May 22 Bus Hijacking
I did not realize this connection before - the guys McCain met were still holding some of the Lebanese Shia men kidnapped a year earlier, on May 22, 2012. NYT story from May 23:
- Activists reached in the Aleppo area said the Lebanese were grabbed on suspicion that they were Hezbollah “shabiha,” or thugs, working for the Syrian government.
- On 22 May 2012 a group of terrorists stopped a passenger’s bus near the Turkish borders north of Syria and the passengers were held by a group of anti-Islamic Wahhabi terrorists with direct links to Turkish prime minister office and the Qatari Emir. The terrorists then released the women and children and kept 11 men captive, 2 of them managed to escape after a Syrian Arab Army operation in Azaz last year that killed one of the terrorists leaders responsible of the kidnapping.
I can't prove a connection, but have postulated one, between this and the notorious Houla massacre 3 day later, as explained here. Short summary: It seems likely that the 11 men, and the released women and children, were all Lebanese. If so, there was never any word on what happened to any other (Syrian) passengers (if there were any), or to the driver, or the bus. So it might be of interest that a bus driver, a Syrian woman, and her five children, were all found executed, with signs of torture, in Masyaf, Hama, on May 24. It's said they were on their way home from the Sahl al-Ghab plain, which runs north to the Turkish border, and that driver was driving them on his bus, on May 22, when they were all abducted by someone. There's no word what happened to this bus. Like, was it used to transport fighters? Masyaf is just north of al-Houla, which had an attack force from the north (from or via Aqrab), which might have included the foreign contingent of the 6-800 rebels that attacked Taldou, al-Houla, on May 25 (see Houla, May 25: Who Was in Control?.
Could these two stories be the same? Maybe not. Now I see the famous hijacking is said to be in or near Azaz, due north of Aleppo and across from Killis, Turkey, while the other sounded more like it was a ways southwest, just south of Reyhanli. Were two buses seized on this day in two different areas? Was one or both of them connected to the child-slaughterers of Houla? Did they cross from Turkey specially for this job? If so, did Turkey know that? Did McCain? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:45, 20 August 2016 (UTC)