Talk:Deir Baalba Massacre

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April 2/3: Three Versions

Homs Deir Baalba 12 4 3.png
The inset image, recently re-cycled as a false support for the Adra massacre, was already run in April 2012 with this article (French), derived from a SANA report. This constitutes the first real massacre report out of Deir Baalba, blamed on anti-government terrorists. Translated:
Homs / A terrorist group has carried out a massacre against number of citizens in a previously removed farm in the district of Deir Baalbé in Homs.The terrorists committed their crime with composure before mutilating the bodies of victims in the farm that has been transformed into a place of torture, where authorities found sharp metal tools and chemicals to make explosives.

Documents.sy re-posts the same image with a caption (Arabic) to similar effect, dated April 3. The still image testifies to only six or seven victims (minimum number), looking intact, laid head first in the corner of a room.

Opposition records (VDC, LCC) show no deaths this day. This in itself could be a clue the massacre did occur that day, or at least as likely, that it was an April 2 incident naturally reported the following day. The LCC reported a "massacre" on the 2nd, with 13 killed (mutilated) by intense shelling. LCC summary, April 2:

A horrific and terrifying massacre was confirmed in Deir B’alba on Monday, in which the regime’s forces used heavy artillery against the residents, killing and wounding many of them, including children. The wounded are in very critical condition. This footage is of the dead and wounded immediately after the attack. One of the men’s legs are blown off and he is breathing his last breaths while residents try to revive him and treat the other wounded residents in cars, because there is no way to get to a hospital [1]
Rebels were there to help them. Video (graphic): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwndmg7Q0Rc. Notes: His legs are mangled, torn up, partly missing, and folded up wrong. He moans in pain, not near death except maybe by blood loss. He was driven here in the bed a pickup truck, then is seen being carried on a blanket to a proper ambulance, in a good sign.
Homs: 13 martyrs fell due to the violent shelling on Deir Baalba neighborhood, and 2 houses were destroyed. A large number of people are escaping the area.

VDC list - 4 Der Baalba martyrs April 2, all men. Khaled Msheeal Zakria Mohamad Yehia Obed killed by shelling, Abdul hadi Alshalli and Omar Saeed Kanaan by field execution. Checking April 1-3 adds nothing. That's all they have for this incident, apparently. LCC's April 2 report seems to be their source - Both "Khaled Mashee'l" and "Young man Zakareya Obaid" are the two men named as "martyred due to the shelling on Deir Baalba neighborhood." [1] The rest of the 13 killed by "shelling" and/or those massacred aren't properly listed, then. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:47, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

A third version, with rebels mentioning a massacre, was lodged by an alleged survivor, #"Abo Haitham" in a video first aired on April 7th. Shot and injured somehow, this fighting age man says that between his survival and his account, he hid on a rooftop for five days. So he's claiming a massacre no later than, and apparently on, April 2. As he describes: Army shelling was followed by a Shabiha (or Iranian) invasion. Enough people were collected together that women could be raped and children slaughtered in front of another 180 or so men, who were then arranged in three rows of 60 and gunned down. The alleged witness, alone, survived by being in the middle.

No other sources come close to matching this narrative suggesting over 200 dead all at once and all at the beginning, or in the following days combined. The regime took the bodies and burned them, so I guess it's a covered up addition to what rebels could find? --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:24, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Victims

Overview

VDC records show 160 victims of this multi-day massacre of April 7-11. There was preceding violence from April 2 forward, but masses were murdered only during a murky reign of terror peaking with 50 people field executed each day the 9th and 10th. The victims as listed were 135 listed as adult male (although this may be inaccurate, see below), 17 women, 4 girls, 4 boys, mainly from a handful of hard-hit families. (see below) Since this page coniders the broader span back to April 2, this larger list covers that too, adding only 19 for a total of 179 dead, massacre victims and other.

By-day: April 1-6, shooting and shelling, 0-5 a day. The 7th forward, field execution and torture appear and the numbers pick up. 7th=9 8th=16 9th=51 (1 non-civilian) 10th=55 (all civ) 11th=30 (all civ) then back down to 0-5 per day the 12th forward. 7-8-9 field execution, almost totally. Shelling helps kill some on the 10th, but executions continue and on the 11th it's all that again.

Names of note: Kanaan x11, Al-Sheikh x10, Al-Naser x7, Al-Haijan x4, Al-Ali x6, Al-Taleb x4, Faour x3, Rajab x8, Al-Abbas (see below), and Suleiman mainly in connection with Al-Abbas. Many families full of unnamed members like From Alnaser Family 4 or From Al-Ali family 6, both listed as "adult male" like all members of unidentified families. This is sometimes shorthand for "we weren't told all the ages and genders."

The hardest-hit family by far is the Al-Abbas family: the VDC lists '58 Abbas/Abas/Alabas martyrs in these days in Deir Baalba, from a variety of sub-families someone kept singling out (two entries on that list of 60 are coincidence). Almost all of them (49) are properly named men, like Mamoun Sulieman Abas ("His body was found in a stable for the animals"). But there's Ilaf Ali Abas child-male (no age or details given) and Inaam Al-Abbas, adult female, executed the 11th with videos (haven't watched - v1 v2). Some have interesting notes, but it seems most, like Ilaf, don't.

Below, I'll try to consider all victims listed wherever massacre, other subset, or just by day. This will likely be a bit messy until it's sorted out. May take a while. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:36, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

We can start with the first two days, covered above. How to set that death toll range? We can start with SANA's alleged, and shown, 6+ victims, then consider the reported 13 shelling victims. This could include the 6+ or not, for a start of 13-19+. VDC's 4 reported death may or may not be part of the 13 too, so that's 13-23+, at the low end. The high end runs up to ... 2-300 as "Abo Haitham" reported, plus the 13-23? No ... best to leave his story out, except maybe as an alternate universe version of the whole cluster of massacres, either up to the 7th or even predicted. But as for these first two days, we can only say a minimum of 13-23 killed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:40, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

April 4-6

Between the 4th and the 5th of April, the VDC database records 8 civilian men from Deir Baalba killed.

Mouahmmed Abdo al-Kasem: Adult - Male. (Kasem is the same as Qasem.) Died 2012-04-05. Cause: Shooting. photo.

The other 7 died on the 4th, all killed by "shelling."

  • Rafiq Wageh Gealie: Child - Male (no details)
  • Sbeaa Abdulrahman Shahade: Adult - Male Age: 26. photo Notes: "Burning in their house"
  • Mohamad Nour Deeb: Adult - Male
  • Mustafa Bitar: Adult - Male
  • Abdel Hadi Alahmad: Adult - Male. video of the martyr
  • Shaza Abdul Jabbar Wadouh: Adult - Female. video.
Notes: smoke stains on her face and nostrils, small wound through the ckeek - bullet entry wound? If so, no clear exit. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:27, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Ahmad Abdulhadi Shahf: Adult - Male. video.
Notes: He's pretty intact except maybe at the neck. He lost a lot of blood around there. I'm not sure if that's his red shirt collar we see with a bloody rag laid atop it, or a slice wound with the rag stuffed in it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:27, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

LCC reports add some detail. The child Rafiq is given as "Raffeeq Wajeeh Joueali (Deir Balba, shot by a sniper)," while VDC lists "shelling." This has a video, but I didn't save the link, and the page won't re-load for me at the moment. Nothing very specific or useful is added besides that on the 4th or the 5th. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:27, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

The VDC lists 7 Deir Baalba men killed on the 6th. None are listed as executed, but killed in the general military assault, by "shooting" and "shelling."Names: Khaled Farhan Alsaho, Bitar, Ibraheem, Suleiman, Alsheikh, Alabed, Helal. Mr. Helal is of special interest. He died from shooting, it says. But a video of him (graphic) posted with the LCC's daily report looks like the bullet only grazed his throat, sort of slicing it, or maybe... it wasn't a bullet? Once he fell over dead, it was rebels there to catch and film his body. Or at any rate they found him that way before his blood dried.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:37, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

LCC April adds this: "Homs; Yahia Abdel Ma'oun Hilal and Mounir Muhsin Al-Abd were martyred in Deir Baalba as a result of the regime's heavy shelling in the area." So now it's either shooting or shelling that sliced Mr. Helal's throat. And a side-note on Mr. Al-Abed - a possible relative, Ghadban Al-'Abed, was named as killed the following day, in neighboring Khalidiya. A horrifying video shows his own "shelling" injury - it tore out his throat and jugular vein, coarsely, along with part of his left shoulder. More from the LCC report:

Homs: Heavy shelling that is claimed by the regime's army on the neighborhood of Deir Baalba is continued with a rate of 10 mortars falling in few minutes. - Homs: The activist Zahir Abo Ghilyoun was martyred after being shot by the security forces' sniper in the area of Deir Baalba. - Homs: The fall of 8 martyres due to the shelling (including) Mohammad Ibrahim and Mahmoud Suliman from Deir Baalba...

"The activist" didn't seem to appear in the VDC lists, but does. Zaher Abo Ghalion was "shot by a sniper: on the 6th, but is listed as from "Deir Baala." The name may be of interest - the embattled head of the opposition SNC at the time was Burhan Ghalioun, from Homs. He would resign that post under pressure on May 17, 2012. See new name section for more details.

Tally for the ambiguous half, April 2-6: (13-23) + (7 + 1 + 7) = (13-23) + 15 = 28-38 minimum. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:44, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

April 7: Al-Sheikh and Rajab

The VDC lists 9 victims on the 7th. All but the middle entry fit a pattern of civilians field executed that day, from two (likely intermarried) families, and include the first listed female victim. [http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/details/martyrs/11588 Shaalan Reda Alrajab (adult male) is listed here, but below is among those reported by the LCC as found on April 11. SO wherever he best fits, he can't be counted twice. The other 7 seem unique to this day:

  • Ahmad Mohamad Rajab
  • Mohamad Rida Alrajab
  • Taiseer Mahmoud Alsheikh
  • Reada Mahmoud Alsheikh
  • Moaed Taiseer Alshekh
  • Najah Tayseer Al-Sheikh
  • Rafa Tayseer Al-Sheikh (adult female)

The LCC's daily report makes no mention of these victims by name. They certainly do mention massacres in general, just not with names or specifics. The main story is the executed 13 (see below). Otherwise, there are two more unidentified corpses, one in bad shape. And looming implausibly above all, #"Abo Haitham" and his story of 200 or more killed first appears in this post. A house is filmed burning after shelling, "when two more shells hit the same house." As for named victims, they do highlight the middle entry from the VDC list, Salem Tawfik Zewani who apparently died days before, tortured to death after the regime yanked him out of his car on the highway, at about the time the mayhem began. As the LCC heard:

Salem Tawfeeq Zeewani – Dier B’alba – Nothing identifiable is left of this man except his jaw. His vehicle was targeted by rocket missiles after he tried to help families escape the town, and then the regime’s forces stole his body. His body was returned to his family burned and mutilated, with maggots crawling all over it [2]

What a nice thing to do, in this time of crisis and invasion and imminent massacres. I wonder who did the handing, in what manner, etc. the video link: it only has a gray screen now saying "this video is private." After all this video, here's all Deir Ballba-related text: 28 martyrs fell in Homs - Homs: Deir Baalba: Martyr Salem Tawfik Zabwani, who Died Under Torture After His Arrest, and his Body was Burnt. - Homs: Shelling on Deir Baalba neighborhood continues since early morning, and many wounded were reported. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:21, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Scanning ahead, these names do appear in the LCC reports, at least partly, among those found on April 11. "Tayser Al-Sheikh and his son Rida Al-Sheikh and his son Riyadh Mohammad Al-Rajab and his four sons Shaalan Al-Rajab ..." plus a bunch of other people. VDC already had corrolary entries for those, meaning they apparently double-listed those victims. Will make sure to sort this out before calling this work done. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:21, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

There are three twice-listed names, or four if Ahmad Mohamad Rajab is one of the 4 sons of Mohamad Rida (not Riyadh Mohammed) Rajab. We'll count all seven names given this earlier and possibly accurate death date, and subtract 3-4 from the later find.

There are two more entries for the day, a shelling victim who may not count, andAbdulkarim Alsalman who died from "Kidnapping - Execution" in this time of massacres (no details). So he makes eight named victims to consider.

Tally: The eight named victims. Visually, there were at least 13 executed on or by this day. See next section. These 7 may be a partial listing of that, an additional group on top of it, or a mix. And even kidnapped Mr. Alsalman could be one of these, just listed differently. So for the day, only "at least 13" can be specified.

April 7: 13 Executed

Homs Deir Baalba 12 4 7.png
The day's top image for the LCC's April 7 report is a still from Homs, Deir Ba'lbe neighborhood: [GRAPHIC More than 13 civilians summarily executed by regime forces. [7 April 2012]] (inset image is another still). At least 12 bodies, most say 13 or so, seemingly all males, bound hands-behind, were shot against this wall. They're in civilian dress but for at least one pair of camouflage pants. Is this the people the VDC listed for the day, with some entries missing? Or is this a separate group? No one at the time seemed to know who they were.

Reuters reporter Erika Solomon filed a report on this video on April 7.

Thirteen bodies were found dumped on the street in the Syrian city of Homs on Saturday with gunshots to the head and blood drenching the pavement, a video by activists showed.
"We've discovered a massacre today in Deir Baalba neighborhood. Look at this, Muslims. Look at this, Arabs," a man shouted as he walked towards the corpses, thrown on their backs or face down in pools of blood. ... "Where are the Muslim clerics while this is happening today in Homs?" wailed the man in the video. "Allahu Akbar (God is great). God is greater than you, oh Bashar. It is April 7, 2012 and we have found a massacre."

The activist take on identity is a little strange:

Activists said they couldn't tell who (the victims) were or why they were killed. "Some of them had traces of torture so they may have been detainees. There were no identity papers on the bodies, so we are trying to find out who they are," said Saleem Qabbani, from the grassroots Local Coordination Committees opposition group. "But by looking at their clothes, we believe many of them were from the neighborhood. Deir Baalba is very poor, people usually only have one or two sets of clothes' so some of the activists here recognized the men by what they were wearing," he said. "But they are still trying to figure out their names."
Are these fighters local or not? Just local enough to recognize, for example, 'striped sweater guy' from - what? From random people they saw running behind their truck as rebels themselves fled the "Chabbihas"? Or from the rebel abduction run a few days ago? You know who else has only one or two (that is, one) set of clothes? Those "poor people" who get taken captive whenever rebels roll through town. The clothes are often filthy and smoke-stained before they get murdered. And yeah, signs of torture.

On guilt: Activist Qabbani "blamed security forces for the Homs killings, saying the bodies had been found near a school that had been used by the army as an informal detention centre." This may be the ransacked school rebels filmed in late April. It's said to be in the #Kasaara neighborhood the massacre may have been centered in. But Solomon did hear, and report, a broader range of options: "Another opposition activist, who declined to be named, said the victims could have been Alawites, as Deir Baalba is a mixed area, or possibly men deemed traitors by local rebels." As of writing on the day of the video's release, "The government has made no comment about the video." [3] They may never have. There are a lot of damned videos to comment on. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:13, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

April 8: Found in a Barn

This list of 14 martyrs from Deir Baalba, 12 al-Abbas men, an Abbas woman (Inaam Abdelrahman Abas), and another man (Khalaf Alaskar), all listed as executed on April 8.

Apparently there were two more, and activists only stumbled on these bodies four days later. The LCC daily report of April 12 shares no imagery from the site but explains:

16 corpses from the same family, including one of a woman, were found dumped in a barn. The victims had been killed by various means: slaughter, execution by machete, and gunshots to the mouth. The names of the martyrs are: Suleiman Rahmoun Al-Abbas; Amer, Maamoun, Mohamad, and Ahmad Suleiman Al-Abbas; Ali Mohamad Al-Abbas; Adnan Dibo Al-Abbas; Taha and Imad Abdel Karim Al-Abbas; Said, Walid, Abdel Khalil, and Abdel Kafi Mohamad Al-Abbas; Mohamad Walid Al-Abbas; Walid Taha Al-Abbas; and Ina'am Abdel Rahman Al-Abbas. [4]

That doesn't even list Mr. Alaskar, meaning the collective tally is 19. Note the unusual vagueness over who killed them. "Various means" rebels know all about are cited.

By the basic time and number of male victims, this could be the crime shown in the still in the section above, about 13 with a woman mixed in possible, dated April 7. Are there a couple more nearby to match this larger tally? Was the VDC's date just a day late? After being shot against this wall, were they then put into a barn and found again five days later? The second finding seems to have no video to make any comparison.


Total=16, with 14 named.

The basic time and the name Al-Askar further suggest a possible link to an April 8 report - see right below - although there can be little or no cross-over between them.

April 8: 9 Women and Children

LCC Daily report, April 8:

Homs: Another massacre was committed by the regime's army in the Deir Baalbeh neighborhood, where 9 women and children were killed in the room of a house across the Faculty of Petrochemistry. They were then shot from close distance.

There is no record of such a batch of martyrs listed at VDC for this day. If 9 women and children really were shot in a room under the killers' control, activists presumably wouldn't learn about it until they found the bodies, among the mass grave tallies cited below, days later. Which means this early insider report must have been filed with the LCC by ... Shabiha?

There is one over-large marker on Wikimapia across Main Street from the large faculty campus near the center of the district. It's marked (translated from Arabic) "home of Haj Khaled Sulaiman Al-Ashqar." Considerin an Al-Askar man was among those listed as shot dead the previous day (see above, this might mean a connection between these events, for a total of at least 22 members of these families murdered. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:56, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

April 7/8? "Found days after"

LCC daily report, April 10: "Syrian regime didn't have enough of the massacres which committed in Homs so it punishes the city that got out despite all constraint to demand freedom with blood. A mass grave was found out by residents today in Deir B'alba neighborhood of 37 martyrs, among them there are children, women and 2 whole families." (named then listed). [5] A slightly larger tally of 41 martyrs from Deir Baalba, clearly corresponding by names as the same group, share the note: "Their bodies was found days after they were killed." Date of death is given as the 10th, but they can't be listed any earlier than found, and the entry numbers seem to correspond to April 10. So implicitly, this mass of people was killed days earlier - how many isn't clear, but likely they died the 7th or 8th as violence really took off. All civilian, all field executed. Grouped by names:

  • +4: Mohamad Abas - AM, Son of Mohamad Abas 1, 2, 3 - Adult - Male (LCC: "Mohamad Abbas and his 3 children" but a person's children can be adults)
  • +4: Shueib Alabas - AM, Son of Shuaeb Alabas 1, 2, 3 - Adult - Male
  • +6: From Al-Ali family 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 - AM
  • +4: From Al-Haijan family 1, 2, 3, 4 - AM
  • +7: Abd Almoneim Kanaan - AM, Ahmad Kanaan - Child - Male, Ahmad Mohamad Kanaan - AM, Amina Kanaan - Adult - Female, Ayman Mohamad Kanaan - AM, Bashir Abdo Kanaan - AM, Rida Khaled Kanaan - AM
  • +4: Ahmad Nabhan - AM, Asmaa Alnabhan - Child - Female, Khaled Alnabhan - AM, Suhair Alnabhan - Adult - Female
  • +3: Mutiea Alnaser - Adult - Female, Son of Mutiea Naser 1, 2 - AM
  • +9 (other): Nawaf Alamin - AM, Zuheir Aloman - AM, Ayman Alomar - AM, Ayman Hamza - AM (or LCC "male child Ayman Hamza"), Jasem Alhmaid - AM, Mahmoud Hmaied - AM, Ghada Alothman - Adult - Female, Khaldoun Suleiman - AM (or LCC "male child Khaldoun Sleiman"), Rahaf Sulieman - Child - Female
  • + 4 (at least) not listed:
    • LCC mentions "another family of 5 persons from Al Heijan." VDC has only 4.
    • Adult female Ghada Alothman is listed, but not her husband or child, per LCC; "Walid Abbas, his wife Ghada Al-Othman and their child." There are no other al-Othmans, and all Abbas people are tied up in the two families of Mohammad and Suheib, so the vague child is also not listed. However, two Abbas men with Walid in the name were listed for April 8.
  • Total = at least 44

April 10 Shelling

The VDC kists 55 dead for the 10th - 41 with the note singled out above, fieeld executed, and another 14 killed by "shelling." These may be more intentional massacre victims, either blown up or mangled or just shot by the rebels. An interesting thing about this batch is that it's got no children, and is exactly half men and half women. And they're not husbands and wives but split-up, with men of a few families and women of a few others. The whole list - AF = Adult Female, etc. All civilian, all from Deir Baalba, notes and details come with few or none. Ahmad Hazaa Altaleb - AM Jasem Hazaa Altaleb - AM Khaled Hazaa Altaleb - AM Abdulaziz Khleif Alnajib - AM Omar Khleif Alnajib - AM Mohamad Hazaa Altaleb - AM Mutaz Khleif Alnajib - AM (note: the Al-Taleb name, on families south of Homs, was just singled out in the Abel massacre killings of late March. Possible connection here. Saadie Mohamad - AF Shaeile Alyounis - AF Sabha Alyounis - AF Aisha Jamal Alyounis - AF Majeda Ata Alabas - AF Muna Ata Alabas - AF Noufa Houri Ismaiel - AF

For the shady patterns, we can add another likely 14 massacre victims.

April 9?: April 11 Finds

VDC lists 50 martyrs from Deir Baalba, all civilian, all field executed, April 9. These tend to have no handy notes attached. The LCC mentions 38 of these in their report of April 11:

The brutal crimes of the regime continue and just today 38 corpses were found after they were slaughtered by the regime's forces. This comes after the 37 civilians who were martyred yesterday under the ruins of homes in the same area. These crimes are being committed in spite of the regime's promises to the international community ... Following are the names of the martyrs discovered today:

Listed (left) w/VDC matches (right):

  • Tayser Al-Sheikh and his son Rida Al-Sheikh - Tayser Alsheikh, Rida Aksheikh
  • and his son Riyadh Mohammad Al-Rajab and his four sons - Mohamad Rajab , son of Mohamad Rajab 1-4 (all AM)
  • Shaalan Al-Rajab - (no match, this day...)
  • Omar Kanaan - Omar Kanaan
  • Ismail Kanaan - Ismaeil Saeid Kanaan (AM)
  • Amer Madeha - Amer Madiha
  • Waleed Madeha - (no match)
  • Mohammad Madeha - Mohamad Madeha
  • Four from the Nasser family - (unnamed "From Alnaser Family 1" - 4 entries, adult male)
  • More than 20 from the Abbas family - (six Abbas names per VDC, this day...)
  • Four from the Rahhal family - (Abdulrazaq and Mahmoud appear)
  • Rahal Qadha - Rahal Qadha (AM)
  • Total LCC listed = 22 + "more than 20" = 43 or more, not 38.

24 VDC-LCC matches, 19+ non-matches

Listed by VDC, not listed by LCC = 26

  • Ibraheem Ghalion (adult male)
  • +4: Riad Alsheikh (AM), Zaki Alsheikh (AM), Zahara Aksheikh (child, female), Mona Alsheikh child-female
  • +4: Faour: Mohamad Ahmad Faour (AM), Ziad Ahmad Faour (AM), Samer Faour (AM), Yaser Mohamad Fauor (AM)
  • +2 Kanaan: Abdelrahman Saleem Kanaan, Abdelwareth Kanaan (adult males)
  • +15: Amer Saeid Madiha,Talal Msheail, Abdulmajid Abdulhakim Sakran, Ali Alqasem, Nidal Alqasem , Ghasan Haj Husein, Bashar Haj Husein, Khaled Hmadi Mharrtsh, Khaldoun Aljarah, Fawaz Abdul Rahim Abo Shfeh, Ahmad Qasem, Mahmoud Mashhour, Mohamad Abo Hamad, Nour Haj Yasin, Rashed Qarut (all AM)

The total then is 65-66 - the VDC's 50 plus the extra 19 LCC lists but they don't = 69, minus the 3-4 duplicate victims already lised on the 7th (see above). And as always, that's both at least and alleged.

The dead of April 9, as listed here, provide the closest name correlation to the confusing account of alleged massacre survivor #"Abo Haitham". In a video of April 7, he describes the attack by "the Shabiha and supporters of the regime" he alone miraculously survived - back on April 2. Asked "Can you name some of the families?" He provided three names only, and none of the more prominent ones. He said there were many others but didn't name any more of his neighbors. The three (comparing two translations): Madiaya/Di'yaa - Galoun/Ghalioun - Al-Mahabna/Manbarid. Madiaya might be Madiha (Amer, Amer Saeid, and Mohamad killed 4-9). Galoun must be Ghalion (alt: Ghalioun - Ibrahim, killed 4-9, while the witness says it was a whole family).

Al-Mahabna/Manbarid ... no clear match, but Al-Nabhan is the closest name. 4 members killed on April 10, VDC says, but killed days earlier than found (and apparently found on the 10th). These 50+ victims too could have been killed days earlier than the 9th or the 11th. But to even be consistent with "Abo Haitham's" story, they had to be decaying for 7 or 9 days before these later "discovery" dates. The facts don't have to match his likely fictitious story, but if his story included these real victim names, we can be sure they were dead before the video's posting on the 7th.

Later Finds

Total = 53 (at least, allegedly)

"By the shabiha of Abbasiya area"

One cluster of victims is unified by common details and three members of an Al-Atrash family. First, the earliest and most likely accurate date is given by the VDC for Malek Salah Al-Atrash, adult male, killed April 13 by Detention - Torture (no further details). Two more men of that name appear as dying or, more likely, being found, 11 and 12 days later, each one listed alongside two other men.

Mohamad Rahmoun Al-Atrash died (or was found?) April 24 by Field Execution. Notes: "At the a raid on the farms in Deir Baalba , where they were executed with two others." As three men have this note, it seems to mean 'this guy and two others' Those others would be Rashed Khaled Al-Othman, a child, but age 17, described as a worker. He's listed two days earlier: 04-22. Abdul Rahman Ahmad Al-Tadmuri, adult male, is listed with the same note, executed on the 24th like al-Atrash.

The next day, the 25th, three more were either killed or found, listed as killed "By the shabiha of Abbasiya area" all adult males. Jihad Al-Atrash is listed with that note along with Ahmad Abdel Kareem Rahal and "Son of Ghalib Najeeb," both adult males. As the ACLOS Homs Map shows (see here), Abbasiya is an area just south of Deir Baalba. Our information on it is scarece, but it's amongst the smaller Western districts (Zahraa, Migrants district, etc.) known to have majorities of Alawite, Christian, non-Salfist Sunnis, and a general government loyalist lean. This is consistent with "Shabiha" (implicitly Alawite) militias allegedly operating from there and committing a massacre in the rural area apparently in the southern part of Deir Baalba. That a patch of Army terrain shares this southern flank only strengthens the picture presented here.

  • Total = 7

"Found with 28 others"

There is a story of 29 bodies found at once, a batch possibly including other victims with given death dates, but likely this a unique 29. We have names for eight, thanks to the VDC database. All are men, listed as field executed, and from Deir Baalba, each with the note ""His body was found with 28 others." Seven of these are from the same family, Kanaan. They're given the death date April 28, but from context, that's more likely just when they were found, officially, for the first time.

  • Faesal Mohamed Al-Abdallah
  • Mohamed Mahmod Kanaan - this one has a funeral video, 4:32, uploaded only on July 30, and dated 22-3-2012, and a title translating "Shaheed Mohamed Canaan." His face is barely visible at the very end, offering no clear clues.
  • Khaled Mohamed Rajab Kanaan
  • Tamer Saad Kanaan
  • Zahir Kanaan
  • Mohammad Nasser Kanaan
  • Suleiman Ismael Kanaan
  • Nasser Ismael Kanaan
  • Total = 29, 21 unnamed.

By the number in one spot, this is the most likely match for the story told by alleged survivor #Iyad" - he alone survived from a group of around 30. He says they were first slaughtered, then shot, by Shabiha, in a stable, on April 8.

"Martyred Weeks Ago"

Those listed with this or a similar note are ...

  • Mubarak Salem Al-Yaseen - AM - 2012-05-02 - Field Execution - He was a victim of the massacre. His corpse was found and buried today.
  • Noureddein Abduljalil Suleiman - AM - Deir Baalba: Kasara - 2012-05-01 - Field Execution - He was martyred weeks ago. His corpse was found today.
  • Raed Abduljalil Suleiman - AM - Deir Baalba: Kasara - 2012-05-01 - Field Execution - He was martyred weeks ago. His corpse was found today.
  • Mohammad Rashed Al-Othman - AM - Deir Baalba: Kasara - 2012-05-01 - Field Execution - He was martyred weeks ago. His corpse was found today.
  • Mohammad Suleiman Al-Othman - AM - Deir Baalba: Kasara - 2012-05-01 - Field Execution - He was martyred weeks ago. His corpse was found today.
  • Mohammad Mahmoud Aasraha - AM - 2012-04-30 - Kidnapping - Execution - His corpse was kidnapped by shabiha and found today at the military hospital

Four are specified as from #Kasaara, which is the neighborhood named by alleged witness "Abo Haitham" as where 200+ were killed all around him, on April 2. These 4 are the only VDC-listed victims in this time span that specify Kasara.

  • Total = 6

A few not included in the tally here: Anad Mashhour Al-Aleewi - 2012-05-01 - Shooting. Jassem Ameen Al-Hasan - AM - 2012-05-01 - Shooting. Perhaps more relevant by name, Zakaria Sulaiman - AM - Deir Baalba - 2012-04-27 - Shelling- Martyrdom location: Homs: Saan. this may be As-Si'in (but that's in Hama, north of Salamiya), or perhaps an area of Mukharram al-Fawqani, due west of Homs, that San stadium is named for. Either could be a place to flee to after whoever took over and killed several other Suleimans.

General Late Finds

Anonymous, Adult-Male, killed 04-13 by Shelling, no details but video. It's icky - he's badly decayed, with maggots, bloating and discoloration, apparent burning prior. Balding middle-aged man, I'd say he died about 6 days before filming. Posted April 13 Youtube time. Cause of death unclear, but shelling doesn't sound right. There are possible torture marks on the right thigh and the upper belly. Possibly missing right eye. No sign of shelling injuries - his throat could be sliced, or his eye shot out. He may serve as a benchmark for the death time of the others listed this day, who have no videos and no details. All these are listed as Adult-Male.

  • 4-14 - Shooting: Ahmad Khaled Aloush - Jihad Ahmad Altaleb - Talal Ahmad Shamsan - Abd Almalek Qatash Alobeid - Mohamad Al-Hajar
  • 4-16 - Shooting: Mostafa Ahmad Deir Baalbawi
  • 4-22 - Shooting: Abdel Lattif Saadaddin Al-Saleem
  • 4-25 - Field Execution: Yasser Khalid AL-Sulaiman - Nazem Khalid Al-Suleiman - Mahmmoud Khaled Alsouliman
  • Total = 11

Sources

"Abo Haitham"

Homs Deir Baalba Abo Haitham.png
One unusual source to call on, that should be the most reliable, apparently is not. The account of alleged "sole survivor" of a singular massacre of over 200, on April 2, raises more confusing questions than it answers. In an April 7 video interview with a Homs-based media activist, seriously-injured "Abo Haitham" says he was trapped five days in Deir Baalba after surviving the massacre. He relates how, around April 2, the army shelled the area with missiles, then (from the subtitles):
...the Shabiha and supporters of the regime came in. They started to arrest and rape women, they slaughtered children in front of our eyes and raped women. They arranged us in rows. In every row there were around 60 people. I was in the middle row.[6]
Note: a singular "middle row" suggests three rows total. This implies an overall number of well over 120 (if two lines were incomplete) or perhaps around 180, the men - suggesting the number of corresponding women and children was high, perhaps equal. His implied total of those killed is at least around 200, and perhaps well over 300. This has no supports anywhere else.
They sprayed us with bullets, and we collapsed on top of each other. They shot me. Here in my eye (pointing to the nasty injury to his right eye and forehead) and here in my hand (pointing more to the bullet hole in his left shoulder). I waited until it was nightfall and then escaped and hid on the rooftop. They came early in the morning took all the bodies and burned them. ... I was the only one who escaped. I hid on the roof for five days. I crawled until I reached the young men and they aided me, God reward them. ... They slaughtered my children in front of me. I don't know where my family is. They slaughtered them all. After they slaughtered them, they looted and destroyed the houses. [6]

His shoulder wound does look like it's from a bullet, but not the eye injury. His placement in the middle of so many other people seems to be the reason he alone survived, shielded by the less fortunate humans around him. He says this mass of people were killed April 2, has their bodies taken and burned, and perhaps disappeared. And so it's not clear if this is supposed to be the one big massacre, bits of which were found over following days, or a big massacre preceding all the little ones. Whatever it's supposed to be, it seems quite likely to be a work of fiction. Later in the video, he describes the killers as Iranians, with yellow armbands and "beards down to here."

After leaving the roof, the LCC's daily report says, the alleged survivor "was finally able to make it to the field hospital in the neighbouring town." [2] Asked to name some of the families targeted, "Abo Haitham" provided: "Madiaya and Galoun families. Al-Mahabna family were all slaughtered. Many other families." This doesn't seem to be a very good listing of any group of victims in the span under study. But among those roughly 100 Deir Baalba citizens listed (by VDC) as dying the 9th and 10th, can be found the closest fits for his event a week earlier. Madiaya might be Madiha (Amer and Mohamad killed 4-9). Galoun must be Ghalion (Ibrahim, killed 4-9, an "activist" of that name also killed April 6). Al-Mahabna is less clear. It could be the oft-massacred Mahbani family (see below), although the VDC and others fail to record any deaths from them in this round. Otherwise, Al-Nabhan is the closest name with 4 killed, dated April 10 by VDC but "found days after they were killed," so possibly matches. With these minor families perhaps named, he manages to even mention the al-Abbas family, of whom a reported 20+ dominated that mass grave his names come closest to describing.

So in short, he seems to be describing an event that's supposed to be the same as the massacre(s) under study, but barely. For a humorous effect, watch his reaction simply relating that his wife was raped and missing and his kids cut to death in front of him. Sad fact. Asked to re-frame it for the world and Muslim community, at 2:25, he's bawling like a baby. It's apparently the lack of foreign bombers in the sky that hurts him most of all. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:53, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

To add, a later observation: Abo Haitham seems to be drugged. The dopey look in his eye, the sort of drunken manner of speech (short, low bursts rising from a deep muck of laziness). Note how he points towards the clear bullet hole in his shoulder - he can't lift his hand high enough and points to his unharmed bicep. As he does this, he says he was shot "here, in my hand" (in two translations it says that). Morphine might explain that. As far as who he really is, it's possible he really is a massacre survivor, compelled by his rebel captors to tell their story. But his general toughness, the sneer of disdain over "Shabiha," the scripted weeping for intervention, all suggest a dulled but normal anti-government Sunni extremist fighter mindset. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:34, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Al-Kasaara

Most sources simply state the massacres and mass graves are in Deir Baalba, and give little to no visuals to help establish locales. "Abo Haitham" is unique in naming a sub-area, perhaps the same one the others mean. The video host called the massacre site "Deir Ba'albah, Al-Kasarah." [6] The LCC's report spoke of a "Homs Massacre in Kasaara neighbourhood." VDC records support there being such a place. One rebel fighter from there was killed Jan. 2013 fighting in Damascus, Irbin. 4 civilian martyrs from Deir Baalba: Kasara appear, all-time. 4 men, 2 Suleiman, 2 Othman, killed May 1, or rather "He was martyred weeks ago. His corpse was found today." So is May 1 "today," or as given, the day he died? Likely more scattered massacre victims to add here, and possible support for "Abo Haitham's" version.

Kasaara = كسارة - it Google-translates "breaker." This name does appear on Wikimapia, in Homs province, but way over by Talkalakh, a sub-village inside the area marked El Mochayrfeh, and almost right on the Lebanon border, 35 km WSW of the nearest Dair Baalba rooftop. This must be coincidence, and the neighborhood of the same name just isn't marked, nor visually pinned down yet. Video: Demonstration, Jan. 7, 2012 "Free Press and the regime fell in Homs Derbaalbh breaker" (Huh ... he said Ball breaker). Several others, but this is one of the few that could help place it. I looked, no luck easy enough. Two more that could help: Ransacked elementary school, April 29, 2012. Alleged shelling of a masque either in or visible from Kasara, Dec. 2012.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:53, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Al-Mahabna

One of the few massacred families named by "Abo Haitham" is spoken a bit like Manbari, Mahbari, or almost Mubarak. It's spelled in one subtitle Al-Mahabna, in another as "the Manbarids." This might be a deleted or unverified family of this massacre, as there's simply no remotely consistent match in the VDC records, except maybe Nabhan. Among the even more similar names that does appear al-Mahbani. The VDC lists 35 martyrs of this name from Homs, none in this time span, and none in Deir Baalba, but ... three men were among the 130 killed in the Feb. 2012 Khalidiya Massacre. A Mahbani woman was killed in the Sebil-Cairo Street Massacre a few days later, three more scattered others in the north half of Homs in April and March, then a long pause. Suddenly 28 Mahbanis - children, women, and men, were killed in the Jan. 2013 Haswiyeh Massacre (that's almost the whole non-rebel death toll there of around 30!) in northwest Homs. No more since then.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:53, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

"Iyad"

Credited as a contributor to The Observers' June report is one "Iyad Homs," as given, a Deir Baalba resident who says he himself narrowly avoided becoming a victim. He clearly describes a different event than Abo Haytham did, apparently one sub-massacre of about 30 people on April 8. Complete account from there:

I lived in the northern part of Deir Baalba with my mother, my sister and three of my brothers. An army official came to visit the neighbourhood on April 8. He told us he had come to protect us and asked us to stay in our homes. We didn’t want any trouble with the army, so we obeyed. A few hours later, members of the security forces and “chabbihas” arrived. They took my mother, sister, and youngest brother away. I don’t know where they are today, or if they are even alive.

 

The security forces and “chabbihas” then brought around a big truck and asked my brothers, cousins, neighbours and I to put everything valuable we owned in it. Then they brought us to a stable - there were about 30 of us – and started slitting throats. One soldier told another: “We don’t have all day, let’s finish them off with bullets.” So they shot at us. Luckily, the bullet that hit me in the back didn’t kill me. But since I fell to the ground like all the others, I was covered under a pile of bodies and they thought I was dead. I recall that when the security forces left the stable, they asked another of their colleagues if he had finished “burning the others.”

 

I spent the next two days sneaking back and forth between the stable and my house, where I drank water and tried to call my cousin, who is part of the Free Syrian Army, but who wasn’t answering his phone. Mostly I stayed in the stable, though, because I was afraid that if I stayed in the house, I would be spotted by the security forces or the “chabbihas” who patrolled the streets.
Finally, another member of the Free Syrian Army answered the phone. He told me to sneak between the houses and go to an olive field on the edge of the city. The Free Syrian Army had left the Deir Baalba neighbourhood a few days before the regular army moved in. The rebel fighters had relocated to northern Homs, and were hiding out in farms. I did what he told me, and, as agreed, Free Syrian Army fighters picked me up in the olive field. They took me to a field hospital in Rastan [a city 20 kilometres north of Homs], where I was treated. I’m doing much better today, but the bullet remains inside my body. [7]

LCC Reports Narrative

This section will combine all references to Deir Baalba in the daily reports of the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, April 2 to 12. All along the way are reports of mass death in Khalidiya and Bayada, and between these northern districts, by April 2 already they reported northern town Teir Maalah had "approximately 8,000 refugees arrived last night, ... several thousand more are expected."

  • Syria News - April 2, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos) videos: Homs | Deir B’alba - A horrific and terrifying massacre was confirmed in Deir B’alba on Monday, in which the regime’s forces used heavy artillery against the residents, killing and wounding many of them, including children. The wounded are in very critical condition. This footage is of the dead and wounded immediately after the attack. One of the men’s legs are blown off and he is breathing his last breaths while residents try to revive him and treat the other wounded residents in cars, because there is no way to get to a hospital - (location unclear, but similar to above) A man and his wife with severe injuries in the legs because of the random bombardment - Homs: Families Flee Deir Baalba . Text: 150 martyrs in Syria, ... 120 were martyred in Homs among them 75 unidentified bodies were found in Homsa Hospital - Homs: Khaled Mashee'l was martyred in Deir Baalba as a result of shelling by regime forces - Homs: Heavy rocket shelling is reported in the Deir Baalba neighborhood, and there are sounds of explosions all over the area. - Homs: 13 martyrs fell due to the violent shelling on Deir Baalba neighborhood, and 2 houses were destroyed. A large number of people are escaping the area. - Homs: Young man Zakareya Obaid was martyred due to the shelling on Deir Baalba neighborhood.

Homs: Sabee Abdel Rahman Shahada, 26, was martyred during the regime army's shelling in Deir Baalba - Residents of Deir Baalbah are stripped from their clothes while under fire of bullets.They may be dead now. Abu Mohammed, activist in #Homs, says: Don't know if these people are dead or alive. Don't know if this world has any humanity left."

  • Syria News - April 5, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos) Text: The number of martyrs in Syria today as risen to 77, they are distributed as follows: 32 martyrs in Homs, 22 martyrs in Idlib, 17 martyrs in Hama, 4 martyrs in Douma in Damascus Suburbs and two martyrs in Aleppo Suburbs. Homs: Heavy artillery and mortar shelling, as well as heavy machinegun fire, are targeting the areas of Qosour, Ghouta, Houret Al-Shayah, and Qarabees. (but again no Deir Baalba mention.)
  • Syria News - April 6, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos) Video: Homs: Deir Baalba: Martyr Khaled Farhan Al-Saho - Homs: Deir Baalba: Martyr Mahmoud Tallas - Homs: Deir Baalba: Martyr Rafi' Abdo - Homs | Deir B’alba- The regime’s forces detained residents and forced them to take off their clothes and walk in front of them as human shields during clashes with the Free Syrian Army. Text: 52 so far. In Homs, there were 28 ... Homs; Yahia Abdel Ma'oun Hilal and Mounir Muhsin Al-Abd were martyred in Deir Baalba as a result of the regime's heavy shelling in the area - Homs: Heavy shelling that is claimed by the regime's army on the neighborhood of Deir Baalba is continued with a rate of 10 mortars falling in few minutes. - Homs: The activist Zahir Abo Ghilyoun was martyred after being shot by the security forces' sniper in the area of Deir Baalba. - Homs: The fall of 8 martyres due to the shelling of many neighbourhoods on the city by regime's army. Among the martyres: Jihad Hasson and Abdilelah Darbi from Bayadha, Mohammad Ibrahim and Mahmoud Suliman from Deir Baalba, Ali Aji'a from al-Qsoor and 3 unidentified bodies thus far.
  • Syria News - April 7, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos): Video: Homs, Deir Ba'lbe neighborhood: [GRAPHIC] More than 13 civilians summarily executed by regime forces. [7 April 2012] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh2LU3HcMMg - Sole Survivor of Homs Massacre in Kasaara neighbourhood. This man has been in hiding for 5 days in Deir Balbe and was finally able to make it to the field hospital in the neighbouring town. He was an eyewitness to the massacre which took place in the village and saw with his own eyes the women being raped, and the children being killed, his own wife and children among them. Then, they lined up the men in rows and started shooting indiscriminately, and finally looted and stole from the homes [7 April 2012] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bYhuLma6Ww - Homs: Deir Baalba: The Remains of Two Corpses in the Neighborhood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_HcElCH0eU - Salem Tawfeeq Zeewani – Dier B’alba – Nothing identifiable is left of this man except his jaw. His vehicle was targeted by rocket missiles after he tried to help families escape the town, and then the regime’s forces stole his body. His body was returned to his family burned and mutilated, with maggots crawling all over it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP0nC2R1yz0 (this video is private) - Deir Balbeh, #Homs: The cameraman is showing a destroyed house, when two more shells hit the same house. [7 April 2012] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMClWV_ON0c. Text: 127 people were martyred in Syria. 59 martyrs fell in Hama, 28 martyrs fell in Homs - Homs: Deir Baalba: Martyr Salem Tawfik Zabwani, who Died Under Torture After His Arrest, and his Body was Burnt. - Homs: Shelling on Deir Baalba neighborhood continues since early morning, and many wounded were reported. [2]
  • Syria News - April 8, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos) Video: Assad Bombs Deir Baalbh 8-April-12 Dictator Continues Destruction as World Watches. Text: 69 martyrs ... 19 matyrs in Homs - Homs: Another massacre was committed by the regime's army in the Deir Baalbeh neighborhood, where 9 women and children were killed in the room of a house across the Faculty of Petrochemistry. They were then shot from close distance. - Homs: Heavy shelling continues in the Deir Baalba district for the tenth day in a row, and eye-witnesses say that more than 100 people have been martyred and more than 1000 fled the area, in addition to destroying dozens of houses since the start of the military campaign. - Homs: Heavy shelling is reported in Deir Baalba, and a number of homes have been completely destroyed.
  • Syria News - April 10, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos) Video: Homs: The Martyr Abd Al-Rahman Al-Hallak- Dier Ba’albah Text: 101 martyrs ... 56 in Homs - Homs: Syrian regime didn't have enough of the massacres which committed in Homs so it punishes the city that got out despite all constraint to demand freedom with blood. A mass grave was found out by residents today in Deir B'alba neighborhood of 37 martyrs, among them there are children, women and 2 whole families. Their names are: AbdulAlim Kan'an, Ahmad Mohamad Kan'an, Ridha Khaled Kan'an, Ayman Mohamad Kan'an, Bashir Abdo Kan'an, Amina Kan'an, male child Ahmad Kan'an, male child Khaldoun Sleiman, male child Ayman Hamza, female child Rahaf Sleiman, Jassem Alhamid, Zuhair and Ayman Alomar, Nawwaf Al-Amin, Mahmoud Alhamid, Mutia Alnasser, Khaled, Ahmad, Asma, and Suhair Alnabhan, Mohamad Abbas and his 3 children, Walid Abbas, his wife Ghada Al-Othman and their child. A whole family of 6 persons from Al Ali, another family of 5 persons from Al Heijan. [5]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJRB1efZvI4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdauOxipm70 - Ahmed Al-Bazazi was murdered by Assad in Deir Ba'alba-Homs-Syria 11th April,2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFEHuJNFhv8. Text: The number of martyrs has risen to 100, most were from the Deir Baalba massacre in the second consecutive day and including 2 women, 4 children, and 5 defected soldiers; who were lost earlier and it was confirmed today that they were martyred: 57 martyrs in Homs - Homs: Deir Baalbah: The brutal crimes of the regime continue and just today 38 corpses were found after they were slaughtered by the regime's forces. This comes after the 37 civilians who were martyred yesterday under the ruins of homes in the same area. These crimes are being committed in spite of the regime's promises to the international community to retreat its forces from all the cities and stop the killing. The Local Coordination Committees are holding the regime the entire responsibility for these crimes which enormity and extensibility cannot be covered due to communications cutoff and the deliberated media blackout on the regime's atrocities. We call for the prosecution of those who are directly and indirectly responsible of these crimes. Following are the names of the martyrs discovered today: Tayser Al-Sheikh and his son Rida Al-Sheikh and his son Riyadh Mohammad Al-Rajab and his four sons Shaalan Al-Rajab Omar Kanaan Ismail Kanaan Amer Madeha Waleed Madeha Mohammad Madeha Four from the Nasser family More than 20 from the Abbas family Four from the Rahhal family Rahal Qadha - Homs: Dargham Hameed Tarbaji and Ahmad Saleh were martyred. [8]

  • Syria News - April 12, 2012 (Warning: Graphic Videos) Video: Homs: Deir Baalba: Destruction on the Main Road of the Neighborhood Due to the Shelling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwfbM1x0vPg - Text: 37 martyrs so far, most of them were martyred in a massacre in Deir Baalba in Homs. 25 martyrs in Homs... - Homs: Residents discovered a new massacre in the Deir Baalba district a short time ago. 16 corpses from the same family, including one of a woman, were found dumped in a barn. The victims had been killed by various means: slaughter, execution by machete, and gunshots to the mouth. The names of the martyrs are: Suleiman Rahmoun Al-Abbas; Amer, Maamoun, Mohamad, and Ahmad Suleiman Al-Abbas; Ali Mohamad Al-Abbas; Adnan Dibo Al-Abbas; Taha and Imad Abdel Karim Al-Abbas; Said, Walid, Abdel Khalil, and Abdel Kafi Mohamad Al-Abbas; Mohamad Walid Al-Abbas; Walid Taha Al-Abbas; and Ina'am Abdel Rahman Al-Abbas. This is the third day in a row that residents discover a massacre in the area despite the cease-fire and the Annan Peace Plan. [4]
  • Last three mass graves just found that way daily: 37 + 38 +16 = 91 proclaimed "martyrs" for the revolution. Apparently the "communications cutoff and the deliberated media blackout on the regime's atrocities" kept them from just presenting all at once and scoring a Houla Massacre scale of event. Here, it almost seems they're spreading the "discoveries" out to minimize the shock and the media profile of this event. After all, who remembers the Deir Baalba Massacre in the slightest? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:41, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Videos

(Incomplete list)

Residents of Deir Baalbah are stripped from their clothes while under fire of bullets.They may be dead now. Abu Mohammed, activist in #Homs, says: Don't know if these people are dead or alive. Don't know if this world has any humanity left. LCC April 4 (see also Tweet)
Three men dressed civilian, not really fighter-build, are made to surrender to someone off-camera. They have hands up, and on some instructions remove shirts, then shoes and pants, then walk off-frame in their underwear. The last tries to grab hid pants to take with him, or his wallet, but he's made to leave them behind. This looks like a professional arrest operation, but of just who and by who is unsure. The rebel cameraman doesn't seem to be hiding, very far away from this, ratted out by anyone, or arrested. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:48, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Note: Victim's throat is sliced. Night-time video. Crescent = هلال = Hlal. VDC entry: Yehia Abdulmonaem Helal
Approximately 12 bodies, most or all men, bound hands-behind, shot dead at the base of a wall. One wears camouflage pants.
Two destroyed men are loaded in a truck. One looks military by clothing, his whole middle turned to blasted meat pudding. The other is dusty, roughed-up, and stiiff. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:48, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Note: the VDC adds that this victim died from "Fall of shell on the ambulance he was driving." Wow. Activist, teacher, and ambulance driver. No wonder Assad hated him so much. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:48, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Looks a lot like main street after the battle of Taldou and Houla Massacre a month later. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:48, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
  • June Burial Videos: I heard about these but haven't seen them yet. "Abou Khaled" says rebels only in June got videos taken by local elders of the massacre victims being collected and buried, working alongside government forces. "Getting our hands on these videos wasn’t easy. Those who buried the bodies are the only ones to have seen them. They were worried that if the videos were released, the army would know exactly who leaked them. So we had to first convince them that we would ensure their security. And this took some time." [7]

Others

"At least 199 people" were killed in "the “Deir Baalba massacre,” as it has come to be known," which yhey learned about from two men funneled by "one of our oldest Observers in Homs." These are local activist "Abou Khaled" who described their findings, and a local man "Iyad, who says he narrowly survived a sub-massacre of about 30 people. Both are pseudonyms. [7]

Material partly worked in above, but for the activist Abou Khaled, condensed account. "My friends and I " perhaps meaning local rebels - "stayed on the periphery of the neighbourhood" away from the crime scene, during the Army's occupation. Except sometimes at night they still snuck in - "we were sometimes able to go in at night to see what was going on. That’s how we found out that lots of people had been killed." They inspected after most of the Army had left - apparently about oin the 10th as promised - that's when the LCC reports mass grave discoveries starting). The victims were all removed by then, but "you could see traces of the army’s presence everywhere. Homes had been destroyed by bombs and by fire; there were bullet holes all over the front of buildings, and there was dried blood just outside houses and in stables, where most of the killings took place."   "Of course, we understood what had happened right away," he says. "But we didn’t have proof." Reports say mass graves were being discovered on the 10th and 11th. But the lack of video suggests rebels only heard about it and were unable to prove it, or were trying to appear that way. The proof came later, from sympathetic elders of "one of the city’s pacification committees ... old sheiks that sometimes play the role of intermediaries between the authorities and the opposition." These had been tasked by the Army, before its withdrawal, "to come with trucks and tools to bury the dead." Some of these guys filmed scenes as they worked. "They told us they saw bodies with severed heads and others that were severely burnt. They also told us that some women had their hands cut off – apparently to steal their rings." They wanted the world to see this and so released the videos in June, but were worried that "the army would know who leaked them." [7] Suggested: an Army-enforce cover up.

  • Syrians find "massacre" on Homs city street Erika Solomon, Reuters, August 7, 2012. Mainly about the August 7 13 victims video. The rest of the story hadn't emerged yet. Material worked in above, except this side-note:
Another amateur video recorded by activists in the district showed scenes of carnage said to be the aftermath of a army shelling attack. Heaps of mangled limbs and body parts gathered in blankets were being loaded onto a pick-up truck.

In Deir Baalba? All I've seen similar to that is a man with one person's worth of mangled legs, taken off a truck on a blanket. But, whatever. [3]

Locations

Deir Baalba is a good-sized district in the northeast of Homs City. Its name in Arabic: ( دير بعلبة ): Deir means monastery, and Baalba Google translates "mailbox." It has a main street running northeast from central Homs, with varied areas from dense urban core on its west side to patches of farmland blending into fields to the east and north. More mixed areas and smaller, largely loyalist districts to the south, and the dense urban districts Bayada and Wadi al-Arab to the west. Reported locations tend to be vague. There is a #Kasaara neighborhood within Deir Baalba specified as the place, but ACLOS hasn't pinned this down yet.

Two broad areas of interest have emerged on Wikimapia (inviting links from people who can post current, not old, links). One large farming area north of Deir Baalba, I could swear, was once marked something like "location of massacre," unspecified. If so, it's been changed (a year ago, it says, and could be). Now it says "alah yahmik ya soria ya rab." I'll see if Lina can tell me what that says. Now, maybe always, there's another large area east of the district, the hugest square, marked in Arabic "orchards." If you open it, beneath, it says beneath "site of massacre." Which one, not clear, but this one is likely. Just west of that is a semi-built up, heavily-marked area named, Google translated, "Lane smugglers and bisexual." Extended notes say the people here something, and are considered prostitutes. There's a "lane Bliss" marked. To the north, just across the highway, is a "farm of Nazim Msheeal," when at least Msheal was killed on the 2nd. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

One specified spot is in the LCC April 8 report: A massacre in which "9 women and children were killed in the room of a house across the Faculty of Petrochemistry." This is the larger triangular area just off the highway (south side) in Central Deir Baalba. The patch on the other side, just up the road, is the cemetery - a good open area to sneak through if coming back in from outside the district. "They were then shot from close distance." There's a house marked (translated from Arabic) "home of Haj Khaled Sulaiman Al-Ashqar." The VDC lists an April 8 martyr Khalaf Alaskar from Deir Baalba, field executed, along with 13 Abbas people - among 14 with the note: "His body was found in a stable for the animals." 13 men, one woman, as opposed to "9 women and children." --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

The new map inset below incorporates the areas mentioned above - the Mshael farm, matching one known victim name, the petrochemical ... place and the spot of a home with another possible name match, to victim al-Askar, and maybe to the 9 women and children shot in a house. Further areas, primarily from current markings on Wikimapia, translated. Speculation explained below.

Schools: Activist Qabbani, educating Reuters reporter Erika Solomon, "blamed security forces for the Homs killings, saying the bodies had been found near a school that had been used by the army as an informal detention centre." [3] This may be the ransacked school rebels filmed in late April. It's said to be in the #Kasaara neighborhood the massacre may have been centered in. The location of the video hasn't been set yet.

On the map, there's a large-campus school in the middle of Deir Baalba, with possible dormitories, called Hamza Mohammad Hamza school (marked here on Google Maps, but not Wikimapia). On Wikimapia, to the northeast (marked on the map here for proximity to other areas of interest) is another school, or actually two side-by-side - named Munir Ali and Bara bin Malik - one each for boys and girls, apparently. The ransacked one seems to have been for children and might be one of these, and might be the one that matters.

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Abbasiya: The VDC records for at least one set of killings - later than our main focus here, on April 25 - was done "By the shabiha of Abbasiya area." They might be allegedly involved in more. This area as outlined on Wikimapia is shown here with pink edge; it's rather small and irregularly shaped. In contrast, Google Maps labels it too, without borders marked, but the text centered higher, up in southern Deir Baalba. For the subject at hand, the cut-off line will matter, but it's not certain either way. This allegation, the adjacent army terrain, other loyalist areas, those mysterious smugglers, prostitutes, and bisexuals, jointly suggest bad things out in the fields south of Deir Baalba, about where it says on Wikimapia the/a massacre happened.

The North: A rebel-allied "activist" called Abu Khaled told The Observers his people "stayed on the periphery of the neighbourhood" away from the crime scene, during the Army's occupation, except when "we were sometimes able to go in at night to see what was going on. That’s how we found out that lots of people had been killed." The Observers' other witness, Iyad, allegedly survived an April 8 massacre at his home in in "the northern part of Deir Baalba." He also specified where the rebels had gone: "a few days before the regular army moved in," local FSA rebels had already fled, and "had relocated to northern Homs, and were hiding out in farms." From there, he says they met him in an olive grove (he had to walk out, they didn't pick him up on one of their night runs) and took him to the clinic in Rastan, quite a ways north. [7]

The Cemetery: The school-farm area marked here, easily accessible from the northern farms, might make a great a rebel massacre and operations site. From there, a unit of black-clad jihadists, for example, could easily trot down that short road south, at night, bank right and jog through the small cemetery just off Main Street. If needed, a sprint to and down back streets could place them to slink into and infest a home right across from the faculty of petrochemistry. As that place was presumably under government control, it might seem that no one could be killed right next door to it without the regime's blessing. That would help the case that rebels made after the massacre.

Timing

As Erika Solomon put it in a Reuters report of April 7: ...Deir Baalba was torn by shock and grief on Saturday, three days before Assad has promised to start withdrawing his army from urban areas under a U.N.-backed ceasefire plan. ... United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday warned that "the April 10 timeline ... is not an excuse for continued killing". [3]

Related?

Suleiman Family

The Suleiman-Abbas sub-family was already identified above (early-April) as a main part of an apparent Suleiman family massacre in Deir Baalba, which seems to partly be this, but also has its own track just crossing here. They will be worked in together, or apart, in time and with more analysis.

In a different area of Homs, Jobar, the April 2 LCC summary noted "The corpses of the two siblings Abdul Barea Sulaiman Al-Rifaie (42) and Abdul Hakeem Sulaiman Al-Rifaei were delivered after they were murdered at the regime's prisons. [1] This Suleiman appears a lot if these days, not appearing all at once, but smeared across weeks of April on the VDC's martyr's list. best search for Suleimans in Deir Baalbesh from April 2 forward. This shows a total 17 names, close to the 13 "shelling victims" someone knew about right away, coming in small batched up to May 1. Here, almost all are recognized as "field executed." Relations aren't clear, but the majority contain some mix of Suleiman and Abbas/Alabas. Dates and notes say things like "shelling" (no explanation) April 6 - "His body was found in a stable for the animals" (April 8) - "Their bodies found days after they were killed" (April 10) - "His corpse was found with 28 others" (April 26) - "He was martyred weeks ago. His corpse was found today." (May 1) - all adult males but for one, Rahaf Sulieman, child-female, Field Execution, "...found days after they were killed" (April 10).

Hospital Finds

The April 26 find of 29 bodies seems to mostly involve the other family that appears and ties into the first reports from April 2. 8 names appear, all men, executed, all but two are name Kanaan (like Omar Saeed Kanaan). Or perhaps the connection with Suleiman is coincidence and we just have this massacre on April 26. There's no mention of a time delay.

References