Talk:Mazraat al-Qubeir massacre

From A Closer Look On Syria
Jump to: navigation, search

Victims list

As Shaam News Network reported on Facebook, June 7, 2:07 AM:

Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) & Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS) report on the massacre of Mazra’at al-Qubeir in Hama 07-06-2012. They passed on the following "confirmed and documented names of the victims who fell to the massacre of Mazra’at al-Qubeir":

- Muhammad Hasan Ulwan, 32 years.

- Salah Jamil Ulwan

- Muhammad Hassan Ulwan

- Mahdi Ahmad Ulwan

- Sari Ali al-Hamdou

- Imad Ismael Ulwan

- Muhammad Salah Ulwan

- Salah Jamil Ulwan

- Name is not confirmed yet

- Name is not confirmed yet

- Ibrahim al-Yatim, 4 year-old child

- Ibrahim al-Yatim, 9 year-old child

- Ahmad Ali al-Yatim, 5 year-old child

- Ayman Ahmad al-Yatim

- Jassem al-Yatim

- Khalid Husein al-Yatim

- Ali Husein al-Yatim

- Faris Husein al-Yatim

- Muhammad Husein al-Yatim

- Husein al-Yatim

- Hamza Ahmad al-Yatim, 1 year old infant.

- Ayman Hamoud al-Yatim

- Muhammad Hammoud al-Yatim

- Hamoud Kastal al-Yatim, 68 years old,

- Hamida al-Abdullah

- Rasheed al-Yatim

- Ryadh al-Yatim

- Izzou Ahmad al-Yatim

- Ali Ahmad al-Yatim, 9 years old kid,

- Kheirou Ahmad al-Yatim

- Rasheed Kheirou al-Yatim

- Ali Kheirou al-Yatim

- Muhammad Kheirou al-Yatim

- Umar Ahmad al-Yatim, 3 years old kid,

- Awad Ahmad al-Yatim

- Aukeh Ahmad al-Yatim

- Fteim Ahmad al-Yatim

- Faisal al-Yatim

- Muhammad Ahmad al-Yatim, 9 years old.

- Muhammad Ahmad al-Yatim

- Muhammad al-Yatim

- Muhammad Rasheed al-Yatim

- Muhammad Shihadeh al-Yatim

- Muhammad Ulwan

- Maryam Ahmad al-Yatim

- Mansour al-Yatim

- Manfya Stief

- Muna al-Yatim, infant girl

- Noufal al-Yatim

- Rose al-Yatim

- Salloum Hassan al-Yatim

- Samra al-Yatim

- Sabrya al-Yatim

- Abdullah al-Yatim

- Khalid al-Yatim

- Noufa al-Yatim

- Husein al-Faris

- Khalid al-Faris

- Faisal al-Faris

- Mansour al-Faris

--Caustic Logic (talk) 01:13, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Al-Hamwy

The star witness Leith Al-Hamwy/Hemary is "an activist in Mazraat al-Qubair," per an AP report, as well as a massacre survivor. He has a name that doesn't appear on the witness list, despite losing several family members, he said. One was his brother, who explained everything over the phone before the line went dead. Yet the name isn't on the list. Odd. Perhap he changed names upon marriage? Leith is ostensibly a member of the al-Yatim family, describing himself that way once -the same time he was also unnamed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:47, 4 January 2013 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:53, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

He and an unnamed cousin are among five survivors cited by other activists (see front page). A Guardian report mentions a possible relative, perhaps the cousin, a witness if not a survivor:

Abu Hisham al-Hamawi (Hamwy/Hemary), a resident of the Mazraat area, whose home is on the outskirts of al-Qubair, said that minutes before the attack was launched at about 2.30pm on Tuesday he witnessed Shabiha militiamen from nearby Alawite villages pass by his home en route to al-Qubair. "I knew some of them from school," he said. "I know their names. I know their villages. I know exactly who they are. They are Shabiha, no doubt. They passed by here with the regime army."

He said there were no problems or tensions previously, no provocation for the cruelty. Apparently the same man, local "Abou Hisham al-Hamouli," from "a village just over a mile from al-Qubeir" spoke to the Telegraph alongside Leith, with no mention of relation and different name spellings given (Hamouli vs. Hemary). He told them "I saw a two-month-old child without a head. I saw the burnt corpse of a woman. Her two children were wrapped around, hugging her. They died like that. There were two [sic] many burnt bodies." --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:53, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

The name does appear on some other regional opposition people, if not among the victims. Just a few miles north of Marzaf (and however many from Qubeir) is the larger Halfaya, where the alleged Halfaya Bakery Bombing occurred on Dec. 23, 2012. A one-armed commander was seen there, who seems to be Battalion Commander Sami Abu El Alamein Al-Rahmoun, who lost his arm in August (recovering) and on Dec. 28 oversaw the firing of rockets on neighboring Mahrada. Anyway, both videos are filmed/posted by Samer alHamwi Halfaya. Samer, possible relation to Leith and some of the victims of the Qubeir massacre, was around in June to film some of the others. Below, some videos of the victims. including babies -he doesn't seem terribly upset, just the usual blaming Assad and Kofi Annan: --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:47, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Massacre Victims: How Many and Who Else?

I only realized the difference in the official/SANA version of the death toll when making this page. On reflection, I think it's worth revising. Nine massacre victims only compared to 78. I imagine their number might not be comprehensive, and they don't specify how many fighters or soldiers were killed in the ensuing clashes. Considering the similarity to Tremseh, where even the mainstream media came to acknowledge the government version was "closer to the truth" than what the rebels were saying, it's probably so in this case. Any others have thoughts before I revise (soon-ish)? This list of names - is it mostly made-up, mostly Rebel fighters, or what? I move for the latter: the names seem to predominantly male, over 75% (some I'm not sure), and only a few of those are children. The "name is not confirmed yet" entries could be the foreign fighters. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:13, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Re-visiting this on a whim years later: The government claim of 9 killed was from a witness who could attest to only that much. Jaafari said the bodies shown on rebel video weren't the "real" victims, 9 in number, which they also recovered and could show. So maybe ... those 9 are a real part, and the 19+ bodies rebels made off with, as seen in their videos, is another real part (total at least 28). Damascus might have figured that out later.

Rebels who might know better who was killed cite 78 total deaths, but including at least 25-30 killed rebels. Or, as they say "the bodies of between 25 and 30 men were taken away by the killers," meaning by the other side, clearly after a clash they won. Probably after the massacre. Rebels may have taken a few of their own dead early in the clash, to add into the civilian total, which others specify is only 54-59 bodies deep, with 42 or 44 of them from the Yateem family.

28-59 civ + 25-30 rebels = 53-89. Actual civilian massacre is 28-59, broadly. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:09, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

VDC: I didn't even know to check this back then. 55 Hama civilians executed June 6. The two unidentified don't semm to belong, but the others do, with a different area for some (some Alwans and a Hamdo are from Jarejes - internally displaced to here?). So 53 listed. 39 Yatem family members. 42 men, 7 boys, 4 women, no girls (the video may show girls, but it didn't seem clear - see Video Assessment.

Notes for some VDC entries:

Qubeir: In the housing complexes south of Maarzaf that lies about 20 km west of Hama, about 25 homes are inhabited by the Al-Yateem, Al-Fares and Alwan families. At 2pm three T72 tanks began to move towards Maarzaf from the direction of the villages of Majdal and Aseela and shelled the villages of Maarzaf and Qubeir. After about an hour of shelling, the villages were stormed by cars and buses carrying Shabiha from the village of Aseela, pro-regime, and surrounding villages. They then began to slaughter residents, destroy homes, and burn corpses.

28 Yetem men. Apparently, the rebel deaths are laundered this way, to puff up the family. Some are real Yatim men, maybe half - the others are probably not. Women might be included: names in include Rose, Muna, and Sary which seem female to me, though they are sometimes put on men anyway, in Syria, especially that I've seen among Christian families - citing Maya Nasser, Sari Saoud ...) --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:09, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

But above is listed Muna al-Yatim, infant girl. So not in that case. As often happens, girls again get under-represented in VDC records. That's the only entry specified as a girl, however. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:24, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Unsorted

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/09/world/middleeast/syrians-bar-un-monitors-from-a-massacre-inquiry.html?pagewanted=all No corpses were found, and the team’s officials said many of the facts behind the killings, which occurred Wednesday, had yet to be determined. But it seemed clear that the perpetrators had hastily sought to conceal what had happened, reinforcing suspicions that the government, by thwarting the monitors’ efforts to reach the site on Thursday, had bought time for a cover-up.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9317692/Syria-full-horror-of-al-Qubeir-masacre-emerges.html The voice of Laith al-Hemary's brother whispered on the mobile phone: "There are shouts and screams coming from outside," he said. "They are killing everyone they find." Then the line went dead. ...


SANA report, June 7 [sana.sy/eng/21/2012/06/07/424129.htm Original link] Google Cache Mazraat al-Qubeir People Tell of Horror and Armed Terrorist Groups' Crimes against them Jun 07, 2012

HAMA, (SANA) – Several people from Mazraat al-Qubeir and Marzaf villages in Hama countryside narrated the horror and crimes which were committed by the armed terrorist groups against them, revealing the reality of the horrific crime which took place in their village last night as 9 citizens were killed with cold blood.
In phone calls with the Syrian TV, Abu Hawash, a citizen from Mazraat al-Qubeir village, said that armed terrorists who had RPG launchers and PKC machineguns stormed the area and attacked children and women, calling on the Syrian army and law-enforcement forces to protect them from the terrorists.
Another citizen denounced the bloody satellite channels which are counterfeiting the truth to serve their interests.
For his part, Abu Mohammad said an armed terrorist group infiltrated to Mazraat al-Qubeir and killed 9 citizens, adding that after the crime took place, the residents called the authorities to protect them.
F.Allafi/Ghossoun

UN: UN observers in Syria obstructed in attempts to reach site of reported massacre

7 June 2012 – United Nations observers in Syria have been obstructed in their attempts to reach the village of Mazraat al-Qubeir today, to verify reports of large-scale killings there.

“Their mission is being obstructed by three factors: First, they are being stopped at Syrian Army checkpoints and in some cases turned back; second, some of our patrols are being stopped by civilians in the area; thirdly, we are receiving information from residents of the area that the safety of our observers is at risk if we enter the village,” the head of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), Major-General Robert Mood, said in a statement.

“Despite these challenges, the observers are still working to get into the village to try to establish the facts on the ground,” he added.

Syria's permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar Al-Jafari, clarified the government's position at the United Nations on June 7. This can be seen on video [1] and summarized in an article from Al Manara [2]

Concerning the latest massacre in Al-Qubeir, Al-Jaafari said that killing innocent civilians in al-Qubeir took place 5 hours before any clashes happened, adding that the images broadcast by al-Jazeera and al-Arabia are not those of the massacre victims.
'The Syrian TVs will air the true images of the massacre…The instigative media channels have taken to airing such fabrications before the UN Security Council meetings, added al-Jaafari.
He said that the locals affirmed that the gunmen who committed the crime came from another village called Jreijes which led the locals to call for the help of the law-enforcement members.

Huffington Post

Activists say at least 78 people were killed, most of them from one extended Sunni Muslim family living in a score of farm houses on the flat fertile land northwest of the city of Hama.

[...]

Some activists said anti-Assad insurgents had been operating in areas near the village, home to about 150 people, who may have been targeted in revenge or as collective punishment. But most said Mazraat al-Qubeir had never joined the revolt against four decades of Assad family rule. The hamlet lies about 20 miles (13 km) northwest of Hama, where forces loyal to Assad's father crushed armed Islamist uprising 30 years ago, killing many thousands of people and razing whole districts.

"They were peaceful Syrians, neither with the regime nor against it," said one activist, who called himself Abu Ghazi. He named 54 people killed, all but a dozen of them from the al-Yateem family. Three were listed as three years old or younger.

Mr. Hemari/Hamwy is a Yateem? Huffington Post

a Syrian farmer said ... "There was smoke rising from the buildings and a horrible smell of human flesh burning," said a man who told how he had watched Syrian troops and "shabbiha" gunmen attack his village as he hid in his family olive grove. "It was like a ghost town," he told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be named because he feared for his safety. ... "After the army fired on one area, security forces and shabbiha would go inside the houses. I heard gunshots inside three houses, then I saw them come out and burn them," the witness said. "Most of the time I couldn't hear anything over the artillery fire ... By 8 p.m., they were finished."

[...]

The witness, who claimed he was a Yateem family member, said he had spoken to his brother on a cellphone as gunmen rampaged through the town.

"The last conversation we had, I told him I saw the forces coming to our house," he said. "After the shabbiha and tanks left, the first thing I did was run to my house. It was burned. All seven people from my house were killed. I saw bodies on the stairs, the bathroom and bedroom. They were all burned." Also, how many people specified? Very few. This one sounds like the same batch of seven - a mother (older) and six "children" (a daughter and five grandchildren):

Video footage released on Thursday showed the bodies of at least a dozen women and children, wrapped in colourful blankets and white burial shrouds, packed with frozen water bottles for want of a morgue or any other refrigeration. Activists said they included a grandmother, her daughter and five grand-children killed in Mazraat al-Qubeir. Charred remains, possibly human body parts, were also visible.

Location

(incorporated) The location does little to mute the parallels with Al-Houla massacre. Reported as 20km west of Hama, it would be roughly the same distance north of Houla. shown by the BBC on satellite, it would seem to be ... the place it'll take a little more work to locate.

Not much more time. Mazraf. I could have typed it in. It's not clear if this is really the same as Mazra'at, or Mazra'at Al-Qubeir. But "the nearby village of Maarizab" where the dead were buried (i.e. likely perp village) could be the very near and larger Muhradah, another possible but less than clear fit. Would mirror Kafr Laha-Taldou quite well. It could be one of those towns I can't read around there, or another town around another spot.

Using the UN monitors' video should help pinpoint the exact location around there the BBC didn't find (later).

If it's even the spot... --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:24, 5 November 2012 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:51, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia: Al-Qubeir

Al-Qubeir (Arabic: القبير; also referred to as Mazraat al-Qubeir, Qubair, Qubayr, al-Qubayr and al-Kubeir in various news reports) is a settlement in the Hama Governorate of Syria, near the larger village of Maarzaf.[1] Al-Qubeir is described as a Sunni farming enclave surrounded by Alawite villages in the central province of Hama.[2] Al-Qubeir is around 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of the city of Hama with around 30 homes and had around 160 inhabitants.[3] BBC News reports have described al-Qubeir as "just a few single-storey flat-roofed buildings set in the middle of golden corn fields"[4] and as having "fewer than 30 houses".[5]

The peak seen in the the background in the UN video at 0:15 could be this 700 m high hill 27 km to the south east: http://goo.gl/maps/z3dV6 -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:11, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia gives an exact location, but I think they are wrong. The topography is different: on Google earth you cannot see the peak (or any peak) from the stated spot. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:05, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I had missed the co-ordinates. Looking at the town so tagged, something says it could be the one. Zooming out on the locale, it's right in the area, one mile from the southern tip of Mazraf, closer yet to my red dot. That puts your peak quite a ways to the east, but I was thinking the closer hills, almost due south, if it's possible they'd look that big. If we're looking SE, it's not much further, just south of Hama. Looking again at the video,0:17, it's near mid-day, sun about south, and the peaks seem to be off to the southeast then. The one to the left/north might be this hacked up mountain area. I think the hills are too small, your peak(s) correct, and Wikipedia's location could be it, though all unobstructed views from that area should be about the same. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:22, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
You should be able to recreate the view on Google Earth with the ground level view. UN says "the observers were able to access the village at 3:30 local time." Cannot be noon. Besides, your "hacked up mountain" is a a hole in a rock quarry. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:44, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
P.S. – Should have been more explicit earlier. I identified the peak by recreating a similar scene on Google Earth. The peak is visible throughout the area – except it is NOT visible in the spot identified by Wikipedia. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:48, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
I still don'thave GE. I meant mid-day, not noon. 3:30 is later than I thought, but all I can say is the sun is fairly high. There's the time zone issue too -they'd likely use official time, GMT +3 (?) while in the +2 zone - could add an hour, depending. Quarry, oops, read the shadows wrong. For two mountains then all I can see is the two peaks south of Hama, about on the same line from that area. To appear that spread, the left one must be the peakier (eastern) half of the southern mountain, the distance can't be too great, and it suggests more easterly location than the red dot or Wikipedia's spot. It'd be in the hill areas, obviously, and there seem to be very few towns in there. I can see about three possible hits, like this (sorry, I don't know the goo.gl trick or get the need). --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:33, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to start over on the location - I hate not pinning that down. Spent a couple hours yesterday with no success yet. Syria's rep at the UN Jaafari said "the gunmen who committed the crime came from another village called Jreijes." As now noted up-front, this might be the nearby Jarjarah. The nexus then is near Jreijies, near Marzaf, 13-20 km W or NW of Hama. Video says scrubby hilltop, and those areas are identifiable on the map, dominating that area, mostly empty. Will look greener on the February map, but the road should be reddish dirt and quite rough. All Google labels should be checked, and I might have (no hits). So probably an un-labeled collection of 20-30 buildings. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:27, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

One of the towns directly north of the spot wikipedia has identified is labeled "Khirbat Jarjisah" on wikimapia. The spot itself is labeled "Qubair Farm". Dunno if that helps (will try to catch up). --CE (talk) 02:03, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
I looked at that town too (all of 'em) and I don't think it's right. However, that's a good tip - Mazraat apparently translates to farm. I saw that somewhere - farm Qubeir. They're saying it's the spot, but I think they're wrong. The possible Jreijes match is good- I'll list both up-front. But I think we have Qubeir - the town I made the road match on. Very near Mazraf. See below. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:40, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

I got Google Earth but the topo features don't seem to help much (yet). The monitors drive in, on their video, on a rough dirt road. The windscreen edge is not a good sundial, but we hear it was 3:30 PM, which is azimuth 264. So I think that means they're driving S-SW into this town. If so, it's hard to find a good match. By access road, the best fit is here, just SE of Mazraf ("road" perhaps too rough). But nothing else seems to fit. The town Wikipedia indicates has a good match of how the road (if not rough enough) and the town spread to the right, if rotated 90 degrees clockwise. There are a few buildings to compare, no clear matches in either of these spots. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:27, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

How possible is it they're driving west and it's mid-morning? They have access to a house or so, film while parked for a while until getting real access to the rest at 3:30? Or are the shadows too long for that? About 45 degrees, I think, if Mood's shadow (0:18) is as long as his body is tall, as it seems. 49.5 at 3:30. 12:15 PM might fit with a rotated scene, azimuth 162, but altitude 77 degrees. So I think it must be 3:30, but would like another thought. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:27, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

A Solid Location Ventured

I think we might have the spot, and it's the one I made a road match on. The video matches and mismatches: The approach is consistent - 0:02 at this spot, approaching from Mazraf/Mazraf (about one mile to the north), apparently ready to turn off that faint road and cross open fields. The scene at 0:04 is the stumbling point -I don't see a match. Is it a confusing edit? Or the wrong town? 0:08 not sure, possible matches (sun almost due west, so we're seeing the south face of a building set fairly square). At 0:12 it gets better. I think that building is the one centered here. The August 2010 GM imagery is waaay more helpful in that regard. All features match and then we see same place, other (north) side, at 0:21 and 1:30. At 1:30 the other nearby buildings (south and east of the one) seen, and more so at 1:20-1:25. Same number, spacing as the map, roof feature on the west one, tree(s) between, tree behind the south home, low shed with stone wall to the north/east. The large fancy building (a home?) looked out from at 0:16 is possibly this one - even the piles of black cables match. 1:04 external view matches (where is the roof higher? Yep-the stairwell. Upper window? Edge of the giant hole letting usee see the stairwell. Etc...). Road wiggle matches. View north up the road at 0:18 matches; four buildings visible, possible mustard crop to the left, in the mid-distance to the NNW, Mazraf. Visible water tower on the right line-no match yet. So all in all, I'm suddenly calling this about 90% sure, with one possibly out-of-sequence moment only spoiling it a little, and everyone else's tips were no help. I'll whip up a graphic. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:40, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

The graphics for now. Not even a mile. By main road, you could drive there in 90 seconds. The lazy bastards. Unless I'm wrong, of course. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:30, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Both corner views on the right say east face when I meant west (lit-up side, duh). Will be updated. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:11, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Qubeir Map Big w Sites.png
Qubeir Southern Sites.png
wikimapia says that's http://wikimapia.org/24442554/en/Maarzaf-Al-Qubair
Sounds like a match! --CE (talk) 10:39, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
So was it that simple? Nope. We had to do this to be sure. That's MaaRZaf al-Qubeir. They're saying the other is the one. Farm does translate/pronounce exactly as Mazraat, when put in Google translate (just checked). Description there: "now destroyed." This one... they also say that it's the one, by linking to the wikipedia article for Qubeir of the massacre, with the coordinates putting it further west than either of these guesses. So ... it's been placed in three spots by whatever info or lack thereof, one was correct only, and we're ahead of the curve again and establishing which one it is. :D --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:03, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
My bad, only two guesses. The wrong one is jointly pointed to by Wikimapia and Wikipedia. Wikimapia also has it right, along with A Closer Look on Syria. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:07, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, excellent job, didn't mean to belittle it. German wikipedia also has it wrong. The labels on wikimapia are from different people. The "wrong" one is from a certain HamaEcho, while the "right" one was first created in Arabic and then someone else added the English name (and the link to wikipedia to add confusion). All happened seven months ago, in the aftermath of that spot getting worldwide attention. --CE (talk) 11:40, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

The improvised-looking tripod thing seen on the road-facing end of the building (top half of bottom image) - who erected that and why? The inhabitants, to display a flag (white?) or something? Or the attackers, to display something like a human head? (And with 24 hours to clean-up before this video, they got rid of the head, but why would they not take the stand down?)--Caustic Logic (talk) 11:16, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Did you notice the dead donkey in the lower right hand corner at 0:18?
And yes, I think I can confirm the spot. I have been able to match several electric poles, trees and buildings. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:11, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
I did see the hoof, but I couldn't think what it would be. A hoof, yes, good call. Thanks for checking in and double-checking stuff! --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:56, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Echoes of Houla

Like the Houla massacre less than two weeks earlier and a few miles south, the Qubeir incident appears to have involved some pretty serious firepower blowing up homes, mass killings of whole families, aiming for total decimation, from the elderly to the newborn, and widespread arson of homes and crops. Both massacres occurred in the afternoon or evening, following an initial assault starting about 2pm. [3] Qubeir is said to be ringed by Alawite villages [4], as Al-Houla is, and both also neighbor areas dominated by rebels with small units that could be bolstered at any time by the larger forces available in rebel-heavy Homs, Rastan, and Hama (see map below). Both towns were left vacated by the shelling/fighting/massacres. Both feature illogical and/or vague and deeply conflicting accounts from the government and the opposition, with the Western consensus both times siding against the government.

The June massacre Followed the pattern established at Houla to an eerie degree. As Reuters reported: Several activists told Reuters that up to 40 women and children were among the dead when the village in central Syria was shelled on Wednesday before fighters moved in and shot and stabbed dozens of people to death." [5]

Time passed on the SNC account that "the militiamen converged on Qubair from neighboring pro-regime villages. It said some of the dead were killed execution-style, others were slain with knives. "Women and children were burned inside their homes in al-Qubair," said Mousab Alhamadee, an activist based in the central province of Hama." [6]

The timing too was to similar effect, and even more acutely suggesting someone intent on harming the Syrian government's standing in the world. Reuters reported:

U.N. monitors tried on Thursday to reach a village where activists say Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad massacred at least 78 villagers, hours before a divided U.N. Security Council discusses Syria. If confirmed, the killings at Mazraat al-Qubeir, near Hama, will pile pressure on world powers to act, but they have been paralysed by divisions pitting Western and most Arab states against Assad's defenders in Russia, China and Iran.[5]

CNN's Moni Basu reported "experts on Syria agree. It is another Houla."

"Assad and his regime have been slaughtering people on an industrial scale for well over a year now, and there's no reason to think they're going to stop because Kofi Annan politely asks them to," said Michael Weiss of the British think tank the Henry Jackson Society. "How many more of these bloodbaths will the West abide by without intervening to protect Syria's civilians?" he asked. He said he the world ought to realize that the Houla massacre, however shocking, was hardly unique.
Qubeir Home 1.png
The visuals from Qubeir are eerily similar in spots to those from Taldou, Al-Houla. For example, "This citizen journalism image provided (link - graphic) by Shaam News Network SNN, taken on Thursday, June 7, 2012 purports to show the bodies of Syrian children in, Mazraat al-Qubair," and is exactly the same as one of the many from Al-Houla. But even among original pictures, the violated homes and other buildings in Taldou show marks of horizontal blasts, opening walls, and widespread arson (also of fields and crops). At Qubeir, UN monitor video shows some homes have whole walls blown away, some were torched intensely enough the building cracked like an eggshell, heavy anti-aircraft munitions were used prodigiously and scooped up for the investigation, and what seems to be stored grains are still smoldering. [7] Consider also this scene of a family massacre in Houla (bodies present) and this one (also shown below) of a scene from Qubeir. In both cases, the people were seated in their living rooms and machine gunned there, leaving the marks on the wall near a corner. In Houla, the bodies were left behind, and the added graffiti seems to translate "from here on out, Free (Syrian) Army."

Rebel reports and videos suggest the victims of this massacre sometimes suffered great cruelty, as they had in Taldou. Just re-visiting what the alleged witnesses told the UK Telegraph, Mr. Hemary said his mother, three sisters and three brothers were "beaten on the head by sticks and stabbed with knives," and families inside other homes had been "slaughtered by knives." Abou Hisham al-Hamouli, mentioned a beheaded child, and a charred woman. The FSA fighter saw "children without a head, and others without arms. Some were burned and some were without eyes." [3] Some video analysis supports at least three extremely charred people (one presumes ) of various sizes, the killing of children, one having a head injury revealing half his skull in the back, a man with his face completely caved-in, and various injuries not clearly seen. (see below, video assessment)

Zabadani

From the page:

Thomson reported a member of the Arab League observers affirming to him "I read your piece “set up to be shot in no mans land”, I can relate as I had that same experience in Al Zabadani during our tour.”

I just ran across this town, or one with the same name. Suburb of Damascus, rebel held apparently since July-ish. Apparently also called Zabdeen, Just about 2 miles north of Deir al-Asafir where the alleged cluster bombing of the "playground" occurred. FWIW. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:43, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Confusion over Zabadani. The Telegraph says it's "east of Damascus," like this Zabdeen (which HRW's coordinates point to, by the way). But the name is a bit too different, and Google Maps has Zabadani further off to the West of the capitol, here, almost on the Lebanese border. That's surely what the monitor refers to. What the Telegraph meant is less clear.

References

  1. Intervention of Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar Al-Jafari, 07-06-2012Youtube video. Published on Jun 7, 2012 by MrGeourg
  2. Jaafari: Al-Qubeir Massacre Committed 5 Hrs before Clashes HappenedAlmanar, June 8, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 Full Horror of the Al-Qubeir Masacre EmergesThe Telegraph, June 8, 2012
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NL
  5. 5.0 5.1 U.N. monitors try to verify new Syria massacreBy Mariam Karouny and Erika Solomon, Reuters, BEIRUT | Thu Jun 7, 2012 3:52pm IST
  6. [1]
  7. UN Observers enter Mazraat al-QubeirYoutube video, Published on Jun 8, 2012 by UNSMIS