Talk:Latakia Massacres

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This is a talk page for discussing Latakia Massacres. For sources, claims and narratives see the main page. (To see what is hot, see recent changes)

Rebel attack in Latakia

Latakia Massacres Map Info.png

In the pre-dawn of August 4, 2013, rebel forces including FSA and Al-Qaeda units, working in tandem, launched their boldest push yet into Latakia province. This is the coastal homeland of the Alawi people, including the ruling Assad family, and had remained relatively peaceful until then. A report in the Guardian says the invasion was dubbed "Operation Liberation of the Coast." [1] The Islamists at least among them adopted the title "battle of Aisha," a wife of the prophet Mohammed's ("mother of believers") who helped lead an early battle by Sunni rebels against the Caliph Ali, whom Shia revere. Many note that this attack came at the end of the religious holiday of Laylat al-Qadr, night of greatness, when, the Wikipedia article says, Muslims "pray, and hope God will give them anything they may desire on this night." This caps Ramadan and starts the feasting period of Eid al-Fitr.

The major intent of the offensive, as stated, was to shake up the Latakia Alawi community's previous sense of security, imposing a "balance of terror," as one opposition leader put it. (see below, "promotion...") The geographic targets were Latakia city for its major ports, and nearby Qardaha, the Assad family's hometown, for more symbolic reasons. One rebel fighter explained the goal was "to reach Qardaha and hurt them (Alawi) like they are hurting us (Sunnis)." [2].

Al-Monitor heard from "a Syrian source living in Latakia and loyal to the regime" who spoke of "villages that the opposition had overrun as a result of the treachery of some “weak souls.”" [3] The Guardian's Steele reported details on that, from special forces officer "Hassan": "The attacks started with treachery. There was a unit of 40 troops. A Sunni defected from it and took 30 other Sunnis with him." How he did so is unexplained, but "a few days later they were part of the attack that started with the village of Hambushiya." [1] in contrast, Human Rights Watch heard just two defectors helped from inside, flanking the remaining 40 or so as the attackers closed in. Survivors estimate 30 were killed (not defected). An officer told them “We were just 10 in the end ... Some were injured, [including me] and we had to withdraw. We fled toward Barouda, down the hill, and hid.” (p. 15) [4]

Within two or three days of massive surprise attacks, the insurgents captured eleven or twelve Alawi towns at once in the moutains of central Latakia. An Associated Press article described the offensive on the 6th as "a symbolic blow to the regime and a boost to the rebels," and the Los Angeles Times reported that it "provided a propaganda coup for the opposition at a time when insurgents have been losing ground in more strategically critical areas." [5] It didn't last. Syrian military sources say the rebel advance was halted when they encountered stiff resistance at the hilltop town of Nabi Younis (here on Wikimapia?), which soon pushed back. [6] By the 18th, all towns were declared free of rebel fighters, but also remained virtually free of living people. Al-Hamboushiya, where it started, put up the fiercest fight and fell last with the town devastated.


Reportedly, rape, mass abductions, and brutal mass killings and were how rebel units celebrated their "symbolic blow." Some 150-200 bodies of children, women, and men - many butchered with blades - would be found in mass graves after the reclamation of the towns (see below. There were many more found around for days and weeks who had not been included in the mass graves. Hussein Mortada for Sham Times heard that the dead "in all the villages combined number approximately 400 people." [7] This might or might not be an exaggeration.

For a possible glimpse into the nature of the death meted out on entire families, the Guardian's Jonathan Steele interviewed three Syrian officers involved in the operation, who described scenes of horror as they entered:

Shadi, a 32-year-old officer in a local defence unit that is separate from the Syrian army, was lightly wounded during the government's counter-attack. "When we got into the village of Balouta I saw a baby's head hanging from a tree. There was a woman's body which had been sliced in half from head to toe and each half was hanging from separate apple trees. It made me feel I wanted to do something wild," he recalled.
Ali, a member of the regular army, said he also saw the baby's head. [1]

It's reasonable to wonder if some of the more horrific details are exaggerated for propaganda purposes. But each report comes back with such things, and in the climate of extreme hate and religious fanaticism gripping Syria, such charges should not be dismissed too lightly. All these actions have at least alleged precedent, and most or not far off from what many rebels openly promise for the Alawi and boast of after, once at least while chewing on one's organs. In Baruda, it was said children were executed in front of their parents. [7] In Hamboushiya, A pregnant woman was reportedly sliced open so the fetus could be executed separately. [8] [7] Mother Agnes, speaking to RT, spoke of "a video that shows a girl being dismembered alive – alive! – by a frame saw." [9] --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:56, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Steele heard that the other 10 soldiers of that unit of 40, who refused to join the defector were Alawi, and were among those killed. "Hassan said he could listen to the rebel's radio communications. "I heard a rebel telling another rebel: 'Kill this one, but not that one.'" [1]

There are theories and reported family claims that some of those kidnapped, especially children, wound up dead on video as victims of the infamous chemical attacks on the Ghouta area of Damascus, two weeks later. This issue, championed most famously by Mother Agnes and the Syrian Mussalaha ISTeams, is explored on this page. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:56, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Death Toll

One the 175-240 "soldiers and militiamen who were manning roadblocks" rebels said they killed in Latakia (al-Mayadeen video [6])

This could use a section to work out the different tallies and what seems most accurate. Up front I'd say everyone rebels killed needs to be included. Civilians and military deserve some distinction of course, but I don't see self-defense as a legit reason to shoot an armed man, or woman or child, and maybe they should have all been armed and strapped with C-4, who's opposing your genocidal pogrom. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:46, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Early pro-government counts put the number of people killed in a broad range of 200-400. Human Rights Watch, as they noted in their report, "has collected the names of 190 civilians who were killed by opposition forces in their offensive on the villages, including 57 women and at least 18 children, and 14 elderly men." (p. 2) They also gave some credibility to a hospital acount that was 15 higher, perhaps including some not yet identified with a name. "A doctor working in the National Hospital in Latakia ... told Human Rights Watch that they had received 205 corpses of civilians killed during the August 4-August 18 operation." (p. 4) [4] As noted throughout, killings happened primarily on the brutal first day, into the second, and fairly little past then. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:46, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

The civilian victims were overwhelmingly not fighting age men, who tended to be away fighting in less peaceful areas; instead, theses were the wives, children, and parents they left behind. Al-Mayadeen's video shows one corpse that's clearly an older woman's (inset above). Since death she's also lost her face and arm flesh, and perhaps her entire hand to scavengers, presumably, hence the skeleton parts. But her son-in-law Fouad Sleim (if I'm linking the right cases) thinks she was stabbed and her hand was cut off (while his nearby father was beheaded, HRW thought - p. 46/47) [4] --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:20, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Reuters' Khaled Oweis heard, in the operation's first days, about the same 200-ish death toll, but described by rebels as entirely of armed men they killed in combat. "We killed 200 (of Assad's men) on Sunday alone, and yesterday at least 40," said a rebel fighter in the area." [2] He may not really know, referring to this victory in "the city" of Latakia, not in villages miles north. And what actual term the fighter used is of great interest -"Assad's men" might not be the best translation if he said, for example, "Shabiha." That can mean Alawites, women and children included. More specific in denying that was "Ahmad Abdelqader, an activist with the Ahrar al-Jabal Brigade, one of the groups involved in the operation," who knew what to say for his bosses. He "put the death toll at 175, describing them as soldiers and militiamen who were manning roadblocks linking the mountain villages," said Oweis, in a paraphrase. [2]--Caustic Logic (talk) 07:46, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

HRW states "opposition forces killed approximately 30 soldiers during the fighting," but not clearly that those were the only 30, These all seem to be from a group of about 40 at Sheikh Nabhan Mountain (out of 100-110 in "this and two neighboring positions protecting the area."). From this post, one of the soldiers recounted how only ten escaped, most of them injured, after being attacked from behind by two defectors and overrun by hundreds of Islamists. (p. 14/15) [4] Jonathan Steele of the Guardian heard 30 soldiers, all Sunni, followed a single defector, and the remaining 10 (Alawites) were killed. [1] These stories perhaps refer to different units, or show some extreme confusion. If so, I disfavor the version Steele heard. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:46, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Some dead soldiers have been shown in photos and videos, and 30 seems a reasonable minimum number, not the exact one HRW's report almost makes it sound. I'd say 30-60 sounds fair, considering two posts were overrun and a third (Mt. Nabi Younes) attacked. But it might be lower elsewhere; more so than villagers army units have the ability to cover their own escape and not die. If we include armed civilians who tried to defend their towns, it could be half the adult male civilians killed would qualify as gun-toting, but just pure soldiers 30-75, possibly more but nowhere near the cited 175-240. That number must have referred to something else. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:46, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

And then there are the captives, another 200 or so, opposition sources say (and it could be higher, but I've heard of no complainst over additional missing people). I suspect many of those 200 have already been killed and many others likely will be - they've seen too much, been raped too much, etc. Certainly the threat is implicit even in the word "hostages." One case to consider: HRW hears that "opposition fighters captured Monzer Sheriff Darwish who was fleeing with his pregnant wife, Hala al-Sheikh Ahmad," killed him and kept her and their children alive as hostages. But reports from the first days specify she had already been slaughtered by her captors: "Hala: Munther Darwish' wife: she was pregnant, the terrorists cut her stomach after killing her and grabbed the baby out and threw him away." [8] Some exchanges will likely work out but the number may be small - as many as 175 hostages might not make it, and I suspect a good 1/5 at least will be killed off for various reasons - add 40-175 to death toll estimate. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:46, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

200 + (40-175) = 240-375 civilians. + 30-75 soldiers = an estimated 270-450 human beings killed in and as a result of this rebel advance, before the counter-fighting even began, and excluding casualties rebels brought on themselves in the process. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:46, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Upward revision of the high end: there are I think at least some adult male victims (military and police, of the Shakouhi family, in Beit Shekouhi, where it seems no deaths or abductions are reported) and perhaps their families, for some reason not listed by the semi-official sources feeding HRW. Considering this, and that Mortada heard of up to 400 dead, that they could kill all 200 hostages, those reports might be more plausible, especially if that includes the slaughtered soldiers, who might number, say, 75, with, say, 300 civilians (let's say 375 total). Considering that possibility with the above, the range I propose is 270-575 human beings killed by the rebel assault --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

And that's besides the probably couple hundred Islamist rebels, also technically Human Beings, who were killed back. About 50-75 of these, a slight majority Syrian, are recorded at the opposition VDC database dying in the August fighting in Latakia, with some numbers stopping suddenly at August 7 (after which it got worse for them). Some were with Jabhat al-Nura or ISIS, most with various batallions of "FSA," the records there say. They hailed from at least eight countries (is one Australia?) before they fell while butchering people from right there, or opening the way for it anyway. (see Rebel Deaths, below) All in all, with soldiers killed in the re-taking, this bold move might have led to over 1,000 deaths. But it's the most innocent, vulnerable, and cruelly abused among those, the aching core of unclear hundreds of often tiny lives, that matter. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, 1,000+ is clearly overstating it. Upper end of all people on all sides revision to ... somewhere in the triple digits.--Caustic Logic (talk) 12:31, 1 November 2013 (UTC)


Jonathan Steele heard from soldier Hassan that he overheard one rebel ask another what to do "about the girls" and get as an answer "I'm sending a truck to pick them up." "Several were taken and raped, and have not been seen again," Hassan said." [1] Hussein Mortada, Sham Times (Syria) heard about a number of women captured for sex slaves, "one of whom killed herself to avoid such a fate," as well as children of both sexes taken for the same reason. [7] At least 150 people, apparently 200 and perhaps more, mainly women and children, were acknowledged as hostages (see below). Many more are listed as missing, quite possibly taken without acknowledgment, which can hardly be good for their future prospects. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:56, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

This aspect of the rebel attack was totally absent from Human Rights Watch's report, released October 11, at least by a word search for the words "rape" and "sex" (zero instances each). [4] In contrast, a critical article published the day before at Counterpunch featured it prominently, while complaining of the Western silence ('til that time) on the massacres in Latakia. Author Reem Haddad described the Alawite's nightmare; "Their villages (Abu Makeh, Obin, Beit Shakouhi, Bloutah, Hamboushieh to mention only some) were raided, their houses burned, their men killed and their women raped!" Most interestingly, she adds a bizarre note on how rebel supporters dealt with the awareness that would happen:

Oh, but there was a condition to the rape of Alawite women! They must not be pregnant!! So wrote a Kuwaiti, who funded these armed terrorist groups Dr. Shafi Al Ajamy on twitter on the 4th of August-they must not be pregnant lest there be a mix-up in lineage(scientifically incorrect)!! [10]

Indeed, that is unsound reasoning, and might be related to the reported removal of at least one fetus there. HRW again mentions none of this, but describes a "Shafi al-Ajami" as "another Kuwaiti and prominent fundraiser for the campaign" who tweeted, on August 4, about details of the planning and groups involved. [4] No easily-found source confirm his rape if not-pregnant fatwa, but I may ask the author. Interestingly, I did find a report that al-Ajami was suspended from being an Imam by more level-heded religious authorities, before this August 22 report, for his overly "fiery" rhetoric," to "pollute the minds of our young people" and cause problems in fellow Arab states and in Kuwait itself. Possibly the less acknowledged reason was his adventure in actually organizing the genocide and rape safaris he whips people up for. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:31, 1 November 2013 (UTC)


There are plenty of reports on victims being fully beheaded, and there's little need to list them all, but I take special interest here in some possible visual verification that takes more work. Love work. A recent collection of images posted at Live Leak by user Syrian Fight shows several recent instances of beheading in Syria, mainly in October, along with info on their soures (Jihadi forums) and context. One was posted October 18, but said to be from February. But as SyrianFight notes, the victim - muddy and bloodied, missing his head - is wearing a t-shirt. The scene has few details, but it could be one of the Alawite villages overrun in August. That seemed to be the point of SyrianFight's musing "the clothes of the victim would apply to the last two months." They would also apply to the couple of months before that, but he's thinking August. So am I, but it's not at all sure. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:40, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Another picture there is the other way around - a head without a body, held up for the camera. A middle-aged man with buzzed short hair, previously brutalized face, and a grimace of pain frozen on, filmed at night. The date is interesting: "published on the 8th of August by the twitter user @ansar6599." It was posted early, 2:01AM Syria time. In Latakia, Alawites were being killed from August 4 onward. Content translated:

Application of the commandment of prognostic brother-Erian
Salughter Shabih Nusayri lieutenant
In order to save ammunition, we used the knife in the sacrifice

This "prognostic Erian" is a real person on Twitter who apparently foresaw/suggested this. The picture was sent by Ansar6599 to ( @ ) another friend, Lashkega, who also chatted with Erian, saying on August 2 ... something about God, victory, and pleasure. Then Lashkega stayed unusually silent for five days as the campaign in Latakia was launched on the 4th. He reappeared only on the 7th, speaking of Muslim recruitment in Miami (?). Just then, he was sent the image proving Erian's orders were carried out, wherever. Hmmm... might be nothing, but it could be a roundabout clue. Deeper digging might solve that, but that's it for me. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:40, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

We have a no-later than date, and a rank. I can check the CDV lists for possible matches: all 55 regime deaths, Aug 4-8 all 17 of those from Latakia (primarily Alawi) Both lists ordered by rank, all deaths given as "shooting," beheading or not. The big list shows five first lieutenants and two second ones killed in this span. The only two of any possible interest for this page are from Latakia, already mentioned on the page:

Some other examples anyway: HRW report: "Fourteen residents and first responders told Human Rights Watch that they witnessed executions or saw bodies that bore signs of execution after opposition forces were pushed out of the area on August 18 by government forces, including in some cases corpses that were bound, and bodies that had been decapitated." They have one Karim Sleim seeming to be decapitated, his wife's hand also severed. And Jonathan Steele reported for the Guardian about a baby beheaded, head hung from a tree, witnessed by two soldiers he spoke to.

Promotion of the Attack

It's all about Qardaha. Case in point: Yalla Souriay, all posts tagged Qardaha. Close enough they were able to verify (?) that one of their grad rockets hit Hafez al-Assad's very grave. See also, Qardaha, below.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:03, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Latakia Idriss.png

FSA General Idris Visits Latakia Rebel Controlled Territory, August 11. This is only northern Latakia, the description says. Idriss is there looking nerdy with a cap, ceremonial dagger hanging at his side, probably a gift from one of the local foreigners. They're posed and talking on a mountain slope with a long view, to prove it's Latakia. They're probably talking about how exciting the new offensive is, hopefully without speaking of infidels and cleansing and such. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:03, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

The video is off-line, but here seems to be a copy. -- 07:16, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Poor quality, sadly. I didn't catch who that was and why they might buckle to any pressure to remove it. Found a good still image from Press TV, inset.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:12, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Al-Monitor noted:

the FSA’s Chief of Staff Gen. Salim Idris, during a visit to Latakia’s countryside just dozens of kilometers away from Assad’s hometown of Qardaha, vowed to provide the opposition fighters with a constant flow of arms for them to continue the battle “to completely liberate the coastal region, and deprive militias loyal to the regime of their safe havens on the coast and all of Syria.” [3]

Al-Monitor, Aug. 14: Syrian Opposition Condemns 
Jihadists Targeting Alawites:

A member of the opposition Syrian National Council, Saleh al-Mubarak, told Al-Monitor that he endorses the opposition’s attack on Latakia’s countryside “so that the battle may be moved to the ruling family’s heartland, and the Alawites be given notice that they cannot be safe if the rest of the people are unsafe.”
[Prior to the attacks,] the Salafist Sheikh Anas Airout, who is a leader in the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, had, on July 1, 2013, called on fighters of the dissident Free Syrian Army (FSA) to concentrate their war effort on the strongholds of the Alawite sect to create a “balance of terror” that would change the course of the conflict.
Airout, also a member of the Syrian National Coalition, addressed opposition forces through Reuters by saying, “We must concentrate on their villages, their homes, their strongholds. We must strike at their infrastructure, and prevent them from living a normal and peaceful life.” He added, “They will turn on [Assad] if we attack their strongholds. We have to drive them out of their homes like they drove us out. They have to feel the pain that we feel. The battle cannot be won unless this is accomplished.”

He later clarified, as CNN Arabic reported, (Google translated) "(He) denied that it has instigated the attacks targeting the strongholds of the Alawite sect in Syria ... "As I deny what was attributed to the statements, inciting the content on the Alawite sect;... I stress my commitment to the full the principles of Syrian Revolution and full equality for all Syrians..." As if offering a qualifier, he added "... and in conformity with the law of God." And he complained: "It is surprising that the some of the media of distorting talk about the position and eradication of context, in order to scoop obtained from some of the characters considered in Syrian Revolution."

Rebel Groups Involved

Al-Mayadeen's documentary, as transcribed:

The Army and journalist entered the area near Balouta, ... Battles went on for two weeks in this village. ... Various banners and scrawled messages are around indicating which gangs of terrorists were in this village. ... Some of the names of the gangs were displayed; “Jabhat al Nusra”, “Dawat al Islam”, “Katibet Soukour al-Iz”, “The Islamic State of Iraq and Sham” and “Haraqat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyyah” ...... More foodstuffs are found. The packaging is written in Turkish." [6]

Syrian sources report that a number of those killed in fighting were foreigners, notably at least one Libyan "emir" or supreme leader there of the "Mujiheddin brigade" of primarily foreign fighters. (see below.) Mortada wrote:

The sources also indicate that “most of the dead are foreign fighters, fighting in groups affiliated to AlQuieda”, and this was evident via photographs which emerged of the dead, most of them being of Libyan and Saudi-Arabian nationality. [7]

Human Rights Watch's October Report dealt in some detail and nearly half their report with which groups were involved in what, and who facilitated and funded them. Pages 61-73 deal with "Opposition Groups Involved in August 4 Attacks," pages 74-86 with "Other Groups Involved in the “Operation to Liberate the Coast”," and pages 87-96 deal with "Financial Support to Operation," "Access of Foreign Fighters to Syria," (Turkey) and why what was facilitated constitutes "War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity." [4]

The work seems impressive, too much to bother copying over or analyzing further here. But it might be worth it to some extent. Christof Lehman for one finds serious shortcomings in the report, mainly in this area, focusing on disposable "small fish" and not big backers, especially West-friendly state backers. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:58, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Short form: they have clear evidence implicating these five groups by being present at the start, when most killings happened on the 4th: 1) Islamic State/ISIS 2) Jabhat al-Nusra 3) Ahrar al-Sham 4) Suquor al-Izz 5) Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar FSA, not so clear, an issue I explore here. Short form: they claim to be involved from day 2, seem vague about day 1. They claim to be in control of the area, but later couldn't confirm or deny whether there was any massacre. They act confident none of their FSA fighters were involved, but don't seem to care if their allies were, and seem to disfavor an investigation. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:42, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Identified by our research: "Authenticity and Development Front." --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:42, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Fedaa Majzoub, FSA/SNC/SIC

One of the big backers involved, working the organizational end via the FSA came from Australia, has been heralded there as an "honest broker" and is/was a member of the SNC and founder of the Turkey-based "Syrian Islamic Council" - Fedaa Majzoub. Tim Anderson writes for Pravda "Majzoub has been implicated in the mass atrocities at Ballouta and Kessab, both near the Turkish border." His younger brother was killed fighting near Salma, Latakia, in August 2012; a "respected cleric" doing "humanitarian work" (VDC entry says he was Egyptian, something Anderson doesn't mention) His brother likewise is "the respected Aussie imam smeared by the Assad regime." The smear, Anderson writes:

In December 2013 Syria's Communications Minister Omran al Zoubi told an Australian delegation, of which I was a member, that 'the jihadist Sheikh Fedaa al Majzoub is responsible for the kidnapping of 106 people and, unfortunately, he was using Australian telephone networks. The worst of this is that the Australian Government is well aware of this. But it has turned a blind eye.'

Mazjoub denies involvement in this (although he his brother did praise the capture of "72 from the Shabiha" on his Facebook page, and had a friend ask 'Have they been slaughtered yet?' And of course his brother previously died fighting in that area (the 2013 attack was launched from rebel Salma) But regarding the March, 2014 attack on Armenian Christian Kesab, a Turkish journalist wrote 'I interviewed one of the top officials of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Fedaa Majzoub, who organized the evacuation of the Armenians from the town, first to a safe village and finally to Turkey.' This of course involved arresting and holding them captive upon conquest. Activist Lily Martin Sahiounie told Anderson " Kessab had no military significance ... I believe that Fedaa Majzoub plotted to keep those 24 elderly people hostage, [so] they could later use them in a prisoner exchange." --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:41, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Correcting the above, it was his little brother Mustafa Majzoub who knew about captured Shabiha. His family including Fedaa denies he was fighting but he was. VDC has death date Aug. 19, and 12 days earlier, Fedaa was there with him in Salma, where an Aussie journalist interviewed him as he was there "building bridges between the SNC and FSA" - see "SNC kidnapper?" section here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:55, 7 November 2015 (UTC)


Hussein Mortada, Sham Times

This interesting and detailed report, "A Documentary Report on Al Nusra Massacres in Lattakia," was filed (in Arabic) for Sham (Syria) times, on August 8. The original link doesn't work, but an English translated version is included on a page still available. [7]

The spontaneous bombardment contributed to mass exodus from the villages, and as they were besieged, the civilians found themselves in the hands of the armed Islamists. The armed men considered themselves victorious. One of the survivors of the massacres has stated that the armed men committed crimes against humanity in villages they entered; including the liquidation of the entire family of retired army general Youssef Al Qusseiby, who was slaughtered along with his family. The survivor added that the armed men slaughtered over 136 individuals, most of whom were women and children, also relaying that a pregnant woman was slaughtered following the slitting of her belly and the killing of her fetus . Additionally, many people are missing and their whereabouts remains unknown.

Mostly, this report's contents are mixed into this page at the relevant spots. It's apparent contribution to the findings of Mother Agnes' commission are discussed immediately below. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:18, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

And before I forget, as for Mortada's street credibility, he's got it: he was shot in the leg last September in the same rebel shooting in Damascus that killed Press TV's Maya Nasser, when they both went to report on the military HQ bombing. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:56, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Mother Agnes Commission

Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of St. James Monastery in Qara, Syria, spoke of an investigation she launched that shows details matching other information, but adds horrific unverified details. This has been vaguely related, at least, speaking to RT (Russia Today) on September 6:

RT: Recently you’ve visited Latakia and the adjacent areas, you’ve talked to the eyewitnesses to the massacre of civilians carried out in Latakia by Jabhat al-Nusra. What can you tell us about it?
MA: What I want to ask first of all is how the international community can ignore the brutal killing spree in Latakia on Laylat al-Qadr early in the morning of August 5, an attack that affected more than 500 people, including children, women and the elderly. They were all slaughtered. The atrocities committed exceed any scale. But there was close to nothing about it in the international mass media. There was only one small article in “The Independent”, I believe. ... I don’t understand why the Western media apply double standards in this case – they talk about mass murder that the use of chemical weapons resulted in non-stop, but they keep quiet about the Latakia massacre.
A total of twelve Alawite villages were subjected to this horrendous attack. That was a true slaughterhouse. People were mutilated and beheaded. There is even a video that shows a girl being dismembered alive – alive! – by a frame saw. The final death toll exceeded 400, with 150 to 200 people taken hostage. Later some of the hostages were killed, their deaths filmed.
At the moment we are looking for the hostages and negotiating their release with the militants, but so far we haven’t managed to achieve that. [9]
As for the video (bolded) it's possible, and I hope, the victim looked kind of Japanese and she's having a Charlie Sheen moment after seeing in installment of the Guniea Pig series. I suppose it's possible to contact someone and see it myself to check (gulp) --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:13, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Soon, of course, she was making headlines with the claim that many of the child victims especially were gassed and passed off as victims of the Ghouta attack.

Some questions bout this research commission: Mother Agnes says "We sent our delegation to these villages, and our people had a look at the situation on-site, talked to the locals, and most importantly – talked to the survivors of the massacre." But in multiple cases she seems to be simply re-stating what Moratda's report for Sham Times (above) had said.

  • Mortada wrote "The number of martyrs in all the villages combined number approximately 400 people" and Agnes reported "The final death toll exceeded 400."
  • HM: "In the village of Kharata, a small housing collective, the residents of which number no more than thirty-seven, all were liquidated. In Balouta, ... ten people survived the slaughter wounded, three have since died in hospital." MA: "In the village of al-Khratta almost all the 37 locals were killed. Only ten people were able to escape." (copied and conflated?)
  • HM: "The village of Asterba was also subjected to slaughter and every home was set on fire." MA: "In the village of Estreba they massacred all the residents and burnt down their houses." No victims lists thus released mention a single such thing and some explain why - Isterbeh was burned, but only after everyone was able to escape. Mortada was probably mixed-up and then that was just repeated. The teams that went there and the info they gathered did little to correct this large portion that seems to be just sloppily copied from an obscure report. Unless Mortada is considered part of the Mussalaha ISTeams, making his work partly theirs, just dual-use. That could be actually. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:18, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Human Rights Watch Field Investigation

Over two months after these heinous events, Human Rights Watch has not issued any report or press release. They have, however, claimed to be on it and can now be expected to say something of some weight. While blaming the government in September for the early May Baniyas and Bayda massacres - of government loyalists in an area under rebel control just before the time HRW THINKS the killing happened - they illustrated their fairness so:

Human Rights Watch has also documented executions carried out by opposition fighters in areas under their control in Homs and Aleppo governorates and has just concluded a field investigation into executions committed by opposition fighters during their offensive in Northern Latakia in early August.

"Field" probably means field trip to Turkey. To speak with alleged refugees from the area in rebel-run camps? That's usually how it goes, but even HRW might not find that plausible in this case. Anyway, here is a nest for their report when and if it's released. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:39, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

The report was released October 11. It was researched and written by Lama Fakih, Syria and Lebanon researcher in the Middle East and North Africa Division. Based on actual visits to five of the effected towns on Sept. 7 and 8, numerous interviews, and review of videos and photos. It's an excellent piece of work all-in-all, a 113-page PDF. Nadim Houry had nothing to do with the investigation - he just edited along with two others and didn't ruin it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:38, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

One possible blind spot: Despite the ample reports that men were killed while their wives and children were taken captive, the report makes no mention of rape, as fact or possibility, and they're called "hostages" in line with the rebel description, even though there's little sign of negotiations and their status remains so unclear they could be used as sex slaves or otherwise dead or worse by now. Though to be fair, while that's charged by the anti-rebel sources, for women, girls, and boys, it seems generally presumed or just known rather than proven with any evidence. And it is a powerful propaganda claim to make, true or not. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:38, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

And the report is making news all over, a bit tedious and page-glutting to bother with a list or anything. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:52, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Criticism by Christof Lehmann: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:18, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
I had a look, and he may have a good point. His main issue seems to be the lack of broader blame for international sponsors of the operation and of groups like those involved, downplaying the obvious unified command structure needed, and of downplaying the amount of financing there must have been. There is the letter to Turkey about their facilitation of said groups, mentions of financiers mainly in the Persian Gulf, and talk of a unified control room. Lehman says they only fingered small fish. I don't challenge or accept his math, or assessments of who should be implicated here but isn't. I know HRW is capable of protecting its sponsors and their friends, and it seems they're all but incapable of violating that impulse. So I guess he's probably right. Recently they spoke of holding to account rebels credibly implicated in/admitting to/making undeniable horrible crimes (like these). But they continue co-operating with rebel efforts to keep themselves off-frame and blame "the regime" in cases where they're able to pull that off (like al-Bayda, recently). "Be more discrete" seems to be the message of that. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:50, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
I get confused - send "Syria" to the ICC? What does that mean? The Hague/ICC arresting arrest warrants for the leaders of these brigades? Or looking at all stuff in Syrian and charging whoever it decides, or what? Sounds like the latter:
One final recommendation we do have for the Security Council is that they send a clear message to those that would perpetrate these types of abuses on all sides of the conflict by referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). 'The International Criminal Court would be able to investigate fighters on all (or either/or) sides that are responsible for these serious violations (with whatever emphasis, whatever timing, whatever evolving methods, whatever follow-through for each of the sides).

Yes, we urge the Syrians to accept this giant wooden horse that says "justice for Latakia victims" painted on one leg. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:51, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Fakih: We’ve identified five groups we think are principally responsible. These are: Aher-e-sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, jaishe-e-mohajarim and Sucuralize.

"Securalize" (not Secularrize!) is an awesome company name to run intel covert black ops. There might be a company of that name in this game, but it's odd HRW types would finger them like that. Ah ... Must be suqour al-Izz (IIRC). I think they should be referred to SAA, NDF, and whoever else wants to help, who would be able to investigate just what kills the fuckers. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:51, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Najm al-Din Azad and his Photos

One of Azad's redacted photos

Najm al-Din/Alden Azad ("نجم الدين آزاد" in Arabic) is new to us. On his Twitter account, he's been posting - then removing - pictures of slaughtered infidels in Latakia, apparently claiming to be involved, and sharing photos of his days fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s, where he lost half his right leg. He's a character. A few articles:--Caustic Logic (talk) 11:54, 11 August 2013 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:04, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Afeta has had a number of tapes and photographs published on the social networking sites, which show the horrible and barbaric what the terrorists are doing today in this region, which is not a military objective worth of the attack. Perhaps the last of these tapes is published by the terrorist Saudi famous "Najm al-Din Azad", one of the first generation of Afghan Arabs, on his account in Twitter of pictures of some civilians in the villages of rural Latakia, who boasted that he oversaw the slaughter himself, according to the news agency Asia on 9 -8-2013.
The real name for "Najm al-Din Azad" is "Adel Al-Otaibi," income was about two months ago to the Syrian territory and fighting within the battalion "Ezz hawks" which is considered a cornerstone of the most egregious criminal battalions in the Syrian coast. The pictures showed (disgusting) presented by Azad on his Twitter account, has been mostly civilians to be slaughtered with a knife from their necks, in one of the villages that have occurred over the past few days clashes. [12]

Adel Al-Outaybi, per the last two sources (citing an original source we haven't located yet) is probably related to Juhayman al-Uteybi, a colorful characeter (blacked-out) from Saudi Arabian history, who was beheaded just as the pipleline of malcontents - including other Utaybis - was turned away from inward, and onto commie invaders half a world away in Afghanistan. Back at it again. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:54, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Also, Uteybi is an Ikhwan tribe, known 100 years ago for slicing open pregnant women, as one report says happened in Latakia (and prev. in al-Bayda...) FWIW. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:54, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Asia news, original article - I think I found it. Already did one but lost it again, had to dig all over. It's a Lebanese site,, with a cedar tree in the A. August 8, 3:25. Google translated, one repair:--Caustic Logic (talk) 00:22, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Pictures .. Saudi jihadist recognize the slaughter of civilians in the countryside of Lattakia
Issued "Free Army" on the Syrian coast, a statement in which it undertakes, he said, to protect all civilians, and all of them asylum requests from families.
(said to target only military, not civilians, and denounced lies to the contrary)
In the meantime, Saudi jihadist was the famous "Najm al-Din Azad" one of the henchmen of global jihad, and the first generation of Afghan Arabs, published on his Twitter account photographs of some civilians in the villages of the countryside of Latakia, who boasted that he oversaw the massacre himself.
Knowing that "Najm al-Din Azad", whose real name "Adel Al-Otaibi" turnoff for nearly two months to the Syrian territory and fighting within the battalion Hawks splendor, which is an essential element of the battalions Islamic militant in the Syrian coast and is led by Saudi Arabia, "Saqr Jihad," which was published by some media news for his death under the name "Abdul Aziz Said," a story is not true as a battalion commander Hawks Ezz still alive where spotted Agency Asia new updates on his Twitter after widespread news of his death, in addition to that it can not be stressed that the real name of Saqr Jihad is Abdulaziz Said may be intended by the media someone else.
The pictures show presented by Azad on his Twitter account, civilians, most of them have been subjected to slaughter knife from their necks, in an unnamed village Azad, and clashes that have occurred over the past few days.
Has confirmed Azad in Ngredath that the bodies of the dead filled the streets in the villages over the course of his participation in the clashes, with reference to that Azad had lost his leg a long time ago and travels by motorbike.

Photos Discussion

Great adds, all packaged up, thanks for that. The dude is a person of interest. I haven't examined these yet, but I will. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:58, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Where are the photos? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:01, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah, got disoriented. Things were moved. Getting re-oriented, will see if I like. Talk page, talking. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:03, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

I was just getting ready to do some analysis on these, checked the original source, and they're gone. Someone suggested it might be helpful if the "freedom fighters" aren't showing half-decpitated soldiers and executed civilians. Luckily all (?) have been saved around at different resolutions. We have most but not all up here in the best resolution available (thanks, Petri). More later... --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:04, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Belated observation: I have a few, but nothing amazing. One thing is to me it seems the bodies shown are at least a day old. The really mangled guy looks even older, if not discolored, but serious wounds will do that - they invite decay faster than intact and defensive flesh. I'm guessing 24-36 hours? Posted early on the 7th, the pictures might have been taken just then, or the previous day, but not much before that. Depending where, it seems the bulk of killing, of people still running on their own two feet, would be on the 4th and 5th. It could be the "overseeing" of the massacre that Oteybi was tasked with was more of a verification, well behind front lines. But if so, he didn't do a very discrete job of it. In fact, he did the world a service with his (accidental?) sort-of whistle-blowing here. I hope he sees fit to release the other pictures eventually. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:35, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Civilian Captives

There's already a partly filled-in section for this on the front page, but more details and discussion might be needed, so I'm making a place here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:18, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

What's the best word for these people? Wards? Captives? Hostages? Jawari (sex slaves)? Likely a mix. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:49, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Pickup Truck Video

An opposition activist with the Islamist brigades in Latakia filmed at least 33 seconds of about a dozen women and children looking unhappy in the back of a rebel pickup truck.

They're either preparing to drive them somewhere or, more likely, just arriving, likely from the south. Rebel fighters in proper-looking camouflage are standing around. One woman seems injured or in serious discomfort, but that'll happen during booty capture operations. At 0:18 you can see blood on the truck's bed, from previous human hauls. I'm sure this isn't the original posting. I don't care which is original really, just which is earliest and gives us a no-later-than time for the footage. This posting is from August 13, but I've seen it before under another name (and forgot to include it here). --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:07, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Hostage House Video

See image below of some of the prisoners who were set up as a backdrop for the masked terrorist on the front porch. Short video, full translation, thanks to a friend:

Reporter: I am standing near the village Qardahah, which is the birthplace of al-Assad. Around Qardahah there are many villages and towns, they are pro-Syrian regime. The Islamic battalions forces in this region are trying to control these villages and towns in a battle called (Aisha, the mother of believers). They managed So far to control 11 towns and killed many of the regime's forces and captured dozens.
the reporter, like the rebels, was playing up how close they were to Qardaha. Yeah, close enough there's a signs saying it's that way. Another points to Aleppo, so what? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:22, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
The lady says: We are the people of the villages Al-Hmboushiya, An-Nabata, Gota (?), Berseh, Baruda, Alkharatah (?). We were taken by the Mujahideen. they captured us when they were in our villages. We will not be released unless the Syrian regime let the mujahedin prisoners out ... we are about 105. And they treat us well. We demand the international community and the Syrian authorities to work to release us in exchange for the release of prisoners of Mujahideen.
Latakia Captives.png
Masked terrorist says: thanks and praise of God we broke into Burj An-Nabata and a number of neighboring villages, we found fierce resistance from the Shabiha of these villages. Thanks to God we broke into these villages and found women and children. Men had fled and left the women and children. We captured women and children, and put them in a good place and good health care ... and we treat them according to Islamic law and the Islamic religion...
Which in their minds fully allows for non-Sunni women, found or taken in battle, to be kept as sexslaves, whatever they may think. Nice story here. They killed "Shabiha," often code for armed Alawite men. After that, the civilian men were gone, cowards leaving behind their cherished families to become war booty. In fact, they killed some of their own kin right before the Mujahideen arrived.If only they'd been faster! --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:22, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
...I remember an incident in one of the houses ... we found that a father killed 3 sons and one remained wounded but alive. We treat them better than their parents, no shortage of anything, and soon communications will be delivered to them to communicate with their families. Our demands: We have people locked up in Latakia and other places and therefore we demand the exchange of prisoners to free these women.
And if their terms aren't met, well, they will be treated in accordance with Islamic law, I guess. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:22, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
The link to the video is dead. Arabi Souri uploaded it here. --CE (talk) 11:35, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip. Replacement is better in ways, linked above. Turns out I was missing a letter here. Fixed it. Several other postings here. One from that list: Apparently al-Jazeera used at least some of this footage in a report dated Aug. 10. So this was filmed earlier, on the 9th or 10th. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:31, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Named Victims

Badreddin Ghazal

Alawite cleric Ghazal in captivity (right) and earlier in military fatigue next to Ural (left)
Held in a rebel pickup truck
From Syrian Perspective [13]
Killed by Jabhat al-Nusra (graphic), also from SyrPer

One pro-rebel source, F. Najia, noted happily on August 6:

By Monday, the second day of their surprise offensive ... the rebels had captured some 11 Alawite villages (including) Baruda, where the rebels seized visiting Alawite cleric Badreddin Ghazal, a diehard Assad militant. [14]

Otherwise and more commonly known as Sheikh Badr Ghazal, this Alawite cleric doubling as a militia member is probably more of a picture poser in that context than real fighter (he was 80 years old by some reports). He was reportedly a popular figure in rallying the Alawite community to confident self-defense.

Ghazal was shown by F. Najia in military fatigues "standing alongside Mihraç Ural aka Ali al-Kayyali, the man I dubbed in May “the ethnic cleanser of Banias,” who was also suspected of masterminding the twin Turkish bombings in Reyhanli." The "ethnic cleansing" of May, 2013, which he was linked to by that photo, has been examined at this site on the pages for Al-Bayda Massacre and Baniyas massacre, in Sunni dominated area of Alawite-heavy Tartous province (south of Latakia). The most prominent victim with the most relatives slaughtered - sheikh Omar Biassi, imam of al-Bayda's mosue - was a stubborn government loyalist Sunni. There is, to go with that, much evidence the rebels of the al-Bayda and Baniyas area, not the security forces, oversaw the mass-killings of civilians there. Ghazal's comrade Ural did speak of cleansing the area, but clearly he meant of the terorists - Sunni as it so happens - who they believed were the ones hacking people's faces open on their turf. The other alleged Ural crime is a terrorist car bombing in terrorist-infested Reyhanli, so ... --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:34, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

There were apparently rumors of the cleric's execution circulating by August 14 at the latest. Al-Monitor reported then a member of the opposition Syrian National Council, Saleh al-Mubarak, clarified “he is a prisoner and was not killed. He is a criminal if he supports the regime with his fatwas, just as Mufti Ahmad Hassoun does.”[3] The alleged serious criminal was slated to help free some women held by the military, F. Najia reported on the 6th: "there is already talk of a “prisoner swap” underway, which would see Ghazal released in exchange for setting free the women held by Assad’s shabiha in Latakia’s sports stadium." [14] (That's a case we have no info on yet, and possibly a confused reference to the Islamist offer to the government to "free these women" - see below).

Instead, some reports say, he was tortured and killed shortly after his capture. The pro-government and well-informed Syrian Perspective blog reported on August 19 a near-angelic portrait (inset, bottom) captioned "Shaykh Badruddeen Al-Ghazaal,  tortured and murdered, on August 5, 2013, and left to rot, by Obama's "freedom fighters".  His body was covered with blood.  This is the work of the miscreant, Anti-Christ, Barack Obama." [13]--Caustic Logic (talk) 12:34, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Aug.26, SOHR reports:

Latakia province: reports that al-Nusra front assassinated the A'lawi Shek and Mufti Badr Ghazal, who was kidnapped on the 5th of this month after rebel fighters stormed several A'lawi villages in northern Reef Latakia. Ghazal appeared alive in a footage taken by al-Nusra front and appeared as well in other pictures lying on the ground shot dead. [15]

I have yet to see these photos. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:07, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Petri found the photos, see right (open in a new window if you want the detail - he looks a bit more stabbed dead than shot dead). --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:14, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Adam, have you seen this? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:46, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

I've seen it now, thanks P. Might be worth translating. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:58, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I didn't see it and now it's "private". It could be the same as the one I just found on the channel with the fifth "ghost house" video. If so, good that it's private so at least I didn't come here for nothing. If not, there you go. ;o) --CE (talk) 15:41, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Different video yet I think. That one had, IIRC, Ghazal and also another cleric, videos of them speaking showing their criminal statements I guess, and some maybe current questioning. This is more directly relevant, thanks.--Caustic Logic (talk) 23:41, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

For Mother Syria

An August 7 Facebook post by the pro-government "For Mother Syria" contains an advanced summary of the killings so far, published in English, with "Names of the victims of the massacres which wiped out entire families, committed by #Al_Nusra_Front backed by hundreds of terrorists from (#Baghdad_and_Al_Sham_Islamic_State_Army ) terrorist group against the civillians in 8 villages in the countryside north-eastern city of #Latakia and #Slenfeh. This happened at the dawn of Sunday 4/8/2013" The list they share is as follows, I counted 104 entries: [8] --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:00, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, was a bit slow to get the format here. For each town is listed people killed, then people abducted (fates very threatened), except where that's unknown. So 104 refers to know names in both categories. As noted, quite incomplete so far. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:05, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Victims names in village "#Nabata":

  1. - Hafez Mehrez Shehadeh, 80 years old.
  2. - Kamal Mohammed Shehadeh and his wife and their three children:
  3. Rend a 11-year-old girl.
  4. Nasr 9 years.
  5. Mohammed 7 years.
  6. - Jafar alSheikh .... a child of 4 years,he was scared so he asked for water to drink ..., a bearded man stabbed him to death.
  7. - Yassin Najdat Shehadeh.
  8. - Jaudat Shehadeh.
  9. - Emad El Sheikh.
  10. - Tamadur Salim Shehadeh,17 years old.
  11. -Khitam Adeeb Shehadeh.
  12. - Ibrahim AlSheikh.

(block listings hereafter?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Names of kidnapped people from village "#Nabata": 1 - Hajja Sheikh Ibrahim (Hafiz Shehadeh's wife). 2- Fahima Mohamed Osman. 3- Ramza al Sheikh and (4)her daughter Tayma. 5- Child: Amer Ghassan Yahya 6- Ahmed Shehadeh and (7) his wife Shaza Hattab and (8) their little baby :9 months old. 9- Ali Hattab 10- Kazem Mehrez Shehadeh and (11) his wife Dyaa Sweid and their three children: (12)Ola - (13)Haider - (14) Zain: one year old. 15- Mona Fatima (Kidnapped After they slaughtered her husband) 17- Samara alSheikh. 18- Lotus alSheikh. 19- Marah alSheikh. 20- Anaam alSheikh, 13 years old. 21- Bashar al-Sheikh,11 years old. 22- Ahmed Alhiekh. 23- Aktham AlSheikh.

Victims names in village "#Alhmbushiah" mostly children: 1- Hani Shakouhi. 2- Hamza Maryam. 3-Tahir Maryam. 4- Munther Darwish . 5- Hala: Munther Darwish' wife, she was pregnant, the terrorists cut her stomach after killing her and grabbed the baby out and threw him away. 6- Ayman Maryam (a little boy). 7- Lina Qadera (a little girl). 8- Ahmad Maryam (a little boy). 9- Refaat Maryam. 10-Dalaa Maryam (a little girl). 11-Marah Maryam (a little girl). 12-Farah Maryam (a little girl). 13- Mohammad Maryam (a little boy). 14- Jaafar Ismail (a little boy). 15- Wesal Tamer. 16- Taim Shakouhi (one year old boy). 17- Tamer Shakouhi (3 years old boy). 18- Lamia Shehadeh and all of her children. 19- Intesar Maryam. 20- Asrar Maryam. 21- Narjes Maryam. 22- Wahieb Maryam. 23- Nazier Arifu. 24- Adel Maryam. 25- Wael Maryam.

Names of kidnapped people from village "#Alhmbushiah" by Al-Nusra Front: 1- Fadel Shakouhi. 2- Wazifa Shakouhi. 3- Kenanah Shakouhi. 4- Afief Shakouhi. 5- Moustafa Shakouhi. 6- Faten Maryam. 7- Wedad Maryam. 8- Elien Maryam. 9- Doaa Maryam.

Victims names in village "#AlBalouta" ,Where entire families were wiped out : 1- Azab Salim. 2-Taim Salim (1 year old). 3- Sameir Salim. 4- Haider Salim. 5- Wafik Ibrahim and his 3 children: 6- Shadi Ibrahim. 7- Meqdad Ibrahim. 8- Ghaidaq Ibrahim. 9- Nihad Deip. 10- Fawzia Deip. 11- Ghadir Deip. 12- Amjad Deip. 13- Ziena Deip 14- Ziad Deip (1 year old). 15- Hussein Ibrahim. 16- Mariam Ibrahim. 17- Zahra Ibrahim. 18- Ismail Ibrahim.

Names of the kidnapped people from this village are not known yet.

Victims names in village "#Bermseh" 1- Solaiman Fatima and (2) his wife Samira Ghanem. 3- Mohamed Fatima and (4)his wife Fekriah Yassin. 5- Nadi Fatima, and (6) his wife and (7) (8) their two sons. 9- Basem Fatima and (10) his wife and (11)(12)(13) their 3 children.

Names of the kidnapped people from this village are not known yet.

Victims names in village of "#Abu_Mecki": 1- Asaad Solaiman Qadra. 2- Mohamed Kamel Qadra. 3- Faeqa Haidar, a school teacher.

I could not document more information about the fate of this village.

Village "#Aubin" was burned by the terrorists and we don't know anything about the civilians fate there, yet.

Village "#Esterbeh" close to #Salma. the civilians escaped but the terrorists occupied the village.

These information are documented but it's not the final and complete report.


The Syrian Center for Violations of Documentation doesn't seem to list any, or many, of these reported victims. They have three relevant databases when massacres, fighting, and hostage taking occur as all reportedly did: Martyrs (civilians and rebels, generally everyone killed by the regime), regime forces fatalities (not martyrs, no cause), and detainees. Each of these I checked for Lattakia, August 4-10 (arbitrarily). --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:39, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Mainly (37 out of 43) this seems to be rebel fighters killed in some "clashes with regime's army" in the area, including places like Amarow (like Mohammad Yehya Shamdeen, shot August 7). The remaining 6 civilian victims in a week of fighting, all adult males, no familiar names. (Naseef x 2, Fedow, Ibrahim, Ammar, Jbara). --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:39, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Improved: Aug. 4-Aug. 18, from Latakia, died in Latakia, civilian: ZERO. Civilians from Latakia, killed elsewhere: 7. Civilians from anywhere, died in Latakia: 0. It was those who came to Latakia to fight and bring a "balance of terror" who were martyred there, not any civilians from there or anywhere. Except the Salma media center guy and a couple of others I've seen ... I wonder how they could fall through the cracks and not appear? Blank martyrdom locations? There could be others these searches missed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:27, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Here is where our reported massacre names appear. Shihada: Sharaf Aziz Shihada, Cause of Death 4, Rank Shooting (elsewhere, First Lieutenant), location Qurdaha (!) August 8. Then there's Shakohy, appears prominently: one is a policeman, another is too, one's a first lieutenant, one a brigadier general (earliest killed, Aug.4), one unknown, and another, the big list says, is FSA. All killed in "Hiffa: Shakohy" (Beit Shakuhi, I guess?), mostly on Aug. 6, as part of "regime's army." Town family of a family town, it seems. Kids were killed, not listed here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:39, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Improved: All regime scum from Latakia, died in Latakia, during the rebel offensive and government reclamation, Aug. 4-18: 34). Didn't work though - one says Damascus suburbs. WTH? From there killed anywhere is only one larger, 35 hits. From anywhere, killed there, includes from Tartous, killed in Damascus, so nevermind on that. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:27, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I forgot Missing! That's the perfect category to vaguely document there's a chance that person's dead but our rebel sources don't want to claim any knowledge. Latakia, Aug 4-10, all classes of people listed: zero results. They went for not reporting them at all. Hey, SCDV, they're holding out on you! --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:42, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Also, to note: I was curious what expanding the search past Aug 10 would do, considering the fighting that raged at least until the 18th. Latakia, Aug. 11-18, the following week martyrs, including rebel fighters, Libyan emirs, civilans acknoledged as massacred or killed in crossfire, etc. Two; a rebel fighter (non-civilian), a suspected rebel seen dead on video, apparently shot by soldiers, either executed or as he ran, or tried to shoot, we don't know. Both died on or by August 11, and that was it, seven days of nothing reported. regime forces killed, Latakia, Aug 11-18 - Hm, 12. Some are from there but killed elsewhere. Some were killed in the Latakia suburbs, it says. One Shabih, several unknowns. No one, it seems, in Jabal Akhrad. As soon as they're nothing to brag about, they stop documenting. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:42, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Have I been doing all this wrong? I don't think there's an exact right way, but I was using location, which means from. Some fighters at least shoould be from elsewhere in Syria or outside (if listed). Some maryr locations are blank, but some specify Latakia, so I tried that: It says 48 people died there during the whole two-week offensive, all non-civilian, rebel fighters, some foreigners, those mentioned by HRW. I guess the few local civilians were among those killed who knows where. This I will include below. This list shows deaths past the 11th, up to the 18th. Interesting difference. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:41, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Maryam Family

All listed on Aug. 7 are from Alhmbushiah - 15 killed of the 25 listed, with two others possibly married in and some children of odd names: Hamza, Tahir, Ayman, Ahmad, Refaat, Dalaa, Marah, Farah, Mohammed, Intesar, Asrar, Narjes, Wahieb, Adel, Wael. Kidnapped, 4 out of nine: Faten, Wedad, Eilen, Doaa.

Shakuhi Family

This family stands out for possibly having a town named after them, or vice-versa,. One of the contested villages is Beit Shakuhi, for which the Aug. 7 reports have nothing to say, but which the government was forced to re-conquer, which it did by Aug. 16. Beit means house, house of Shakohi, and there is a Shakouhi family targeted, but with at least three victims listed in Alhmbushiah: Hani, Taim Shakouhi (one year old boy), Tamer Shakouhi (3 years old boy). Others were kidnapped in Alhmbushiah: 5 out of nine: Fadel, Wazifa, Kenanah, Afief, Moustafa. [8]

The SCDV also lists members of a Shakohy family killed in early August, including a (different?) Hani, killed... not clear where, but from "Hiffa: Shakohy." Hiffa/Haffa is the closest big town to the one in question (2 km southwest), so it's likely the same place. Somehow, he's described as FSA (in the big list cited here, for "regime forces fatalities" not "martyrs." Then there's William, no clear match above, a policeman from Shakohy, Ayham, anther cop from that same town, and Baha, a first lieutenant. Consider Asif (not the kidnapped Afief we hope?), rank unknown, from Shakohy, shot August 6. The others also were all killed that same day. The one exception, killed August 4 as the assault started, Brigadier General Ayman Shakohy from Shakohy, killed by shooting, probably in Shakohy like the rest. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:21, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

The targeted town family of a family town, it almost seems. Some on the SCDV regime forces list were from this area, but killed while fighting elsewhere. These are too many from one family and town getting shot the same day, with no location aside from home specified. Soldiers/non-civilian perhaps, but they were massacred in their hometown as civilians/off-duty, as they were when rebel rolled through in the dark hours unannounced. Those in the security field were duly listed as victories who deserved it, their wives and little kids... there's no SCDV list yet for that class of victim. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:29, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Shehadeh Family

Listed on August 7 as killed in an-Nabata, 10: Hafez Mehrez age 80, Kamal Mohammed, his wife, children Rend 11, Nasr 9, Mohammed 7 - Yassin Najdat, Jaudat, Tamadur Salim, Khitam Adeeb - Kidnapped Nabata (10): Hajja Sheikh Ibrahim (Hafiz Shehadeh's wife), Ahmed, his wife Shaza Hattab, their little baby 9m, Ali Hattab, Kazem Mehrez, his wife Dyaa Sweid, their three children: (12)Ola - (13)Haider - (14) Zain: one year old. - Kidnapped in Alhmbushiah: Lamia Shehadeh and all of her children (unclear if those are the following entries, meaning she married a Maryam) [8]

This family also has a possible listing at the SCDV, regime forces list. Compared to the Shakuhi's six possible members, they have one, Sharaf Aziz Shihada, afirst lieutenant. From Qardaha, with death date just a bit late (Aug. 8) and location unclear, he could have been at home like the Shakuhis, fighting far away, or living/defending/etc. near his kin in the Nabata area. He's of rank. Just another lucky hit that day, or another captive of rank murdered? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:12, 25 August 2013 (UTC)


Jabal al-Akrad Map Labeled.png
SAA counteroffensive 15 August 2013
SAA counteroffensive 18 August 2013

There are a lot of locations involved in these events. It might be worth the sorting of various town name translations, locations, reports and details, videos from, etc. Each town should have a sub-heading. I'll start it now. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:01, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Sources above and below plus this will form the initial core: Al-Mayadeen, Aug. 6: "The Syrian army said Monday it repulsed the attacks and has cleared some of the villages where the opposition entered, confirmed the sites belonging to the opposition control of the villages... 10 areas listed:

استربة (Esterbeh) - وبومكة (Bomkh) - وبيت الشكوحي (Beit Alchukouha) - وبلوطة، -(wblwth?) - وبارودة ( wbarwdh? ) - وعرامة ( Arama ) - ودرج نباتا ( "a plant tray" = wdrj nbata = An-Nabata?) - ودرج تلا ( Tray Tala = wdrj tla ) - والحمبوشي (Alhmbusha) - وجبل دورين (Mount Doreen) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:01, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Lastto be recognized: Bomkh = AboMakkah. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:38, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

And Wikimapia entries collected first they tend to appear in a tight area, center-south-center of Jabal al-Akhrad (area). Nearest crossing to Turkey, about 10 miles due north. Areas I can find easily: Salma - Durin - Talla - others in the same area: Balluta, Ubin (Aubin), Isterba, so far. Anyway, that's the area to check. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:37, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Here is the map I just wrapped up. The dots are the towns, likely a bit mixed up, really, but partly classed by massacres reported (red) vs. rebel conquest, fighting, not sure if massacre or not, etc. (orange). (better area map later) Labels are changing as I work, in the last few days. The boundary of Jabal al-Akrad changed, for one. The big outline here is what is said the other day. Now the edge is way north, so the action is almost entirely just south of the place. Salma, just within and to the north, is something of a rebel hotbed, I hear, a possible launch point. Note the Turkish border not 15 km from the area. I can hardly imagine the heavy weapons and Saudi/multinational fighters could have just hung out long in Salma. Could they have penetrated the barrier, overrun a post, and swung down there in one 40-minute surge? Anyway, as inexact as the red and orange dots are, the pattern is probably relevant. They apparently came in from the northwest, took firm control in the middle/first hit area, where the massacres happened: Alhmbushiah, an-Nabata, Balouta, etc. From there, they pushed in all directions, encountering vacated cities with no one to massacre, and resistance. Thoughts? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:33, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

The SyrPer guy who has been (unsurprisingly) very tight-lipped about this whole thing has just posted a map he says shows the current frontline of the "counter-offensive". As we see the area to the north-east towards Idlib is also in "rebel" hands so they didn't have to come across the border for that operation. --CE (talk) 18:41, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, good point. I'm hazy on this corner, but Jisr al-Shughour is right there, and Idlib almost as close, with its countryside so heavily overrun, could facilitate a small army's movement. Could be an open channel anywhere in there for mercenaries who crossed over anywhere further east, especially Tal-Abyad. Still a ways to go un-checked. And either way, I see Salma as the last point passed before the swing in on the massacre zone from the northwest. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:37, 19 August 2013 (UTC)


Rebel hotbed? Reported attacked by Syrian land and air forces repeatedly during their counteroffensive. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:37, 19 August 2013 (UTC) reports that Salma is the "last bastion" in the region and the operation to liberate it is about to begin. The article mentions at least two of the villages listed below as recaptured yesterday (Alhmbushiah, Baluta). --CE (talk) 08:53, 21 August 2013 (UTC)


A Syrian source living in Latakia and loyal to the regime revealed to Al-Monitor that military developments in the battle for Latakia’s countryside were expected to occur within days; not only to liberate some of the large farms and small villages that the opposition had overrun as a result of the treachery of some “weak souls”, but also to attack the town of Salma. The latter has become a significant stronghold for “terrorist” gunmen, and is the location of important command and control centers being run by European, Saudi and Qatari experts. [3]
A little skeptical on that, but hey, I'm just passing it on. And it could be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:28, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Army Positions

Human Rights Watch's investigation heard there were about 100-110 soldiers manning three mountaintop Army protecting the area of the massacres. All three came under attack in the rebel offensive, and two were overrun.

  • Mount Durin

Name: وجبل دورين = Mount Doreen/Durin. Location: Durin? The biggest town in the area aside from Salma, just across the way. I thought maybe there's a Doreen/Durin town and a mountain on the same name but maybe not. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:02, 13 August 2013 (UTC) Video: First Brigade storming Mount Doreen battles in Latakia very very cool 7:10, August 7. Dead soldiers near the end - one cleanly executed, the other messed up somehow, perhaps partly burned across the torso. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:05, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

SyrPer states the place as Tal Dureen.[13] Does Tal mean mountain? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:53, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Jabal is the usual word for mountain. Tal (Tal Dahab, Taldou? etc.) not sure. My guess is actually valley. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:44, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Tal means indeed valley - in German. This suggests that our Tal here is somewhat based on an Arabic word for mountain but more specifically describes an ancient city centre. --CE (talk) 00:52, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
It is in German? That's funny. My guess wasn't very good in this case, but I like gambling. Being right makes me feel smart, being wrong spurs rebuttals and hence discussion. :) I'll look at that source, do another quick thing, and pop back. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:47, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I'll just trust that. Vaguely as I read, mound, mount, heap of an ancient city center, etc. Thanks, CE. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:56, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Sheikh Nabhan Mountain

Alawi religious site and Army post on the peak of the mountain named for a revered cleric whose tome (Maqam) is located there. Sheikh Badr al-Ghazal was in charge of it, Human Rights Watch reports. They show a photo of its blasted side, and note

...opposition fighters appear to have intentionally desecrated and dug up the sheikh’s grave. The member of the National Defense Forces who spoke to Human Rights Watch also showed us religious books in the maqam that he said were torn up by opposition fighters when they controlled the area. On August 21, the YouTube channel of Suquor al-Izz, one of the opposition groups that took part in the fighting, published a video with their logo on it in which the intentional destruction of the Maqam is filmed. (p. 28/29

From the domed roof and seclusion among trees, mention of a peak and proximity to Barouda (where al-Ghazal was staying), it must be the small domed building in the center of the stricken area on what seems to be a peak (on Google Maps). --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:49, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Nabi Younes

A mountain base apparently a ways east of the main area of fighting (on Wikimapia), important to control of the whole area. Rebels attacked on August 5 or earlier (SOHR). Reports say they were rebuffed here and started losing ground after. --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:49, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Note: off-frame for the map here to a couple of km the east, it seems they passed through or around a few more towns without occupying them to be close enough to attack directly. Maybe they just shelled it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:39, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Latakia Massacres Map Info.png

Occupied Towns, Massacres and Abductions

Abu Makka

  • Reports: For Mother Syria: Abu_Mecki, 3 killed including a school teacher, kidnapped unknown. [8]
  • Location: Abu-Makkah


  • Name: والحمبوشي = Alhmbusha / al-Hamboshiya
  • Reports: 25 killed, "mostly children," one victim "was pregnant, the terrorists cut her stomach after killing her and grabbed the baby out and threw him away." At least nine were kidnapped, confirmed and named [8] Mortada: "the Syrian Army managed to regain all of this territory, with the exception of Al Hamboushia, which was regained after it was completely destroyed by the armed men." ... "in Alhamoushia at least fifty people were killed." Location unclear: "a pregnant woman was slaughtered following the slitting of her belly and the killing of her fetus." [7]
  • Video: Urgent Alhmbushah village side of the extermination of Alawites in the countryside of Lattakia, Posted Aug 6, 0:15. Two executed men, civilian dress, apparently sectarian motives.
Al-Qaeda logo on video, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's picture placed on one of the bodies. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:27, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Aug. 18: SANA gives "al-Hamushieh" as one of the towns re-claimed by this day in fighting. SOHR cites "Confirmed reports that a Libyan Emir of the ISIS was killed by the al-Hamboshiya clashes." Location of at least one mass grave of civilians killed in the area.
  • Location: Hambushiyah - in the center of the massacre area. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:04, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
With two portions to it on Wikimapia, it seems one portion (if one looks to house only 37) might be the not-labeled town Kharata.


  • Name: انباتة = Anpath (Google Translate, spelled) = Anabata (app. sound pronounced by GT) = An-Nabata/Nabata - aka? ودرج نباتا = "a plant tray" = wdrj nbata (romanized)
  • Video: Moment storming estate An-Nabata Nusayris village Latakia hell Alawites (August 6)
  • Reports: "For Mother Syria" reported at least 13 killed (five children), 23 people kidnapped. [8] ISTeams/Mother Agnes: "Anbateh" - 41 names, 8 martyr, 24 kidnapped, the remaining 8 "missing" (uncertain) [16]
  • Location: Nabatah



  • Reports: FMS: "Village "#Aubin" was burned by the terrorists and we don't know anything about the civilians fate there, yet." [8] ISTeams/Mother Agnes: five names, ages uncleear, all "missing" (uncertain status) [16]
  • Location: Ubin on Wikimapia


  • Name: وبلوطة، = wblwth (romanized) = 'Blouth' = Balouta/Baluta?
  • Reports: at least 18 civilians massacred, kidnapped unknown. [8] IS Teams/Mother Agnes report: 65 affected people, 8+ killed, 2 listed "kidnapped," the rest "missing" (unsure). [16] Re-claimed on Aug. 18.[17]Mortada: "In Balouta, a retired army general was slaughtered, following which the residents of the village were rounded up in its centre, the children were killed in front of their parents; those who tried to run were shot to death. Despite this, ten people survived the slaughter wounded, three have since died in hospital." [7] A soldier involved told the UK Guardian "When we got into the village of Balouta I saw a baby's head hanging from a tree. There was a woman's body which had been sliced in half from head to toe and each half was hanging from separate apple trees. It made me feel I wanted to do something wild," he recalled." [1] Two decaying victims filmed by al-Mayadeen TV crew here (40:28 in the video). [6]
  • Location: Balluta


  • Name: وبارودة = wbarwdh (romanized) = 'Baroudh' = Barodeh (SANA) [17] = Baruda (AFP) [18]
  • Reports: Location from which Alawite cleric Badreddin Ghazal was abducted, but no clear massacre report. re-claimed on Aug. 18. Mortada: "Sheikh Muwafaq Ghazal added that the number of martyrs from the massacre at Barouda exceeded fifty women and children, and male and female youth were bound and taken as sex slaves, their fate still unknown." [7]
  • Location: Barudah


  • Reports: at least 13 civilians massacred, kidnapped unknown. [8]
  • Location: Barmasah

Beit Shakuhi

  • Reports: SOHR Aug 5: "Regime forces regained control of the Beit al-Shekuhi village after violent clashes with rebels." Apparently they lost it again. SANA reports order restored only on Aug. 16. Six members of a likely-related Shakuhi/Shakohy family, all me and mostly military or police, were killed, perhaps here in Beit (house) Shakuhi. An opposition group lists them all as "regime forces," shot dead on August 6. The opposition group did not mention the families of these six men or any other people effected. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:42, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Location:Bayt-Shakuhi
  • Same place? وبيت الشكوحي = Beit Alchukouha (al-Shakuhi - alshakouha - Alchakoua....) It pops up nowhere else, likely the same, collapsing previous entry for it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:36, 25 August 2013 (UTC)


Al-Kharata is a town listed late. It's mentioned as re-conquered by the 18th, and the woman in the Hostage House video says some of the hostages are from there. Kharata didn't appear on earlier lists as having any victims, but it's listed in the IS Teams (Mother Agnes) report of September 11 (p. 49). Listed is only one verified martyr and six missing (kidnapped), all of the hard-hit Chehadé (Shahadeh) family. [16] The location isn't certain. From town listing order in that report, it might be half of what's marked al-Hmboushiya, but by name Kharata could well be Khuwarat, on Wikimapia, although this is probably too far east, a couple of towns over from the area of reported troubles. Mortada heard "Kharata a small housing collective, the residents of which number no more than thirty-seven, all were liquidated." [7] Mother Agned told RT "almost all the 37 locals were killed. Only ten people were able to escape." [9]

Latakia Kharata map.png

Location: Human Rights Watch provides a location on its map, but it's wrong (points here of GMaps). This video, dated (wrongly, I think) Aug. 18, claims to show Kharata (and this one dated Aug 9 shows the same tiny hamlet). The features match a spot just over a kilometer east: on Google Maps. 37 inhabitants sounds just about right, considering one of the two larger homes seems vacant/unfinished. --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:49, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

I've added a map to help show this (inset above), since I'm disputing a (minor) point made by (a graphic by) HRW. The sun comes from the west, PM shadow across the road at the multinational forces check-point. The town in south, all but one notable building seem to match - it seems the reddish house with laundry on the roof just inside the bend must be built since the satellite view was taken (sometime in 2012). Between the two houses, the giddy rebels walk on a path kind of like the one shown, winding up the terraced hill to a sniper position overlooking the northern approach we started out seeing the end of. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:58, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

I finally added this to Wikimapia. Link now. That was easy. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:24, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Also, it's not noted by translated graffiti and video logo that the "Islamist checkpoint" here was run by the "moderate Islamist" and "US-supported" Authenticity and Development Front. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:38, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Ramtha?

I don't want to include or ignore this, nor give it a section. No other supports, possibly a mangled version of Kharata with diff. details. (?) Mortada/Sham Times: "The massacre commenced in the village of Ramtha, where the armed men killed eighteen to twenty people, no survivors with the exception of one who ran towards the forest. " [7] I should want to reconcile this or something but I'm in no mood to challenge everyone with a town HRW and most others have missed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:58, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Best guess is a different form of the real name of Kharata - detah toll sounds consistent. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:24, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Kinda Village

Rebels reportedly died here, but no one at HRW or on Wikimapia seems to know where it is, by that name. Might be Khirbet al-Baz down the road from Sitarbah/Isterbah, or Kawm at the north end of things, Russian-labeled place 1 or 2 (guess) (both start with K sound but don't sound like Kinda). Or a couple of other spots maybe. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:24, 13 November 2015 (UTC)


As the small town (un-marked on Wikimapia) between al-Hamboushiya and Balouta, it's mentioned by Human Rights Watch as yet another overrun town, "referred to both as Sleibeh Blouta or Sleibeh al-Hamboushieh," the latter used by HRW, and here just Sleibeh. They report "at least 14 residents of Sleibeh al-Hamboushieh were unlawfully killed by opposition fighters, on August 4. Some died from shelling, and others "from gun shots, stabbing wounds, or from having their throats slit." (p. 40) The widely-seen mass grave was also, apparently, in this centrally-located town. It's said to have 28 bodies, some with heads and hands cut off and many burnt, and was rigged with a bomb that had to be defused before excavation could start. (p. 41) --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:49, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Occupied Towns, No Massacre Reports

  • Isterbeh
    • Name: استربة = Esterbeh/Isterbeh/Asterba/etc.
    • Reports: "the civilians escaped but the terrorists occupied the village." [8] Mortada heard "The village of Asterba was also subjected to slaughter and every home was set on fire." [7] Mother Agnes repeated that exact claim to RT, just copying. [9] No victims lists mention any victims killed or missing from there, so it appears those claims were some kind of mix-up.
    • Location: Sitarbah
    • Notes: This is the only town reported with an all clear, all civilians safe, before any rebel control was established. Apparently it was, but they suffered for it, staring either in the conquest as defenders held them back, or in early re-conquest, or both. See below, #Rebel Deaths for details, but Syrian and foreign fighters, under the FSA banner, al-Qaeda, and other, are listed by the CDV as falling in and around "Astrebeh," starting Aug. 4, heavily on the 5th, and less so afterwards.
  • Kafraya/Kafaria
    • Notes: Similar to notes above: a town more on the fringe of the main horror zone, no deaths or abductions reported despite a brief occupation, and more rebels reported dying there than most places. More dead rebels = safer civilians is the quick and basic lesson of this record.
  • Khirbet Baz
    • Reports: SOHR Aug. 6: "Clashes took place in Jabal al-Akrad, reports that rebels took over the village of Khirbet Baz."
    • Location: Khirbet al-Baz
  • Qal'ah
  • Talla
    • Name: تلا = Tala
    • Reports: Mortada: "Sheikh Bader Ghazal," the prominent Shabih captive, is "from the village of Tala." Also, it was one of those bombarded by rebels. [7] If conquered, only lightly: it was reported cleared by Aug 5. (al Maydaeen)
    • Location: Tala - it will be on the updated map.

Peripheral Locales

  • Al-Ghazal

Not directly related, but there is a town al-Ghazal just southeast of this area, near Slenfeh, (on Wikimapia) that's quite likely the hometown/ancestral home of Sheikh Badreddin al-Ghazal, martyr taken while visiting nearby Baruda. He's said to be from a prominent Alawite religious family with members advising Hafez Assad's administration, and at least one other cleric Ghazal speaking about this massacre that hit so close to home.--Caustic Logic (talk) 09:32, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Slinfah

Aside from Durin, the nearest mid-sized city, just southeast of the plagued area, is Slinfah (on Wikimpaia). Their police department headed the investigation into the crimes here; HRW worked with them and examined their crime scene photos. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:32, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Haffa/Hiffa


No reports of fighting or massacres seem to come through for this town, but things are reported there. SCDV database for "regime fatalities" (Latakia, Aug. 4-10) lists several non-civilians (11) killed August in "Qurdaha/Qardaha" and co-named (surrounding?) areas, August 5-10. This is probably supposed to be Qurdaha (on Wikimapia), a larger town well south of the cluster of villages in question, closer to Jablah than Latakia, possibly unrelated. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:31, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Note: At least some of these are listed because they're FROM Qardaha, and were killed fighting in places like Mengh, Aleppo and Daraa and Damascus, Jobar. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:19, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

So there was no massacre here, but under places, it belongs. Qardaha is of course Bashar Assad's ancestral homeland, where his father Hafez was born and buried. It's the main target, aside from Latakia itself, in the rebel campaign there. No sources I've seen claim any thing happening there, but there are those entries. For what it's worth, some quotes from a single Reuters report by Khaled Oweis:

"Dozens of the regime's forces have been killed in the last two days. The objective is to liberate our people in Latakia, and that would entail passing through Qardaha," said Salim Omar, an activist from the Sham News Network opposition monitoring organization.
"The rebels are not far from Qardaha, and the threat to Qardaha has moved from being conceivable to being a real one," said Sheikh Anas Ayrount, a member of the Syrian National Coalition who is from the coastal city of Banias.
Ahmad Abdelqader, an activist with the rebels in Latakia explained "the objective is to reach Qardaha and hurt them like they are hurting us. The Alawites have been huddling in their mountain thinking that they can destroy Syria and remain immune," he said. [2]

Further Developments

August 18: ISIS Emir killed

Latakia province: Violent clashes broke out between rebel and regular forces in the Astarba and al-Hamboshiya areas of Reef Latakia, in an attempt by the latter to regain full control over the areas. Confirmed reports that a Libyan Emir of the ISIS was killed by the al-Hamboshiya clashes with reports of human losses from both sides, clashes were accompanied with violent bombardment by regular forces on the area. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:04, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
State television said the army has reclaimed rebel positions in the province, including Kharata, Janzuriyeh, Baluta, Baruda and Hambushiyeh. But according to Abdel Rahman, "the army has only been able to secure the outskirts of some villages. The battles are ongoing and they are fierce".
"Scores of foreign (jihadist) fighters are being killed in the Latakia fighting," he told AFP. Among them was a Libyan emir or local leader of ISIS, said the Observatory. "Confirmed reports emerged of the killing of a Libyan ISIS emir while fighting in Jamusiyeh village," said the Britain-based monitoring group. [18] --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:04, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Was this guy's name never given? I wonder if he's the one on video, a Libyan Abu Suhaib Alleebi, Emir of the Mujahadeen Brigade, as Petri mentioned below? I'm guessing probably so. So the person of interest in the kidnapping of the area's children, if that is him in the mask too, has already been scrubbed from the earth with probably more mercy by far than he deserved. If the SAA doesn't do it, no one will. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:22, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Much later, some confusion remains. After correlating records here, neither the opposition VDC nor Human Right's Watch's report mentions the death of Abu Suhaib al-Libi. HRW mentions him as a commander, not of ISIS exactly but the affiliated Jaish al-Muhajireen wal al-Ansar (JMA). HRW learned of "10 fighters killed from Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar during the operation many of them Tunisian and Libyan nationals", but none has this name. JMA were allied and even used the same flag, as seen in their hostage video. And that's the same guy, the author says, alive when the video was shot (not clear but only posted Sept. 7). HRW report:
According to the opposition activist that spoke to Human Rights Watch, the leaders from Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar that commanded the Latakia offensive against the villages are Abu Suhaib al-Libi (aka Sheikh Abdel Basit Abu Suhaib) and Abu Jaafar al-Libi … Several residents from Latakia countryside told Human Rights Watch that they saw their elatives in the video which was published on YouTube on September 7 and which shows civilian hostages held by Abu Suhaib, the local leader of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar.

SO ... the video is older, or he wasn't killed, or that's someone pretending to be him. ID basis is unclear: "In the video the hostages appear to be held by Abu Suhaib," nature of appearance and judgment not spelled out. ... but at any rate the point is unclear. Further bits:

Abu Suhaib, the Libyan local leader of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, and his men have also reportedly received medical treatment in Turkey, including during the August 4 operation in which Abu Suhaib was twice injured.
On August 13, Sheikh Saqr, the commander of Saquor al-Izz, tweeted that Abu Jaafar al-Libi from Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar was the leader of the operation and that his deputies were Abu Jaafar from ISIS (see Section on ISIS above) and Sheikh Qahtan from

al-Tawhid (see Section V below). Another Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar commander, Abu Walid al-Shishani (a Chechen), is also identified on social media sites as participating in the operation. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:49, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

Hostages still missing

Tweets from journalist Alaa Ebrahim: (via Hands OFF Syria) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 07:41, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

SAA operation in Northern Lattakia countryside pays off today as situation back to what it was before rebel attack last week. [1]
SAA & NDF managed to stop rebel advancement & push them back recapturing all areas taken by rebels in their recent attack. [2]
Fate of 100s of civilians remains unknown after they were taken by rebels in their attack on northern Lattakia countryside. [3]
I've been wondering what the news would say about the hostages. Hundreds acknowledged. I wonder what the rebels are saying, in the line of talks about their release, if anything. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:03, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

SANA via Syria 24 English

and more direct --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:04, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Units of the armed forces on Sunday restored security and stability to the villages of al-Hamushieh, al-Ballouta, al-Shiekh Nibhan, al-Khrata, al-Khanzourieh, Barodeh and Jabal al-Sha'ban in Lattakia countryside. [17]
Only two of those towns I recognize. Maybe Barodeh was mentioned elsewhere. How many towns did they guys get their slimy grips on? --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:03, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

More villages via PressTV: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:54, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

The Syrian Army has also managed to recapture a number of villages from the militants in Latakia, including Tallet Habs al-Dam, Tallet al-Khudur, Karm Aramo village, Obeen and Abo Mekkeh.

August 20

In addition to damaging water and sewage networks, electric grids and transformers, and roads, the terrorists who attacked villages in Lattakia's northern countryside committed barbaric acts of murder and massacres, stole the contents of houses, burned farms and killed livestock.
Locals who survived the attacks said terrorists didn't spare anyone they got their hands on, not even women, children and the elderly, with the terrorists murdering them in cold blood and throwing their bodies in wells and ditches.
  • August 20: mass grave discovered (bee below)

Rebels Deny

Besides the early pronouncements of about 200 killed, all "Assad's men" as Khaled Oweis re-phrased it for them, there are sure to be a few denials of massacre charges. I just saw this new one refuting Human Rights Watch with ... words.

  • Global Post, Oct. 14: Syrian rebels deny allegations of atrocities in Latakia [19] By-line: "Syrian rebels accuse Human Rights Watch of 'propaganda' after the group detailed alleged atrocities by opposition forces." The SNC behaves as if the report is true, and distances itself from what it presumes to be real events:
“The incident reported by HRW in today's report does not represent an effort by the true Syrian opposition, but rather a shameful one-time attack by outlier extremist groups that thrive under the hand of [President Bashar al-Assad's] regime,” the statement read.

Ah, as an ever-increasing number of hands have jabbed into the jumble these last two years, as always, "Assad's" is easily identifiable as the one to blame for anything bad. But there's a "Muhamed Raslan, a Free Syrian Army fighter from Idlib province" (Raslan is a common name...), who feels its all some big lie, and either no one was killed, or the regime did it, or something not spelled out.

“All what was said in the report is misleading,” ... adding that these areas, now under government control, are not accessible to journalists, so accurate information is impossible to obtain.
Well, they went there and obtained extremely reliable information and have seen hundreds of photographs of rotting corpses that pro.
"If we suppose it's true, what about more than 100,000 people killed by the regime only because they said 'we want to be free?'"
GlobalPost spoke to one Latakia-based Syrian activist who visited the village while it was still under rebel control and met with many of the captives, including women and children. He said that all were being cared for and held in a safe area, adding that they were detained for questioning and a possible prisoner exchange in the future.
Two months later, he had nothing more to add, there are no releases, no word, reports keep saying. How long will they be "treated well" before they're killed? Less than the two months that's already passed, I suspect. The "questioning" or "exchanges" or "protection from shelling" also cited as reasons for taking them, will never be done. They're probably all dead or worse.
While activists contacted in Latakia did not dispute the information obtained by HRW, some called into question the timing of the report's release, two months after the events took place.
Yes, two months, that is a little ... what?
They said the allegations served the political agenda of several other countries, including the United States and Russia.
Well, of course they do, by ... wait, how? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:53, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Mass Grave(s)

On August 20, after re-conquest was more or less complete, state broadcaster SANA reported Massive grave discovered in Lattakia countryside, just where isn't stated, with an unclear number of bodies, men, women, and children.

An official source announced that army units discovered a massive grave for citizens, including children and women who were killed by terrorists in the northern countryside of Lattakia.
The source added that the army units discovered the massive grave in the villages to which the army restored security and stability.
The cemetery included charred and decomposed bodies.
The source told SANA that among the dead citizens were children and women, some of them have been identified by the families and others were not identified as their bodies charred. [20]

Iranian Ahlul Bayt News agency picked up on this plus a second report, specifitying on the 21st that the discovered mass grave contained 200 bodies, and that the location wasn't made clear. They also noted an earlier report of such a mass grave of dozens, in Hambushiyah (apparently the center of the massacre zone, where the Libyan emir was killed). They note "it is not yet clear whether the new report about the mass grave with slain Syrian citizens, who were killed by foreign-backed terrorists, is the same mass grave that has been discovered in the area of Hambushiyah in the countryside of Lattakia." [21]Alternately, it would be a second mass grave, for "dozens"plus 200 bodies so far. All these details remain unclear.

As for the state of the bodies, some were identified by family but others weren't - many were decomposed and others had been badly charred. SANA reported:

Coroner Ali Ali, who examined the bodies found in the mass grave, said the bodies are of men, women and children in a state of decomposition, and that their features are completely gone. Ali told the Syrian TV that the causes of death were varied, as some of the victims were stabbed with sharp objects, while others had their throat slit, and some were shot to death. [20]

Typical "Shabiha" massacre, isn't it? Who was just talking about making "them" hurt the way "they" allegedly hurt "us"?--Caustic Logic (talk) 01:36, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Images from the mass grave, copied from SANA during a brief period it was available, offer - tastefully - only a few clues. [20]

The last one in particular suggests they'd been under dirt some days before the 20th, at least a week, maybe two or more. These are either initial massacre victims from the 4th and maybe 5th or so, or captives killed early in the whole thing, before allowing much negotiation time. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:36, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

More images have been released (SyPer, Facebook), and there are videos.

Human Rights Watch took a picture of the site days after it was emptied (re-posting of the photo). They place it in Sleibeh, between Hamboushiya and Balouta, and say there were 28 bodies here. The area does look way too small to house more than about that number. There were many other burial and abandonment spots all over, rather than any single mass grave. This might be the biggest and remains the most widely seen spot however. They agree the bodies seem to have been there since August 4, give or take a day or two. A Civil Defense Forces member HRW spoke with says this grave was also rigged to explode as soon as a decent human being tried to exhume the bodies for proper burial:

... around August 18 he went to the hamlet to unearth the mass grave. Describing the bodies he saw there and how they unearthed them he said, Some of the corpses had their heads and hands cut off. Some were wrapped. I saw one naked woman…We put the bodies in bags and brought them here [to the National Hospital]. We couldn’t tell in some cases if the dead were men or women…[In the Sleibeh al-Hamboushieh hamlet] there was a bomb on top of the grave. Soldiers came and disarmed it and then we pulled the bodies out. (p. 42) [4] --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:27, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Rebel Deaths

While there's little reason to be concerned with any rebels getting killed in the course of this genocidal assault, there are some clues that can be found looking at the records kept around of who died, where, how, etc. I'll start with the VDC database which, again, completely failed to record any number of massacred civilians in Latakia during the massive massacres (see above). There will likely be other sources cited for this section.

All martyrs (civilians, Syrian rebels of any kind) from/in Latakia, Aug 4-18: 46 total, 7 civilians, 39 rebel fighters. But this was looking at rebel people and civilians from Latakia only, most or all of whom would be dying there in those days - the region does not export many fighters. But there will be missing entries. Using Martyrdom location "Lattakia", from all provinces (including overseas ones) gives 48 martyrs killed there, not a one of them civilian. It was strictly rebel fighters dying in Latakia Aug. 4-18. Most (all below not specified otherwise) are listed as killed by "shooting," "during clashes with regime's army," either "at Ahfad Aysha battle," or "the battle (Grandsons of Aisha Om al-Momeneed)," or "the battle of (Um, al-Momeneen Aisha)." The largest number by far died on the 4th. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:47, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

A few things matter here, like death date and location. But I think the most helpful way of organizing this, considering the controversy over whetehr or not FSA fighters were involved, is by affiliation ("Rank" in the CDV database). Suspiciously many martyrs are listed blandly as "Rank: FSA," so from one of the many brigades under that umbrella. Hearing of heavy al-Qaeda involvement, and that only they were involved, I first wondered if that's just code for rebel of whatever type. But later (see below) I found a very few al-Nusra and ISIS ranks listed too, and in the most grim of locales in this episode, while the FSA people were killed at one of the places civilians weren't massacred, or usually somewhere unspecified; totally blank, Lattakia, Lattakia: Mount Kurds (Jabal al-Akrad, the general area in question). --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:47, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Note: A "Rank" search would help get a tally on FSA vs. other rebel deaths, but there doesn't seem to be one. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:48, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Later note: The issue of who is and isn't "FSA" gets special consideration here at the Monitor blog. This cites the HRW report compared to VDC records. The sections below are just the VDC records. The main pattern emerging is that the foreign FSA fighters, as VDC lists them, are members of other groups as HRW lists them (Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, Suqour al-Izz, Sham al-Islam, ISIS, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA). --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:52, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

"FSA" - Syrian

While most fighter entries are described as FSA, there are not a huge number, a few dozen - just too many to bother with a big list right now. But a few examples or interesting cases, and I think all the foreign ones, will follow. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:47, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

There are two Kurds mountains at least, a Kurd Mountain (Aleppo) in a highland region in northwestern Syria and southeastern Turkey, and another , also near Turkey border, but but in Latakia...(The name obviously suggests a Kurds area) --Resup (talk) 19:28, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Didn't know about the other, but calling a mountain Kurdish seems unnecessary in an area that's all Kurdish. Here I guess Jabal Akrad means an isolated Kurdish community once lived there. They might still, I don't know - there's a Turkmen mountain there, Sunni villages, obviouslt Alawite ones, and Christian Kessab at least fairly nearby. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:14, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

First, some local Syrians from the first search by location - non-civilian martyrs FROM Latakia:

  • Abo al-Moughira location blank, Aug. 4 (photo)
  • Anas Sheikhani Mount Kurds: Doreen, Aug 4 Video - oddly dramatic, filmed by a dead man. Or fake? Is that supposed to be the camera of Iehab dahou, from the Salma Media center, who is listed as getting shot Aug. 4 in Salma? (will be added somewhere above, later) Wasn't this right at the start of an optional surprise offensive? They make it look like some grim and desperate last stand.
  • Qahtan Haj Mohammad from Hiffeh, Brigadier Leader, Aug 4, location blank (photo)
  • Ahd Tarboosh, only listed local martyr Aug. 5, from"Hiffeh: Defil" died in Astrebeh (Isterbeh).
  • Haj Asaad Died Lattakia: Mount Kurds Aug 6
  • Malek As'ad Lattakia: Mount Kurds, not actually on the list, with death date 00-00-00, but by index number was reported right after the last, app. related martyr...)
  • Unidentified, but from Hiffeh. Died Aug. 6 Astrabeh Village

On the 6th, rebels were killed in two areas as government forces pushed back - Astrabeh Village (Isterbeh - several killed) and Kafraya (two killed). Daily deaths (a few) continued until about the 10th, increasingly by shelling, and increasingly back towards the rebel base town of Salma. For example Amer Jamal al-Haddad, age 25, from Hiffeh, died (blank), Aug. 9 by "shelling by regime's army." Local Syrians stopped dying, by the list, about August 10, and non-locals (mostly from Idlib) took over the dying from there, a few a day on average up to about the 20th. Some examples:

"FSA" - Foreign

All foreigners martyred in Latakia Aug. 4-18: 18 total. Largely but not totally FSA, some foreigners described as FSA give different patterns and appear more in the massacre/abduction towns (bolded). These might be Islamist brigades with foreign recruitment, that work like ISIS and JAN, but were either present in, or just died in, larger numbers. Dates don't matter much here: foreigners were apparently reported in two batches on Aug. 5 and Aug. 7 and no more reported from the 7th on. Generally noted for each, "real name is unknow, Date of death is not accurate, martyerd during the clashes with the regime's army forces" and/or "during clashes with regime's army at the battle of Om Momineen" For these, Location = other, province = home country (if known) --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:11, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Saudi Arabia
Morocco (al-Maghrebi - many Moroccans died, welcome to the meat grinder)
Libya (al-Libee)
Tunisia (al-Tunsee)


Jan = Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front, Victory Front) ISIS = (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Syria/Levant))

CDV Database

No Syrian members of these al-Qaeda-affiliated groups are listed as dying, only these four foreigners, that I found so far. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:48, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

JAN (2)
ISIS (2)
  • Abu Malek al-Azdi unknown origin, Rank: Islamic State of Iraq and Sham. Killed in Astrabeh, by Aug. 5. (note: Azdi = from Azd. What's Azd? Australia?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:48, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
No, the name al-Azdi goes way back to a companion of the prophet's, likely then a nom d'guerre, --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:25, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Later on the ank was changed to "FSA." Also the notes say: "real name is unknow, Date of death is not accurate, martyerd during the clashes with the regime's army forces" --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:31, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Abu Muqatel al-Tunesi From Tunisia. Rank: "Islamic State of Iraq and Sham." died in "Astrabeh Village" by Aug. 5.
Rank later changed to "ISIS." Same notes, death date and identity not known for sure. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:31, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

Above was mentioned an "Emir" (commander) of ISIS, from Libya, killed in al-Hamboushiya on or before Aug. 18. And, again, all foreign fighters who were listed here as dying died before August 7. But that report doesn't seem to be 11 days old, and that guy doesn't seem to be any of these: one Libyan with JaN, none with ISIS, and the only Hamboushiya casualty specified is an unknown foreigner with one of the FSA brigades. So we have a fifth specifically reported JaN/ISIS "martyr" to mention here - Abu Suhaib Alleebi, Emir of the Mujahadeen Brigade (above). --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:19, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Other Sources


"Regime Fatalities"

Rebels spoke with pride of "200 (of Assad's men)" (200 Shabiha? 200 Alawites?) killed on the 4th alone, and 40 more the next day. A reasonable reading is that these were the killed civilians, who number at least 205 and were mainly killed on the 4th. But another activist said it was 175 killed and specifically "describing them as soldiers and militiamen who were manning roadblocks linking the mountain villages" (which checkpoints don't seem to have existed) But maybe they also killed this many soldiers and that's what the activist referred to? It seemed worth a check finally how many killed soldiers are listed by the opposition VDC.

  • All "regime forces" fatalities, Aug 4-18 = 187, nationwide so they don't list any 240 just in Latakia over 2 days.
  • All with martyrdom location, Lat (sometimes they use Latakia, usually Lattakia) = 35 total, but some may not be noted.
  • All from Lattakia = 48.

At least 8 of these are massacre victims, military (NDF, local "Shabiha" defenders) but killed at home with family (6 Shokouhi men, one Shebli, one Diob)

I haven't cross-checked for overlap or set a solid number for what they record, but I estimate it's 40-50 they list. Earlier I estimated 30-75 soldiers killed, based partly on something like HRW's report: "According to an army soldier who was stationed there, the opposition fighters overran the government position and two neighboring bases protecting the area, killing approximately 30 soldiers and wounding many more." Then there were the days of fighting. A better range might be 45-85 total.

So another point saying this 200 number they boasted about must have been/included civilians of the villages, maybe just the adult male majority, militarized post-mortem as regime fighters manning "roadblocks" (non-rebel villages/support base/safe haven for their opponents in the field, impediments to progress in the regime-change campaign). That wasn't a lie in their minds, just a bit of semantics. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:12, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

The HRW report (and some other sources I think...) detail how the attack succeeded (page 21): rebels attacked at sunrise, from the northeat (soldiers facing into rising sun, herder to see), from Durin and Salma, and when they got closer, two sleeper defectors in their own ranks, pre-arranged it seems, opened fire inside the base, killing the first soldiers from within before rebels got there and overran the place. Those who survived did so because they abandoned post and ran.


This video might be related: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:37, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Abuse, check. Location, not. Below, the opposite

Useful stuff might be found on the Youtube account Salma Media Center. Al-Jazeera reports with worry that Deaths reported in raids in Syria's Latakia. Not too much of use pops up when rebels aren't blaming Assad for the massacres. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:03, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

A better search with Arabic terms yields some videos worth chewing over, with partial translation and notes:--Caustic Logic (talk) 06:20, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

  • عاجل قرية الحمبوشية جانب من إبادة العلويين في ريف اللاذقية (Urgent Alhmbushah village side of the extermination of Alawites in the countryside of Lattakia) Posted Aug 6, 0:15. Two executed men, civilian dress - one has a messed up face, left side (dragged face-down?) and what looks like a sliced throat (here, after any dragging, over that pool of blood?). The other, less clear, made to hold a picture of Hezbollah leader Nasrallah as the liberators curse the victims' foul allegiance that surely underpinned their cruel murders. IF not misattributed... --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:20, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Video/account since deleted - [a copy under the same name --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:34, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Video/account since deleted. No replacement copy found yet. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:34, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Latakia - Alawite Woman Bears Witness About FSA Treatment Shaam News. Desc: "An Alawite woman who brought her neighbor and her newborn son to liberated areas under the Free Syrian Army (FSA)'s control bears witness that for the nine days they've been there, the FSA has not mistreated them. The doctor asks her to speak freely without fear of any consequences and she tells the story of taking her neighbor to give birth and subsequently follow-up care for the newborn in liberated areas. The interview was reportedly taped August 12, 2013 in the Salma summer resort region in rural Latakia." Notes: the friendliness is all overdone by at least 2 degrees. I can't help but be almost sure these are all pro-rebel Sunnis putting on an act. The mother is silent, the friend does all the speaking. The ambulance they're in seems to have its windows smeared with blood (on the outside, inside is clean). A sticker on the window announces to those inside, in English, this is covered by Medical Relief for Syria. Numerous cameras are present for this photo op, popping flash bulbs. Casually, at this moment, someone off camera has to inform the doctor "there is a massacre in Azzarqa." (0:46) (refers to maybe az Zarqa refugee camp/city in Jordan?). --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:17, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

(Lattakia: breakfast with Mujahideen Colonel Mustafa Hashim on the front lines during battles 6-8-2013) A tank comes over the mountain pass. By تنسيقية اللاذقية (coordination of Lattakia) ("the alleged head of the FSA Military Council in the Coast, Mustafa Hashem," complained of materiel shortages Aug. 9, per HRW report)

More sources...

Syrian Perspective provides some details on Facebook: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:44, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Local villagers claimed that a few dozen men in camouflage were leaving Aramo where the fighting was taking place and heading to a local village. The villagers believed the men to be Syrian Arab Army soldiers (one of the perpetrators was later identified as an army deserter fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra), so the militias were not notified from nearby villages. These men began pointing their guns at the villagers in the streets and firing with no sense of remorse. They would fire on businesses and markets. Local schools were not granted mercy, as the rebels fired upon the local grammar school that little children were attending.

Some fresh footage by ANNA News from near Salma here. The road sign shown must bee somewhere between Khirbet Baz and Isterbeh. They visit a place named Kaboo. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:09, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

The conference coordinator , writer and researcher Nabil Fayyad, Chairman of the" Justice " Party said that all strata of the Syrian civil society suffer from the Takfiri terrorist groups and the so-called al-Nusra Front , as these groups are committing massacres and crimes all over Syria, with the support of the countries responsible for shedding the Syrian blood [22]


A man identifying himself as a member of Katibat il Muhajiroon, or the Battalion of Emigrants, speaks in a video clip posted on YouTube on Aug. 12 in front of women and children he says his group is holding captive. Talal, an Alawite man whose family was captured, says he spotted his three youngest children in the video.[23]
"We are still finding people who were killed in their homes, and bodies left in bushes," said Sheikh Mohammed Reda Hatem, an Alawite religious leader in Latakia. "Until now 150 Alawites from the villages have been kidnapped. There are women and children among them. We have lost all contact with them."
Wow, wow, holy shit. This gets a section and/or general work-in soon. Citation ready now, "JSG1"
"When we got into the village of Balouta I saw a baby's head hanging from a tree. There was a woman's body which had been sliced in half from head to toe and each half was hanging from separate apple trees. It made me feel I wanted to do something wild," he recalled.
"For the first time the government acted discreetly because they feared a sectarian war could break out all along the coast. At the beginning they even denied massacres took place", Rajaa Nasser, an opposition politician in Damascus told the Guardian. He speculated that the attacks on the Alawites could have been revenge for the slaughter of Sunnis in Banias and Baida in May, two places about 30 miles south of the city of Latakia. Human Rights Watch said 248 Sunni civilians were executed there. [1]
Note: there too, the government initially spoke of no massacre, perhaps to avoid panic or angst in a previously peaceful area - while a pro-government Sunni imam and dozens of his family members were butchered after rebel incitement to "ignite the coast" and some back-and-forth raids. See Al-Bayda Massacre. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:50, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
This has a read-worthy intro, possibly citing our work on Houla just not by name, and includes a few things: re-posted Mayadeen TV documentary and the English description - apparently the original version widely re-posted like here and here on Facebook, plus the same basic victim list here under "For Mother Syria, and a detailed report from Hussein Mortada, Sham Times, August 8. The original link for that doesn't work and it's probably Arabic, so this re-post will be cited for that. [7]

Ghouta CW massacre connection?

Moved to Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Latakia connection?

Co-Incidence With Similar Abuses of Kurds

Old Section, moved from Talk:Tal Abyad massacre

This seems to be somehow related to the events.

Syrian rebels are pushing toward President Bashar al-Assad's hometown of Qardaha in Latakia province.
By Monday, the second day of their surprise offensive in the heartland of Assad's minority Alawite-cum-Shiite sect, the rebels had captured some 11 Alawite villages.
The villages include Aramo, 20 kilometers from Qardaha, and Baruda, where the rebels seized visiting Alawite cleric Badreddin Ghazal, a diehard Assad militant.
You can see above a photo of Sheikh Ghazal in military fatigue standing alongside Mihraç Ural aka Ali al-Kayyali, the man I dubbed in May “the ethnic cleanser of Banias,” who was also suspected of masterminding the twin Turkish bombings in Reyhanli.

This Facebook post gives a long list of victims (71 killed + 32 kidnapped people)

(covered below) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:03, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

What "connects" the events is this article by Voice of Russia:

Mass killings of hostages by militants in the Syrian opposition have become their main method of tactical actions in the civil war in Syria.
The worst reports came in recent days of the north-east Syria, from the Kurdish areas. About 450 hostages have been killed there. About 120 of them were children, the others were women and the elderly. The hostages were family members of the Kurdish militia, which is leading a fierce battle with the extremists. But terrorist units surrounded the Kurdish areas to the north of Aleppo. About a million people were under siege.

The Swedish language version (and Hungarian) of the story names Alawites as the victims and Badreddin Gazzal as one of the kidnapped:

The Islamists' method in Syria resembles increasingly religious and ethnic cleansing. According to Arab TV channels, soldiers from Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State has about 400 Alawites hostage in the country's northern regions. Women, children and old people have been in the direction of the Turkish border. 80-year-old Badreddin Gazzal, one of the spiritual leaders of Alawites is also among them.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:55, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

In retrospect, there was a lot of confusion, but it seems both communities were hit hard with the mass killing/abduction/rape/pillage/torture/murder/mutilate terror campaign, likely planned to coincide like that. We still don't know enough about the Kurdish area situation. I guess clarified as a section on issue bleed-over, common patterns, etc. this could be of some use. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 6 October 2013 (UTC)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Syria: massacre reports emerge from Assad's Alawite heartland, Jonathan Steele in Latakia, The Guardian, 2 October 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Syrian rebels push into Assad's Alawite mountain stronghold By Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters. AMMAN | Mon Aug 5, 2013 6:04pm EDT
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Syrian Opposition Condemns 
Jihadists Targeting Alawites Haytham Mouzahem, Al-Monitor, August14, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 "You can still see their blood" - Executions, indiscriminate shooting, and hostage taking by opposition forces in Latakia countryside. PDF, 113 pp. Researched and written by Lama Fakih, Human Rights Watch, October 11, 2013. HRW download page). (page numbers indicated)
  5. Syria claims military successes in Assad's home provinceBy Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2013 4:29 PM PST
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 من الأرض - اللاذقية - 2013-08-22 (trans: From the ground (field report) - Latakia) Al-Mayadeen TV documentary (Arabic language), by Ogarite Dandache. 49 minutes, posted by al-Mayadeen August 22, 2013. Originally cited url: (removed - new link is Maydeen's own). Partial description/translation here
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 OGARITE DANDACHE'S AUGUST August 2013 DOCUMENTARY ON LATTAKIA MASSACRE by Intibah and Ghassan Kadi, October 20, 2013 (based on earlier postings). Uncredited re-post (most widely seen), Australians for Reconciliation in Syria/International Support Teams for Mussalaha in Syria, undated.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 Timeline photo posted by For Mother Syria, Facebook, August 7, 2013, 11:08 AM
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Footage of chemical attack in Syria is fraud RT, Published time: September 06, 2013 12:29
  10. The Alawites: Fact, Fiction and Fear! by Reem Haddad, Counterpunch, October 10, 2013
  11. "You Can Still See Their Blood" - Executions, Indiscriminate Shootings, and Hostage Taking by Opposition Forces in Latakia Countryside Youtube video, uploaded by Human Rights Watch, October 11, 2013
  12. السعوديـة-و-مخططاتها-الجديدة-في-سوريـ (Saudi Arabia and the new schemes in Syria and Lebanon (1/2)) By Ahmed Cherkaoui Middle East Panorama, August 11, 2013.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 OBAMA TORTURES AND KILLS POPULAR SHAYKH IN LATAKIA – SyrPer, August 19, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 Syrian rebels push advance into Assad heartland F. Najia, Arab Saga (blog), August 6, 2013
  15. Facebook post, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, August 26, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 "The Chemical Attacks on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria (Beta version)." Internation Support Team for Mussalaha in Syria, Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, President of the ISTeams, September 11, 2013. PDF, 50 pages, 43 MB
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Army advances in Lattakia, eliminates terrorists in several areasSyrian Arab News Agency, August 19, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Advancing army 'kills jihadist emir in Syria's Latakia' AFP via Fox News, August 18, 2013
  19. Syrian rebels deny allegations of atrocities in Latakia By Tracey Shelton, Global Post, October 14, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Massive grave discovered in Lattakia countryside Syrian Arab News Agency, August 20, 2013
  21. Mass Grave of more than 200 bodies discovered in Latakia - Syria Ahlul Bayt News Agency, August 21, 2013
  22. Syrian Human Rights Organization Testimonies on Lattakia Countryside Massacres – The Syria Times, 03 September 2013
  23. An Alawite man's hope to reunite with his captured familyby Rania Abouzeid, Al-Jazeera America, September 5, 2013. Also Hands Off Syria re-post


  • US Special Forces Allegedly Start Training Rebels in Syria - Sputnik, 2015
    US military advisors are alleged to have started training so-called moderate rebels near the city of Salma in the Latakia province in what amounts to breaking a pledge not to put US boots on the ground in Syria, Lebanon's satellite television channel al-Mayadeen reported, citing an unnamed military source.
    "American officers began training Turkmen militants around Salma in the Latakia Province," the media outlet noted, adding that the mission was previously carried out in Turkey.