl with her head sliced open. Shit. Why am I not letting people know that? Working on a little piece for the CIWCL site, a bit of research on the way. I looked into social media reflections for this video to narrow down the timeline. Doesn't help much. This was uploaded apparently late on the 9th, GMT time I think, so likely early (12-2:30 am) on the 10th Syria time - date of death given as Dec. 10. Facebook only starts showing postings I can find early on the 10th my time, later for almost everyone else. Even Twitter - which has many repeats of the link - only has the first at 12:58 am, my time (LCCSyria at 12:59, others at1:00,1:01, 1:01, etc.), so about 9 am GMT. So it must have sat on Youtube at least nine hours before anyone was tweeting about it? That first message is by "groupsyria" and says (translated): "Martyr Amal Firas al-Qadi cited (?) during the bombing of the Hula defender (Bmdaaf) 130." If that means anything interesting, I hope we learn what that is soon. A couple requests in. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:57, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Akrad Ibrahim

Prensa Latina Syrian Residents Blame Mercenaries for the Massacre in Akrab Town
The massacre did not happen in Akrab, but in Akrad Ibrahim village, about five kilometers away. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:44, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Where did Thomson go then? Will follow up on this - so far that's the odd man out. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
This page says that Akrad Ibrahim is located at 34° 58' 0" North, 36° 27' 0" East – five kilometers north of Akrab. There is nothing at that spot, but there is a small village 2,5 km north of Akrab. In two videos we see people pointing that way. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:04, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Prensa Latina says: Arab mercenaries of various nationalities took control of the Syrian Army checkpoint a week ago, located between Akrab and Houla. The checkpoint is in fact between Akrab and Akrad Ibrahim village. It may be, that Akrab is Sunni and has been in opposition hands for some time. The geography is similar to other parts of Houla. Allawite villages on the hills look different. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:39, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Akrad Ibrahim (أكراد ابراهيم, translated back to "Kurdish Ibrahim") on wikimapia. That's a fascinating article from Prensa Latina. There's one very dominant building in that little spot (don't even have to describe where, I guess), and it looks very much like a school. --CE (talk) 15:51, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
I finally figured out how to access and copy Arabic language place names on Google Earth: Here is the link. You are right about the translation. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:58, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
Searching for the Arabic name on google brought me to this facebook announcement from the "Hama Coordinators Union". Auto-translate shows that it's from Dec 9, talking of "gangs of Arabs" (likely meaning non-Syrians) who are looting and abducting in and/or west of the (in quotes) "Kurdish" village of Sunni majority and Kurdish minority. No mention of Alawites. They expect a massacre somehow: "We ask all press full speed before the massacre against our shows and our brothers and children in the besieged village of Kurds Ibrahim left villages in support of al-Asadi of the offender" Maybe something like "we ask our brothers and sisters in villages supporting Assad to leave before the offenders show up and do like they did in Akrad Ibrahim"? --CE (talk) 16:44, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
WTF, the above was what "microsofttranslator.com" made of that text. Ran it through Google Translate and that gives "Gangs of Arabs" as "Shabiha Gangs"! Very strange. The last sentence now sounds like the upper villages surrounding Akrad Ibrahim are Assad supporters and the announcement calls for help against them (and the guys from Houla following the call?)
Note that the village of "Kurds Ibrahim" top-majority Sunni and Kurdish minority is located north of the village of scorpion 7 km and is surrounded by the upper villages following: "Qvelon - Humairi - short Der encompassed - Crdoman - Baran ..."That stand with Asadi system in killings, kidnappings and we Alchbih from everyone spreading the word as quickly as before for massacre against Oaradhana and our brothers and our children in the village of Kurdish Ibrahim besieged villages upper supporting Asadi criminal system.
Great, now we even have politicized auto-translators telling different stories... ;o) --CE (talk) 16:57, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Another mentioning in a post on a Qatari forum from Dec 10 - Same names as in the facebook message announced as kidnapped: Families of Mohammad Najjar and Ahmed Najjar, apparently by Alawites, or they are Alawites themselves. Calls for help - and to inform international media, Sheikh Ali in Aqrab can confirm the news - to prevent a massacre. --CE (talk) 17:15, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

I am starting to think Aqrab may be mainly Sunni and may have been in "opposition" hands for some time – except of course for the checkpoint outside town. Jalal's video, Hula saw a scorpion battle full 2 ​​12 does not show any fighting in the town itself. Also, looking at Google maps, Aqrab is typical lowland Sunni land, different from the rocky highlands of Akrad Ibrahim. Sunnis seem to practice open field farming whereas the Allawites have closed fields. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:04, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Belated comments. This is an interesting angle. The PL report has numbers of dead, implication it was mostly the men (other things suggest that), a different scene, a different building that maybe was blown up. There's the Kurdish link in the town name and the prisoners, so I didn't yet give that its due in "location" up-front. Their sources said rebels did it and it was blown up. One of Thomson's witnesses did. The second town might hold the missing link, depending. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:02, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Looks like I got this part right! Quoting Alex Thomson: "A low-rise, densely packed town of 9,000 Sunni and 2,000 Alawites." -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:47, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Official Response

CE says, and thanks:

SANA has a rudimentary item today saying (in total) "A military source in the Central Region on Wednesday denied news claiming that a massacre took place in Aqrab in Hama countryside.". The guy from SyrPer also claims it's completely made up. documents.sy only quotes an "Al Hatay" newspaper based in London citing other news outlets.

It's my opinion that that statement of nothing to see is suspiciously terse. It's been said this was a regime crime meant to frame the FSA, and they're trying to say nothing at all (except suspicious denials?) that could be seen as propaganda, accusing "terroists" of anything. (BTW I've long felt they should change over to "activists." "Despite what they say, it was the armed activists who today stormed a pre-school with machetes..."). There's too much saying this happened, and I can't see why the rebels would fake THAT. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:36, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Syrian Perspectives might know people who know the line and he then toes it. The line may well change within a few days, and it may not. Reading it, he might just be inferring from the fake witnesses (plus the official denial, of course), that everything is fake, as he pretty much says. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:36, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

I didn't mean to imply that there is necessarily weight to what he says, but he's kind of "official" in some weird way. Reminds me of good old comical Ali sometimes, although he may be closer to the truth sometimes. Half the time for sure he's bullshitting or trolling (demanding that Assad finally blows up those Dams in Turkey n'stuff). And as you predicted he already changed his line - latest piece is far from "everything fake". But likely equally useless. --CE (talk) 23:55, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
[cut Akrad Ibrahim discussion from here --CE (talk) 17:21, 13 December 2012 (UTC)]

We also need to consider how hoarse the Syrians have gotten saying the same thing so many times. Every time little kids get massacred and rebels hold all the evidence, everyone waits for the silly part where "the regime" blames"terrorists." For once, it's this clear what happened. There might be a softpower to saying, basically, "hey, you guys figure it out. Whaddyou think?" That's not quite compatible with "there was no massacre." That's more like passive agressive reverse-psychology. "Alawites, never happier! We're all good, thanks! (a******s)"--Caustic Logic (talk) 12:55, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Antiwar.com: Hundreds Reported Slain in Attack on Syrian Alawite Village -- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:20, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
NYT: Members of Assad’s Sect Blamed in Syria Killings Links to a video the BBC shot of the boy seems to be from. AlHoula Samer. --CE (talk) 13:49, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Same video with english language description...
Eyewitness testimony of what happened in Aqrab, Hama on Tuesday December 11th, 2012: The"FSA" surrounded a building belonging to regime loyalists in Aqrab village, which was occupied by regime forces who had taken women and children (mostly Allawite) captive to use them as human shields to protect themselves from attack by the FSA. After this, a group of eight senior figures in the village, including Sheikh Ali Al-Omar Sheikh Saa'do Hamash and retired Colonel Shaker Akkash went to negotiate the release of the women and children, and to ask the regime forces to turn themselves in, promising their safety. These community leaders were kidnapped, however, in an attempt to pressurisee the FSA, which retreated from the building as instructed. Immediately after this, the regime shabiha killed all eight of the negotiators and fled, throwing hand grenades into the building still housing the women and children as they attempted to escape in an attempt to frame the FSA for the despicable attack. Regime forces also fired missiles and ordered air strikes on the building, destroying it completely and killing almost all of the 200 - 250 civilians (including women and children) inside. Some people survived the massacre and verified this report. This is the testimony of one of the children who escaped: (12-11-12) Alhoula Homs Syria l Alawite Children Describe how Regime Thugs Held them captive as Human shields vs FSA
...and the boy in a third scene with a cute little baby for more emotions thrown in. Astonishing lack of evidence for hundreds of victims so far. --CE (talk) 15:32, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Here's the transcript of a TV report, apparently Syrian "pro-regime", but it's next to useless in auto-translate. One big clan detained for 12 days, then the Farouk brigade who controls everything shelled the house and killed them all, or something. Could be complete BS. --CE (talk) 18:16, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

A good add. I'll try to getthe main parts semi-translated soon. It starts out saying rebels slaughtered people, but then makes clear no one really knows what happened after the people they spoke to escaped and ran into the night. To "التاعونة" which has a pin, here, quite close (shoula have waited on the map). --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:11, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
A big report. I managed to scrape enough useful translations it's well worth citing and adding. Especially the last part, as summarized above. Forthcoming. In the meantime, see the image from there I just uploaded.
Aqrab alkhabar 1.png

Same two women in the center and left are visible in Channel 4's report, 3:37. Must be close friends or possibly sisters. Also working Al-Mayadeen subtitle transcriptions. Some good info there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:59, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

alkhabar-ts.com, run from Canada, most viewed in Czech Republic, says this page. Seems pretty obscure. Can't get an easy reading what it purports to be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:12, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
It's a privately run Syrian TV Channel, apparently quite new and with secular agenda. Here the "about us" page translated. It airs over Nilesat. Nice work on the content! --CE (talk) 14:42, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Found an interesting site, "Enduring America" - quite impressive live coverage going on. Tuesday they dealt with Aqrab and they have one advantage over us: Translators. Here today's conclusion after two days. Follow the first link in the article for the live research they did on Tuesday (including some translations of Jalal's videos). --CE (talk) 18:50, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Like everyone else, EA may be mixing up the places: a few shelling victims in (Sunni?) Aqrab, possible massacre in Akrad Ibrahim. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:13, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
We're coming around on that. It's a valuable resource, EA, politics...well, they deal in evidence, allow and respond to my comments, so it's cool. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:11, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Child survivors

  • Not sure if Thomson really was in Aqrab. He says "this report is only from people Channel 4 News has spoken to both in and near to Aqrab itself", which could mean someone else, and by Skype. SANA has a rudimentary item today saying (in total) "A military source in the Central Region on Wednesday denied news claiming that a massacre took place in Aqrab in Hama countryside.". The guy from SyrPer also claims it's completely made up. documents.sy only quotes an "Al Hatay" newspaper based in London citing other news outlets. --CE (talk) 20:28, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Alawite from Aqrab or Sunni from Taldou?
Yes, this is "Jalal Solomon" (جلال سليمان) from the Houla Media Office. The channel now has 360 uploaded videos. There are a large number of battle and rebel videos from the last two weeks, many from a place called Scorpion.
This older one has an ironic title: Hula Free Army prepares to defend civilians 9-11 I have been following this machine gun for some time now, it seems to be from one of the ARC:s in front of the sequrity HQ. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:04, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed the references to "Scorpion" as well. It's Jalal for sure, found it on his channel after all. Question is if it's the same boy. Even without having seen the video the BBC is referring to, I think it quite definitely is. What do you guys think? --CE (talk) 23:16, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not even looking at videos yet, but sounds like the same boy from what you guys say. Actual informed opinion later. They're saying it's all made up? By the rebels? ?? Trying too hard to not make propaganda out of it as they're alleged to have intended? Thomson sais "in and near" the town. He goes places like that, and spoke to locals, so my impression is he went. "Scorpion" appears as a victims on the DCHRS Houla massacre victims list. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:47, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
The head of the new puppet show called for the alawites to rise up today (besides calling on the US to re-think their terrorist filing of Al-Nusra, which of course isn't mentioned in that rag ;o)], so that would fit with your mentioned - maybe propaganda manufactured - Alawite uprising. Thomson - I doubt he was in Syria lately, but looking at context at blog and/or twitter (if he does that) should help clarify. --CE (talk) 23:54, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I have exchanged tweets with @alextomo (alex thomson) on Twitter. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:11, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Great! Context definitely tells that he really is in Syria again. Just wanted to double-check that as the article isn't clear. Kudos to him. --CE (talk) 00:25, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Re: "What do you guys think?" – What I think is not fit to print.
I have long since stopped following any "main stream" Western news channels. Propaganda works on at least six different levels, from the intellectual to the emotional. Even if you have defenses against most of them, some little lie will sneak through.
Quoting BBC: "pro-government militiamen besieged by rebels had blown up a building in the village where they had been holding the civilians hostage, and it had then been bombed by warplanes."
There are ethical norms in journalism, that govern what lies are fit to print. The BBC editors who published this should be hung from the gallows on Fleet Street have their heads examined. This is so absurd, that I cannot be bothered with any of today's details.
What I really think is this: When Syria is finished these terrorist will move to Russia. It is thus in Russia's vital national interest to defend Syria. The red line is in any direct military intervention. If NATO initiates any attack or "no-fly-zone" – without a UN mandate – Russia will respond by sinking the nearest NATO aircraft carrier, with nuclear armed missiles or torpedoes if necessary. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:02, 13 December 2012 (UTC) –– P.S. – SyrPer seems to agree. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:00, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
P.S. – I went ahead and read the crap on BBC – how can any news organization sink this low? They are repeating "activist" claims as fact or as plausible fact. From the "contradictory reports" received by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights they selectively choose and pick the snippets that fit their narrative. Do they really believe in this?
Even if this was true, it is unverified and biased – not fit to print by any news organization. I took a Freeze Page of the crap. I think someone should file a complaint with the British Press Complaints Commission.
(Is the web site of the BBC outside the self-regulation of the Press Complaints Commission? Broadcasts are regulated by Ofcom .) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:23, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Here is another video: Hula scorpion 11-12 certificates children survivors of the massacre – (should be translated: Houla Aqrab December 11th, testimonies of child survivors of the massacre.) Facebook comments here. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:38, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Is this the same Salafist guy who is doing the interview, and saving children? here and here -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:27, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Three more videos here. Uploaded by Hula proud. There is plenty of relevant footage there, like this one: Hula 12/10/2012 child wounded after bombing al-Asadi of the city -- Petri Krohn (talk)

More testimony: Certificate or Ayham after leaving the safety of the hands of Shabiha -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:35, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Can I just start a new spot and ask a perhaps stupid question? What's the thing with this boy? How do we know he's supposed to be a Sunni from Houla in one spot and an Alawite in the other? Both videos are from the same recent events, right? I'm barely looking at videos now. Some aren't playing on Youtube, but strangely they convert. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:43, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
We did not know that our friends from Taldou are directly involved in this. That's the relevance: Jalal our Taldou ambassador interviewed the kid which also ended up illustrating the BBC article. The question was just me speculating what it could mean. Petri has now shown us below that the events are closely connected - will look at that later and try to make sense of it. --CE (talk) 11:50, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
I was asking the same question. But as CE says, the fact that we have Jalal speaking for both sets of victims is big news. As Oscar Wilde said: "To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." Misfortune or not, it cast a shadow over BOTH massacre stories.
Note by the way, that we have one Eric the Red at both massacre sites. There are other rebels we may recognize. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:06, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

The Jubeili Family Angle

Victims from one big family

There's a french guy on twitter who runs a restaurant in Damascus and says he has an employee who has family in Aqrab and says the Alawite victims (or at least many of them) belonged to a large family called Jbeili. --CE (talk) 18:03, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

The boy in the videos is called Mohamed Judl. Jubeili=Judl? Could be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:36, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
Family name in Arabic: الجبيلي- no deaths reported from this family name in SCDV. one missing: Firas Ali, Lattakia, missing Feb. 20, 2013. Also, four detained, a boy (age 11) from Tartous (released five days later), three men from Halfaya, none in our time frame. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:47, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Confirmed: Alkhabar Telesite (Syria) heard that around 300 members of the Jubeili family comprised the bulk of the 500 prisoners. The translation I got was wonky - perhaps there was a loud threat (bullhorn?) against the Jubeili family (something about coming, like to get you?) heard with/around/after dawn prayers (on the 2nd?). Already incorporated on the front-page. Good early catch, P. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:47, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Did I get mixed-up who said that? Oops. Good catch, CE. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:33, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

A comment at this post at Syria Comment mentions this family, with yet another quite different name.

As for Aqrab massacre, the details that leaked from survivors and were posted by locals clearly show that the bloodbath in Aqrab was the work of rebels inspired by a local sheikh who warned the Jnaidyyas (a family of 300) after alfajr prayer that their day has come, that massacre left regime media speechless because it clearly shows:
1. the regime could not protect minorities in areas with a sunni majority
2. the claim that there is no civil war in Syria is a lie
To most, Aqrab massacre is a final reminder that rebels with guns can not and should not be trusted. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:33, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

The Guilty Shabiha: Jubeili Men

Tafas Coordination Committee, December 11, 2012 at 6 :54 PM, had a detailed account on Facebook (in Arabic), with a different summary also here. Citing both below, will be source "TC". Tafas is nowhere near Aqrab, and it's mostly based on citing the big lady with the 14:00 interview with lots of details, Umm Ayham, who everyone cites (srr the Hasan Hassan, The National, all the most shrill opposition sources, etc.). They pass on a lot of her details: Only five gunmen:

  • The five gunmen from Shabiha from the village Bahtgazna in place in the village has been listed about 500 people before it goes out Shabiha about 120 people detained for Istkhaddmohm as human shields against the rebels who rushed to Anqana and get us out because we want to go out and do not want to stay
  • They were led by Ismael Jubeili (جبيلي), aka Abu Ali. A Farzat Jubeili killed the "Sunni clerics" sent to encourage their surrender, as well as "154 women and girls of the Alawite sect." There was also a Mohammed Jubeili.
  • Maybe Mohammed is the same as Ismael. Three others are named - Solomon and Ammar Al-Melhem, Ahmed Faiz - and only five numbered.
  • "Solomon and Ammar Al-Melhem and Farzat and Mohammed Jubeili and Ahmed Faiz committed suicide to avoid being caught in the grip of the Free Syrian Army."
  • Elsewhere, the guilty Shabniha were said to have escaped justice by running away never to be seen again.

--Caustic Logic (talk) 10:09, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Chains of Love?

We hear talk of Shabiha (armed Alawite men) holding women and children (and other men too one guesses) hostage, perhaps driven by fears of what happens after the surrender. Terms of surrender other than not being harmed aren't clear from the rebel end. From the other end, we hear a deal where the women and children would be spared, as human shields in Houla, while the men would be killed. We hear talk of refusal, solidarity, collectivehostage-taking of the Sunni delegation urging whatever type of surrender... I wonder if the whole lot didn't just take the delegation prisoner, but cause their deaths, with a sound beating. Lack of food/low energy would argue against that a bit ...

Anyway, it might have been bonds of love these Jubeili and other men exerted over especially the female (cited above) members of their present family. Human shields die anyway, in sometimes cruel ways, after God knows what, as soon as rebels need another videoof bombing or massacre victims. So they do the only thing they can be sure of, the one thing being urged so strongly against - stay together. Wow. It's a powerful thought, and it makes a lot of sense. Would make an excellent movie someday, to help explain why the world FINALLY CAME TO ITS SENSE AND DEMANDED OF ITSELF AN ABRUPT ABOUT-FACE TO CONFRONT ******* REALITY. Never again, we said. Unless we're hypnotized, we meant.

Also, note to rebels: The half-measure of releasing some inside witnesses first was a mistake. Your media immunity is not absolute, and your lack of follow-through at Mazraat Al-Qubeir is to blame (hat-tip again, however, to Alex's driver that day) No (real and non-controlled) survivors, like with the Houla massacre, is really your best bet. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:47, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Other Effected Families

Daoud

Abdulsalam Daoud, Dec.3, killed by warplane sniper?
SCDV list, deaths in Aqrab, Dec. 2-3 shows four members of a Daoud/Dawood family killed December 3:
  • Abdulsalam Dawood, age not given, is shown on video Dec. 3 intact but dead next to his doorstep (inset) - listed, like the whole family, as killed by "warplane shelling." More specifically on the type of jet: "He was martyred by regime forces sniper's shot."
  • Fawziyah Daoud, age 60. married "Martyred with her ​​two children due to the aircraft shelling."
  • son1 and son 2 (unnamed) "of Fawzeih Dawood." Ages not given, both child-male (was her age a typo?), both kisted "Martyred with his mother and brother due to shelling."

As noted, the adults' names are both given in another source spelled "Dahoud" --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:26, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

April 26, 2013 list: five members of Daoud family killed in Aqrab in, what else, more shelling. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:26, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

And also ...

Ahmed Daoud

Wasn't that a Daoud seen in a chair with his face in unrecognizable tatters?

Yep. "Hula martyr Ahmed Daoud the moment of his death" (video link above, horrible stuff), dated Dec. 10, apparently. Placed like a head on a spike at the entrance to Aqrab from Houla. That's another family that fared poorly over these days of "shelling." Unlike the Alawite, they get listed, so maybe they were Sunni "collaborators?"--Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Forthcoming: more details (already done but lost) other targeted attacks before and after this - the Aqrab Daouds have been hurt. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:20, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

There's no Ahmed Daoud/Dawood listed at SCDV dying in Aqrab. Not sure why. The location is verifiable. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:26, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
SCDV listingfinally found: Ahmad Dawodd [sic], civilian, age 24, killed in Houla, Homs [sic], Dec. 10 [sic?] "Martyred due to shelling." [that can't be an honest mistake] "His name came from another source as (Ahmad Dahod)." Video link, and a still from it right there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:58, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
Was he sitting in the chair when they blasted his face of? There is a splatter pattern on the wall. What weapon would do this kind of damage? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:25, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Ask Gallagher - anything capable of bursting the rind, on that slightly upward stroke (right-handed) will get the melon juices flying. Had to have some weight. Could be bullets, someone kneeling a ways off. Similar shelling seen to even nastier effect in Aqrab March 3 2013 (video on request or as it comes up - head split in half, from the chin up, face-flapped) --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:14, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
No sword, no shrapnel but bullet. Is that the entry or exit wound we are seeing? Would a 7.62×51mm NATO do that, or is this from a 23mm DShK? Must be a sniper or a stray bullet. At 0:13 in the video we see the location. The man is sitting next to a main road with telephone poles, most likely the Aqrab–Houla road or something. We see a long stretch of road going through town and a bend to the left and some green as it exits town.
I have found the exact location. It is on the southeastern entrance to Aqrab. Note the red building in the background on the right side of the street. The dead man was guarding the checkpoint, with eyes fixed on Houla, 2 km away at the other end of the straight road. We have video from Jalal from the other end of this straight road, with some 10 men with rifles walking toward Aqrab on Dec 2. Most likely the man was killed by a long distance sniper shot along this road. The only weird thing is that there is little splatter on the wall behind the head. The bullet could have come along "main street" from the north. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:36, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Logically this would have to be December 2nd, although the "Center" gives December 10th as the date of death. The cameraman states the location (Houla / Aqrab) and the date at the start of the the video. We need an Arabic speaker; does he say 2nd or 10th? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:09, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Dude, I located this long ago. Your link didn't work for me, but I suspect we agree. The little dirt lot right at the bend. I also doubt the date. On the initial attack makes more sense. He seems to be a lookout here, but not sure how much sense that makes. But if so, sniping the radio guy first would avoid early warning, sure. Also, could be just killed more normally nearby, tossed in this chair and horror-ized just for a nasty, angering video. It has worked to anger people. If it's bullets, rather than 2-3 swipes with a claw hammer/etc, I think we see entry wound, exit wound, and missing swath between, in one continuous mess. Earlier I said just his face seems shredded, but it does seem the front half of the skull is compromised too. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:24, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I do not think he has been moved. Theri is splatter on the wall. Most likely he would have been holding a AK47 in his lap, on top of the armrests. That has been removed. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:35, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Yep, suggested mangling after moved to chair. Upward splatter, arm-stroke kind of scale, poss. gunshot and coincidence, poss not. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:05, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
I asked for a translation on Facebook and got a response. The cameraman says it is December 10th. Blames a shabiha sniper, not artillery bombardment as the Center for Violations. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:39, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Good work, not that it can be trusted really. Shabiha sniper, shot a possible member of the same family rebels keep wiping out there with "regime shelling"? I still don't trust the date either, although it could be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:05, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Sati

Another Aqrab family in trouble: "warplane shelling" killed Khaled Ja'far al-Sati, age 34, on Dec. 2. Odd thing is, that's supposed to be random, but there was a Hamdo Khalid Sati, age 52, also of Aqraba, singled out back on Oct. 16 to die by "Kidnapping - Torture - Execution" - "He was kidnapped yesterday by shabiha and today his body was found on the road between Homs and Hola, he was slaughtered." A Sa'id Jaafar Al Sati of Houla (Hawleh), age 40, was "shot in the head by a sniper" back on Dec. 15, 2011. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:19, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Toqaj

  • Mahmoud Mohammad Toqaj, adult male, Location Aqraba, died Dec. 2 in "Homs:Houla" from warplane shelling. Notes" "Martyred Due to regime`s shelling. Known as (Mahmoud al-Naem). His name came from another source as (Mohammad gojak)"
  • Husain Ali Hojak, age 7, also from Aqrab, died Dec. 3, also in Homs:Houla and by more warplane shelling. Notes: "He was Unidentified" (mis-identified? Or unrecognizably mangled? No video) --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:14, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Previous: Hula Sundial (Aqrab) Shaheed Gomaa Abdel Karim Toqaj. graphic video, no SCDV listing. Video dated June 25, 2012. A chubby guy, age unclear (possibly child?) and mooshed face, wide-mouth scream frozen on, pretty horrible. Warplane shelling, probably, with Toqaj-seeking missiles. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:14, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Rashwani

  • Abd al-Haleem al-Rashwani male, age 50. "martyred amid the fierce shelling" Dec. 4. Video: appears intact except for a nasty slice into his left cheek.
  • Previous family loss: Musa'ab Hasan Rashwani, 32, died in Aqrab 5-20-2011 from shooting - there are 2 videos.

Various Victims

From the SCDV database, various deaths in Aqrab Dec. 2-4.

And later: Dec. 9/10: the girl mentioned above Dec. 9: two (or 3?) unidentified men killed in warplane shelling somewhere in "Homs" (poss. related) etc... (forthcoming)--Caustic Logic (talk) 03:14, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

The Delegation (in detail)

I cut this from the front page to expand here and make that more readable. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:06, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Hassan Hassan referred to "mediation from two Sunni religious leaders from Aqrab" that convinced the imprisoned Alawites they woulldn't be harmed, and some releases were agreed to. [1] This agreement the “Shabiha” then allegedly rejected. Alex Thomson noted “(The witnesses) all agree matters came to a head when a delegation of villagers was sent on Monday at 4 pm to break the deadlock.” [2]

The number and members of the delegation, like much else, have different versions. Channel 4 named three members out of however many: "a retired senior army officer, Hamid Azzudin, the town’s Sunni imam, Sheikh Sayid Hawash, and also Hashab, the town mayor." [2] Hassan listed only "Sheikh Ali Sara and Sheikh Saadu Hammash" as the two local Sunni clerics. [1] An informed-sounding Youtube video description gave the group that went to "negotiate the release of the women and children” as comprising “eight senior figures in the village, including Sheikh Ali Al-Omar, Sheikh Saa'do Hamash and retired Colonel Shaker Akkash.” [3] The two retired officer names are too different to be the same person, so there may have been at least two. At least two clerics are named: Saa’do/Saadu/Sayid Hawash/HamashHammash, and Sheikh Ali Al-Omar, with Ali Sara perhaps being the same, or a third. Mayor Hashab makes at least five named.

Added info: I finally checked the Syrian Center for Documentation of Violations (SCDV) database, deaths in Aqrab Dec. 10/11, against these names, which I had gotten rusty on. All but two of those named above, appear, along with three others that can be presumed part of this delegation; these are the only deaths listed Dec. 10 and 11. None of the Alawi prisoners are named or listed at all, even as they're mentioned as dying: "many other people" held in a building besides these guys, blown up with these "people in it." Only Sunnis get listed as people, perhaps? Onlyseven martyrs are listed. Thoe two from the delegation who don't appear, both mentioned by Alex Thomson, are the army colonel and the mayor. Were they non-Sunni? (ex: was the mayor the Alawite "mayor" of that part of town?). Three others not mentioned by anyone above are listed in their place there, few details, one with the same Akash family name as the retired colonel. All-in-all, it seems the delegation had nine members, listed below with SCDV name, link, and details. Cause of death for all: "shelling," (explained in firt entry as Shabiha-caused interior explosions) except Said Akash, shooting. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:06, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

  1. Sheikh Ali Al-Omar = Ali al-Omar "Occupation: Imam and Khatib of Aqrab town" - "Notes: a group of Shabiha detained him with many other people, they killed him and then they blew themselves in the building and the people in it" Video of the martyr
  2. "retired Colonel Shaker Akkash" = Shaker Akkash, "Retired colonel"
  3. Saa’do/Saadu/Sayid Hawash/HamashHammash = Sa'id Hammahs, "A man known as al-Sheikh Sa'id"
  4. Sheikh Ali Sara = Ali al-Sara, "A man known as al-Sheikh Ali"
  5. "Hashab, the town mayor” = not listed
  6. "a retired senior army officer, Hamid Azzudin = not listed
  7. Not mentioned = Saed Akash, "Cause of Death: Shooting"
  8. Not mentioned = Omar Walid Bakir Age 28,
  9. Not mentioned = Yehya al-Housein

HRW Investigation

In case this shapes up into something with several parts worth melding, Human Rights Watch is following the story (may have a report by now, but not last I checked) LA Times, Dec. 15: Mystery surrounds fate of Syrians held in town of Aqrab Nadim Houry, deputy director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch was quoted as saying the situation was "very murky," but somehow they were sure "a number of people" had been killed.

"There are various narratives there, and we don’t have enough to have a conclusion yet," Houry said. "I’m not using the word massacre. It’s not clear to me how they died."'

HRW's Peter Bouckaert has a playlist of videos for "Aqrab killings," none of them showing the killings, nor more than one of the killed, and as far as I could tell, nothing at all interesting that we don't already have listed, among the 32 videos there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:55, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Dec. 20: nine days in, a search for Aqrab + Syria+Alawites + "Human Rights Watch" reveals no statements of their own. Their ME director Nadim Houry however put out a tweet perhaps explaining why it will stay that way; they ain't touching it. From his twitter feed:

Nadim Houry ‏@nadimhoury How to get to bottom of Aqrab massacre claims? send UN investigation team to the scene. Who can allow them in? #Syria government

But who's going to send them and why stringent about total clarity all of a sudden? Just tell us it's a regime crime somehow! Houry was apparenty taken to task for it by a few people. His reactions, all same-day:

@asadabukhalil distorting my words intentionally again.I tell journos we don't know what happened in Aqrab & still investigating.
@TaktakCo no standard definition.Aqrab may be a massacre. We just don't know yet given lack of available info & ongoing investigation
@NuffSilence @asadabukhalil no need to get into insults. However, I disagree with As`ad (and find his coverage of our work unfair/partial)"
@asadabukhalil no.you twisted my words to suit your conclusions.Where did I say we concluded our investigation.
@asadabukhalil when i was asked the question, narrative was Alawites killed Alawites.I said, details were murky.Which by they still are

Looking forward to the investigation's results, then. Drafting a letter demanding one. News here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:35, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Seen this one? (copied from above)
  • This video has Thomson's report and after it starting at around 6:30 a report from Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV interviewing refugees in surrounding villages. English translation. Details on negotiations. Got no time to add to article now, but should get. --CE (talk) 01:37, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
--CE (talk) 02:07, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Yep. As now noted above, working on it. Expect that added by mid-morning your time in a new section on the captives not in rebel care, escaped/released and the rest, status unknown. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:09, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Other "Watchdogs" Reports

Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria

  • all "martyrs" in Syria, Dec. 10 and 11. Including those unidentified, there are entries for 288 people. From Aqrab, or even Hama province unspecified, and checking Homs province due to the occasional Houla-proximity confusion, this is all there is:

...

  • Abo Hayyan al-Hamwi, Non-Civilian, with the FSA, died in Hama (town not specified) from "shooting" by "regime forces."
  • Saed Akash, Civilian, Adult - Male, Hama Aqraba, killed 2012-12-11 by "shooting." (no further details)
  • Ahmad al-Mohammed, Non-Civilian, FSA, from Houla, killed Dec 11 by "random shelling" up in "Hama: Aqrab."

No Shabiha, no massacre victims, little kids all aged 10, nothing but three rebels who apparently managed to die in this fairly one-sided genocide operation. That's the closest they apparently got to documenting the Alawite victims of the Aqrab massacre. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:24, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Update: Seems I wasn't looking right. Here is a listing for deaths Dec. 2-12 in area "Aqraba." 24 entries, minus 9 from a Damascus suburb of similar name = 15, Hama-only list = 15, all civilian. Most killed Dec. 11 by "shelling," a few in previous days (Dec 2 and 3) in "warplane shelling." Odd jet attacks that coincided with the apparently bloodless rebel takeover of those days. All but one of the 15 are male, all but three adults, the four outliers are in one targeted family, Daoud/Dawood. ...Nothing like the name Jubeili appears here. And still, neither, neither does the alleged Dec. 11 massacre of 125+. Seven civilians, all adult males, are listed. Or is there another arrangement that will reveal them as reported to the center like real human beings? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:45, 6 June 2013 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Promotion of This Research

I thought I had already started this section. First, I wrote the Human Rights Watch back in December (no response)On HRW's "murky" Invest​igation of the Crime​s at Aqrab. Then a long pause until about six months after. I included a summary of the case in the May report on the Houla Massacre, with that section split-off for a campaign starting at the six-moth anniversary. That page, with the Channel 4 video and some other tidbits, can be seen here: Aqrab Massacre. It is/will be the platform for continued agitation reports and any new information I collect. Time span: six months, so no worries that I haven't got much yet less than a month in. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:21, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

So far in that effort, I've gotten a slight response from Donatella Rovera at Amnesty International (awaiting any new info, but not expecting it), and just now a brief Twitter response from the esteemed AlexThomson, who filed that pivotal Channel 4 report. See here.

@alextomo "Youtube pathologists" at work: http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Aqrab_Massacre#The_Hostage_House_and_Smoke_Clues …
@CL4Syr seems to bear out what I reported from Aqrab at the time

So that the one section anyway, an important addition, has the original reporters approval as consistent with what he saw and heard. As one of the few to go there, this matters. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:21, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Not that it promotes it much, per se, but I recently put together another article at the CIWCL site, on the visible victims surrounding, and perhaps from the middle of, the unproven massacre. That's a good way of putting it, might go back and add that. The Daoud family, sheikh Ali and the delegation, and little Amal all feature. Pretty decent if I do say so, a bit on the spooky side. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:54, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Scorpion?

"عقرب" is Arabic for scorpion, pronounced ʕáqrab. Must be the name of the town. Searching for Houla + Scorpion ("عقرب الحولة‎") is likely to produce relevant results – like this crap. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:29, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

It was a description, not a name, for a victim I think translated "Zainab Veins." Did an Aqrab person die in the Houla massacre, or what? Later ...--Caustic Logic (talk) 10:53, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes. this list of "martyrs" on May 25 includes Zainab Arouq, killed in Aqrab (but part of the Houla massacre) She was married to the head of the Al-Kurdi family, Mahmoud, it says. He and his wife and four male children died that day in Aqrab to the usual "field execution." Two more al-Kurdis, adult females and presumably related, lived in Houla and were executed there, the list says. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:00, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Google has now started translating Aqrab as "Sundial". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:38, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

I've had it come up both ways in different contexts (alone vs. in-sentence, etc.) I suppose sundial is more likely the namesake. Although the town does have sort of a tail pointing towards rebel al-Houla (which did the stinging here, again screwing with the possible metaphor) --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:53, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Al Kanteera

What is "al Kanteera?" I just came back to this, having glossed over it before. I'm not sure if we have Hadi included in the activist stories or not. But I wish I knew what he was saying here, just for context. He has a face that just screams "trust me, please!" --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:19, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Hello!

Thanks for the good work. Need to concentrate on something else. Will be back soon. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:41, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Hi, Petri! It's been good to have your fairly prolific contributions again lately. Do pop in with what you can when you can. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:07, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Monitoring the news

In addition of figuring out what happened, we should monitor what the media is telling of the events. Do they blame "Assad" or the rebels. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:28, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Assad did it

Rebels did it

Rebels Didn't Do It

The witnesses’ recorded stories stating that the Shabiha in the town, who were already a part of the Houla massacre, have committed a mass suicides, fearing the worst that can happen for themselves and their families.
The correspondent [Thomson] was not able to enter the town, and although he had met witnesses without any prior preparation, he was still inconclusive in terms of who was responsible for the massacre.
Rebels partly to blame: Moreover, what proves that a siege was imposed by the Free Syrian Army against the families, are the stories of the town suffering from a lack of drinking water for several days, while mothers were beating their children so they would stop screaming.

???

Hassan Hassan, The National, Dec. 17

On December 9, nearly 200 people were killed in the small Syrian village of Aqrab, which is about 40 kilometres west of Hama.
(well, it's what happened on the 11th that's in dispute. Only one side seems sure a number sort of near 200 were killed. The other side only know they don't know what happened.
...the regime has successfully pitted groups against each other...
One of the most telling videos shows an old Alawite woman ...The woman, who identifies herself as Umm Ayham, speaks for over 14 minutes in great detail, some of which has been corroborated by a report by Alex Thomson, of the British broadcaster Channel 4. The news report was released three days after the Umm Ayham's video was uploaded to YouTube.
The nerve!
It is unclear who had rounded up the civilians. A day before the massacre, the rebels let go about 125 people, who fled to the nearby village of Taouna. The rebels assured the remaining hostages that they would not be hurt...
To be fair, he had a paragraph break interrupting the simple math there...

There appear to be two main questions that are still in dispute. How did the 500 people become trapped in the building in the first place, and who was threatening them? And after the violence described by Umm Ayham, what events then led to 200 people being killed?

Yeah, the rebels already told us once. What, you don't believe their story? It was sort of clear.

If the people inside the building were hostages, why did the rebels allow some to leave?

Hostage exchange, it's said. But otherwise, a good question.

An independent investigation could clear up a number of points, in particular whether those girls had been shot at close range, which might corroborate the charges against "Farzat". Without that proof, the witness account remains open to dispute.

"Proof," or "might corroborate?" Why can rebel captors not get close range? How did they haul out the survivors?

But Umm Ayham's video also sends another important message to the Syrian opposition. Alawites are often portrayed as invariably sticking with the regime for survival. This is not accurate. Many Alawites are caught in the middle, just as are so many others in Syrian society. Twenty-one months into the violence, Alawites were still living alongside Sunnis in Aqrab - something worth considering. The mediators were also from the village.

"Were" until what, dummy? The nerve! Open genocide on a mass scale is only just now starting. Hey, could've happened earlier, there's been some degree of restraint.

Arabad bin Sarieh battalion in Aqrab

The Arabad bin Sarieh battalion in Aqrab on December 2nd.

videos, uploaded December 12th:

It seems that the rebel forces attacking Aqrab on December 2nd were not just any rebels from Houla, but specifically the Arabad bin Sarieh battalion from Taldou, the site of the Houla massacre. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:32, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Story of a massacre tells of the Alawites caught in the middle Hassan Hassan, The National (UAE), Dec 17, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Was there a massacre in the Syrian town of Aqrab?Alex Thomson, Alex Thomson's view, Dec. 14, 2012 (video)
  3. video and another, Dec. 11, descriptions beneath