Talk:The Shabiha: Ghost Stories?

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AL-Barri Clan

This is a space for the discussion of this large pool of "Shabiha" rebels finally got even with in Aleppo last summer. What they were accused of, how many killed, etc. I'll start with a lame few links.

Popular Committees as the real Shabiha

Is it that simple? It almost seems that way to me. SOme stuff up-front, a space here to expand, add etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:12, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Shabiha Entanglement with Hezbollah, etc.

Both the visible (real) and the invisible (mythical) Shabiha have some evidence and claims of links to Iranina and Shi'ite parties. A space to explore that and or/comment on the issue. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:12, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

SyrPer on the term

SyrPer has an interesting take today - Ziad Fadel, professional Arabic<->English translator, first points out that the word doesn't exist in formal Arabic but has some connotations to "ghost", as we know, and then explains that the Ba'ath Party has a "Revolutionary Youth Movement" called "Shabeeba", which he compares to the boy scouts and some less friendly observers might liken to the Hitler Youth. He thinks "Shabiha" is a play-on-words propaganda term by some half-witted academic he suspects in Lebanon. I of course checked if he isn't bullshitting, and first found that Bahrain has a youth organization of that name, and it's a given name for girls, and after I searched with the word and "Baath" I found a couple of references which make clear that this organization indeed exists. Here's a 2002 German translation of a Svenska Dagbladet article which labels it as "Shabiba at-Thaura" and here's a text from a "Syrian Freedom Fighter" describing his youth and how he was forced to join the "Shabiba" youth organization. "Interesting" that none of the pre$$titudes writing about the spooky Alawite militia have figured that out. --CE (talk) 23:20, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Saw it. Came here to comment, but see that you have already linked to it. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:35, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Hm. According to G-translate (not a professional), ghost exists in Arabic as شبح , which is pronounced Shibah. That's about what he says. Then Al-Shabiba, Revolutionary Youth, where Shabbab means youth. I can buy that. So for a group that doesn't exist, somewhere between these two words and their suggestions, and adding the Alawi twist ... perfect. Ba'ath sectarian ghost brigades with a clever and catchy name that, yeah, someone should have pieced together by now. Incidentally, reading up on Alawism at Wikipedia, all its oddities the Sunni extremists hate have been steadily minimized over recent decades, reportedly:
According to author Theodore Padnos, who lived in Syria from 2007 to 2010, the Alawite religion evolved during the years under Hafez Al Assad's rule, so that Alawites became not Shi'ites, but effectively Sunnis. Public manifestation or "even mentioning of any Alawite religious activities" were banned, as were any Alawite religious organizations or "any formation of a unified religious council" or a higher Alawite religious authority. "Sunni-style" mosques were built in every Alawite village, and Alawites were encouraged to perform Hajj.

Then in 2011, his son revived the Alawi death cult, at least according to rebel blood libel stories, and set it loose on the mission simply hidden thus far - eradicating the Sunites, one remote village family at a time, with the ghost army. I suspect the reactionaries are reviving all the "Nusayri" "enemies of God" stuff they can, making it seem contemporary and exaggerated and needing smashed before the Alawites escape into the Sunni background as it seems they were well on their way to doing. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:04, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

The rebels in Idlib have for months been fighting over something called a "youth camp". Nobody has been able to explain why. Today SyrPer calls it the Al-Shabeeba Youth Camp. (What do the rebels think they are? The Ghostbusters?) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:22, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

SyrPer has a long blog post on the militias: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:26, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Timeline of Shabiha References

Wikipedia

Copying over what CE once said at the JREF forum.

Checked the Shabiha articles on wikipedia. The oldest one is the Arabic one, from late March 2011. The English one is from August 2011, the German one from December 2011. In Farsi and Turkish people haven't heard about it until early 2012.

The Wikipedia page. Indeed. The vast majority of articles are from June 2012, and none predate the uprising. They almost seem to have not existed before that. Also, as she noted, the famous muscle-bound Shabih shown around in June 2012 is from a million-plus view video posted in April, 2011. Anything predating the rebellion and a reasonable prior planning period anyone finds should be brought here. So far, it seems this ghost army has emerged to explain all the things the rebel forces must not acknowledge as their own work. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:42, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

I looked a bit at revision histories for the English and Arabic pages. August 4, 2011 the English one was started with this entry.

shabeeha /Shabiha (شبيحة - shabee7a) is a term used in the costal part of syria (mainly latakia, jableh) to refer to a gang of paramilitia units or smugglers ... a shadow militia in case of need ... Shabeeha became relevant again when the 2011 Syrian uprising Witnesses and refugees from the northwestern region say that the shabbiha have reemerged during the uprising and in June were being used by the Syrian government to carry out "a scorched earthed campaign [...] burning crops, ransacking houses and shooting randomly" In April, Wissam Tarif, director of the human rights group Insan, said the Shabbiha was operating in Homs, and an anonymous witness said they were to blame for some of the 21 deaths there over the course of two days.

The cited reports seem to be Oweis, April 21 Al-Jazeera, June 19 (see below).

The Arabic page predates both sources. First created by user Tariqaa20 March 29, 2011 citing a now-pulled video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zpC0I8muc8 and nothing else yet. By mid-April the page expanded a bit, listing 12 leading figures, etc. and "witnesses said security agents used criminal gangs dubbed the "Shabiha" to spread chaos in the city of Latakia, according to a report aired on "Arab" (al-Arabiya?) on Sunday 27-3-2011." That story is likely connected to the video that spurred the page's creation in those same few days. Also cited is a now-dead link, among a few others, which I think dates to April 1 (see below)

Cited sources then:

Each system Blatjtah .. May differ in Tzmyatem but in any case agree in disrepute and acts , as long as their job supporting authoritarian regimes to suppress its people and torturing ... it appears that all of the Alawite sect , this does not mean the criminalization of each members of the community , but this is the truth ... the law does not apply to them, they do what they want without a deterrent undeterred...
Appeared strongly before the period when he appeared on YouTube and they killed a policeman in Latakia , and he knew the people of Latakia Bthdém law and their cars and military muscles twisted in order to terrorize the city, and the world watched the whole video clips that aired sites YouTube and satellite global photographs carrying machine guns RPGs and Kalashnikovs firing Aroonhm on parents and even killed some of the security men , with sectarian slogans aimed at the peaceful revolution of national symbols on the track.
And funny that Political and Media Advisor to the Prime Shaaban on the spot and charged to other nationalities and militants and fundamentalists and the Muslim Brotherhood , a charge eternal in Syria and Hallstand known widely for the Syrian people , as if Syria Somalia dotted with armed groups and capable of carrying weapons of medium in the street ... shabeeha on the outskirts of Damascus to thwart any popular movement is peaceful , but the way that failed the shabiha in Latakia is unlikely to succeed in Damascus.
But it was just about ready to make a big try in Homs. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:06, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Security forces wielding assault rifles were deployed in Homs, a witness said, where residents organized neighborhood patrols after 21 protesters were shot dead on Monday and Tuesday by security police and Alawite gunmen known as 'al-shabbiha'.
Assad's security apparatus, dominated by minority Alawites, has used gunfire and brutality to cow protesters. Authorities have blamed armed groups, infiltrators and Salafi fundamentalist organizations for firing on civilians and security forces.
"They came at 7:00am to Bdama. I counted nine tanks, 10 armoured carriers, 20 jeeps and 10 buses. I saw shabbiha [pro-Assad gunmen] setting fire to two houses," said Saria Hammouda, a lawyer living in the border town, in the Jisr al-Shughur region.
Another activist said that security forces had torched a bakery in Bdama on Sunday, shooting one person in the stomach in the process. The man was evacuated to Turkey for treatment, the activist said.
A resident told AFP that Bdama was virtually deserted by Sunday morning.

Peak of Fame: Mid-2012

Found that short summary on Shabiha on an "activists" page:

Looks like the Nazis in Hollywood are in competition now! -- Jim Jekyll (talk) 00:19, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Jek, thanks for bringing this. Sorry for the delay reading it and responding. Conclusion: already have it cited. The article is ... Daily Mail or whatever. Global Post, right. Odd source, actually. "Abu Jafaar" (not "Jafaar") is mentioned here prominently, via that. He's the archetype, the true Shabiha, widely cited. The alleged timeline in general is a little under-filled here, and that source would play into fleshing that out. In time. Did you know this page comes up real high already in a Google search for Shabiha? It's pretty cool, and not even as completed as it should be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:58, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

As for surface-level media reports, it seems early 2012 is when Shabiha first get mentioned. But by early December 2011 in Homs‎ at least they were being blamed for part of a spate of retaliatory kidnap-executions between the city's Sunni extremist and Alawite communities. I finally decided to see how far back this went into 2011 and was a bit surprised to see that it goes roughly all the way back.

Why I don't know - C.E. already found the Arabic page goes back to late March, 2011, maybe two weeks after protests began. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:22, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

VDC

I checked the VDC martyr's database for all victims with notes including "Shab" (to allow different spellings/forms of Shabiha). were 1,395 of them. I looked at the end for the oldest entries and will trace out this start, just one month into the uprising.

The first mentions appear on April 16, 2011 with two killings in restive Baniyas, which just had a crackdown in the preceding days. Mohammad Hikmat al-Kwayes from Jisr Al-Shoghour, he was a "driver on Syria-Beirut way," killed by field execution 2011-04-16. Notes: "He left the city with two passengers, and when he arrived to the city of Banyas, the regime's shabiha stopped him and executed him with a passenger." That passenger must be Osama Alhiga from Banyas. "He died of his wounds after ShaBiha attack." The CDv entry for driver Mohammed has two attached videos of the martyr: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmQFtw1hexk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbDfIaCsa58. Apparently, the Shabiha put him and the one passenger back in the vehicle, wrote out a note explaining who was responsible, and parked it somewhere where activists were likely to find it. Or, maybe, these are the same "Shabiha" who we know from later exploits. Indeed, the victims was apparently stabbed to death all over the shoulders and torso. and wound up in a dimly-lit field clinic/morgue with activist video cameras present.

After this, there's a few week pause in reports here, anyway, before Husain Abdelkhaleq Faour of Homs, Karm Zaitun (photo, older man) was executed on May 10, as the notes say, "after security and shabiha raided his home." The next day in Damascus, Fadi al-Saedi, a student from Daraa (Jasem) was killed by "other." Explained: "In a protest inside the science University in Damascus after he got beaten brutally bu Shabiha and security." Cited articles: one is now a dead/for sale/porn site. The other: http://www.alittehad.net/vb/showthread.php?t=16783 More Shabiha references occurred on 5/14, 5/20, and 5/27. Then a month pause before 6/24, 6/30, 7/01, 7/08, 7/14, and so on, with reports more steady and confident from there on. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:21, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Sources

Study "The Alawite Dilemma in Homs"

Josh Landis linked this study which he calls "excellent". Published by German Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Political Foundation of the Social-Democratic Party) in March 2013 and written (in English) by a certain Aziz Nakkash who apparently interviewed many "Shabiha" in Homs. Only skimmed it so far (20 pages). Seems to be not entirely propagandistic, although I saw some flaws already - he writes about them "replacing" the Ba'ath youth organizations, but doesn't seem to be aware of the very similar "Shabiba" name the latter fly as SyrPer taught us, yet comes up with another possible origin (in addition to "Ghosts"). It seems he's claiming that the term is also a self-description, although I hadn't have time to look close enough to be sure about that yet. P.S. There have been a couple of "Guru Meditation" hours. --CE (talk) 14:18, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

The term is also said to refer to a car with a big smuggler's trunk. Will be pulling these together sometime, and taking a look at that. Sounds bad, though. I meant to do a little something earlier but had that message instead. Glad it's back now and hope it stays. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:12, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
Just jumping to sections 2.4 and 2.5, one can find interesting historical tidbits like "Ghandi eventually became a member of what is today known as the Shabiha." Different name from Gandhi, but it still hit me. New name origin possibility: "a more likely explanation is that the term shabiha is derived from shabaha, a verb meaning to rip apart an object or a person, almost to the point of dismemberment." In context, as rebel storytellers mean it, probably one of the reasons it was the perfect name. Baa'th youth/popular committee (Lijan Shaa'biya)/Mercedes Shabah smuggler's trunk (see right below)/dismembering ghost army. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:18, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
But there does seem to be a real popular paramilitary calling itself Shabiha (or perhaps Lijan Sha'abiya, fudged?). The interviews here seem plausible, at least in general (I wonder about his contacts and any screening, but the signs are mixed and subtle, and it could be 100% level). I think a could way to approach this is two version of the Shabiha, possibly but not certainly one and the same. One is what's described here, more-or-less, and maybe from others interviewed (screens and actors and all are possible for each case), painting something a little sketchy still but plausible and apparently true, to some degree. The other is the ghost killers of these rural massacres. Both versions require greater scrutiny, especially the latter, as well as correlation between them. The "Shabiha" are to Syria very much what "African mercenaries" were to Libya. It deserves the scrutiny we've started here, and then some. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:18, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
I searched for "Aziz Nakkash" and all one can find is directly connected to the study. Except that there is a Bollywood singer/actor of the name "Nakkash Aziz". I'd say it's likely a pseudonym. Which says nothing about the authenticity of the information, given the potential for violence from both sides triggered by painting a nuanced picture. Who am I to complain? ;o) --CE (talk) 12:59, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Global Post/Toronto Star

An interesting piece. It gives a name for the famous video guy - Areen Al-Assad. Relative? Also an interview in Lattakia with "Abu Jaafar," claiming to be a Shbaih, and giving "a frank and unique insight into the violent, disturbed world of the shabiha, a group that suffers from a dangerous cocktail of religious indoctrination, minority paranoia and smuggler roots." "Frank" and "insight" both suggest honesty. Strangely "candid," this man is. As for the roots, the Shabiha are "named either for the Arabic word for ghosts or the old Mercedes Shahab popular for its smuggling-sized trunk" --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:42, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
The massacres in northern Syria, which UN officials, eyewitnesses and Human Rights Watch all concluded were perpetrated mainly by shabiha triggered a wave of international revulsion, with many analysts describing militia as a “Frankenstein” now beyond the control of the president. The regime blamed both massacres on foreign terrorists.
“The regime has been spawning militias, as deep down it is a militia pretending to be a state,” said a leading Syria analyst based in Damascus, who asked for anonymity to speak freely. “The Frankenstein is now completely out of control.”
[...]
“Sunni women are giving birth to babies who will fight us in years to come, so we have the right to fight anyone who can hurt us in the future,” said the Allawite militiaman [...] With his massive, tattooed muscles, shaved head, bushy black beard and trademark white trainers, Abu Jaafar, 38, looks every bit the figure of terror that is now imprinted on the international conscience.
[...]
Though he has a wife and children, after a day lifting weights and drinking some local Arak, Jaafar spends most evenings in the nightclubs of Lattakia [...] “If I get a call from my boss then my whole day is changed,” he said. “When I leave the house, I don’t know when I will be back.”

Packing up the Kalashnikovs, pistols, machine guns and grenades he said were given to him “by the government,” Jaafar joins his gang of 100 shabiha [...] and sets off to crush Sunni Muslim protesters.

[...]
Reportedly established by Namir al-Assad, President Hafez al-Assad’s cousin, and Rifaat al-Assad, the late president’s brother, each shabiha gang grew up owing allegiance to a particular member of the extended Assad family.
Syria experts say members of the shabiha would be carefully selected for their physical strength, lack of education and blind loyalty to the Allawite sect and the Assad family in particular.
By the mid 1990s, however, the shabiha were beginning to get out of control and Hafez al-Assad ordered his elder son and heir apparent Basel, famed for horsemanship and a furious temper, to bring the militias to heel. He did so, but soon after died in a car crash, catapulting his awkward younger brother Bashar into the presidency.
Following Basel’s crackdown, Jaafar said he left his gang and opened a liquor store. [...] "Last June, friends from the shabiha asked me to return to work with them,” Jaafar said. “They said we must defend President Assad and his family and keep the power for the Allawite sect.” Soon, Jaafar’s pay of about $20 for a day’s thuggery had risen to a steady monthly salary of about six times the average state wage.
“We started by facing the protesters, but when the opposition became armed we attacked them in their villages,” Jaafar said. “In addition to our salaries, we take whatever we can get during the attacks: TVs, video players, electronics.”

Oweis, Reuters, Feb 3

Oweis puts the start of the uprising in Aleppo at this time (nearly a year in!), and says that the "Shabiha" here were Sunni, not Alawi.--Caustic Logic (talk) 06:42, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Assad loyalist militiamen, known as 'shabbiha', fired at random overnight in the Hananu neighborhood as the refrain "God is great" echoed from houses in defiance of security forces who deployed in the area after growing pro-democracy demonstrations this week.
[...]
Months of relative calm in Aleppo were shattered when shabbiha militiamen killed at least 10 people after pro-democracy demonstrations erupted last week in the city which, together with adjoining towns, has a population of several million people, activists said.

The killings, the deadliest in the city during the 11-month uprising, happened in the tribal Marjeh neighborhood after security forces fired at a rally demanding Assad's removal, they said.

[...]""
Bashar strived to prevent upheaval in the city [...] and was shown frequently on state media with Ahmad Hassoun, the state-appointed Mufti, whom authorities consider to be the highest Muslim religious authority. Hassoun is from Aleppo. His son was assassinated three months ago, with the authorities blaming "terrorists" for the killing. [...] "The difference between Aleppo and the rest of Syria is that Hassoun and the other clerics have remained quiet, and that the shabbiha the regime has recruited are actually Sunnis from the city, not Alawites," one businessman in the city said.

Some activists said those killed were all demonstrators while others said most were killed in clashes that followed the shooting on the protest.

Keller, Guardian

Peter Keller (a pseudonym for a journalist who has worked in Syria), The Guardian, May 31, 2012: Ghosts of Syria: diehard militias who kill in the name of Assad

This is a long and detailed article piecing together what activists said about the secret system and financing behind their boogeymen. Both Alawite and co-opted Sunni businessmen are involved, especially certain car dealers, and some with embarrassing links to foreign companies. The standard chronology is there -a smuggling gang in the 70s, suddenly repressing and slaughtering in 2011/12/13. Between is mentioned the 80s, when Hafez Al-Assad moved a lot of poor Alawites into cities in Lattakia, fed and bribed them, and the 2000s period of "half-baked attempts at economic renewal." Here. foreign companies got embarrassing links they can set right by helping the rebels. ("one Damascus opposition activist presented a Guardian journalist with a list of the main business benefactors of the shabiha") And in 2011 Bashar called in the return payment, shooting people at protests and funerals, unseen on rooftops of course. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:01, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
But it was amid the chaos and sectarian tensions of revolutionary Homs that the shabiha really came into their thuggish own. Mohammed, a veteran and respected moderate opposition activist in the city whom the Guardian met in February, said the shabiha in Homs accompany the Syrian army on raids and at checkpoints, but appear to have their own leadership and command structure – and take orders from unknown officials elsewhere.
When soldiers storm a rebel area or move in to search it, the shabiha arrive with them, sometimes on buses, to terrorise and steal from the local, largely Sunni population.
"They dress in black, or alike in army khakis, but wear a yellow ribbon on their shoulder," Mohammed told the Guardian on Monday. On 13 May, according to Mohammed, the shabiha moved into his area of al-Shammas, formerly a relatively peaceable Homs neighbourhood, and perpetrated a massacre there; he doesn't know how many were killed.
[...]
As their numbers have grown and hundreds of thousands of Homs residents have fled the city, the growing ranks of shabiha have moved in to colonise whole neighbourhoods and steal goods and furniture from empty houses. "They're vultures," said Mohammed. "They leave nothing behind."
Rami named two mid-level businessmen, one an Alawite living in the al-Qosair area of Homs, the other a Sunni living in Damascus, who he believes sponsor all the work of the shabiha in Homs. They work in conjunction with the head of security intelligence in the city, he said, who hires out his own men as shabiha or procures unemployed locals for the job.
None of this information is possible to verify, and Syrians are convinced that every successful businessman must somehow have sold his soul to the regime.

Other Sources

Via SyrPer:

  • A Hired Killer in Syria Reconsiders His Role
    He and his men were not soldiers or police, but members of the shabiha — paramilitary units that in the capital typically comprise 20 to 25 fighters, armed with AK-47s and the Soviet heavy machine guns known as Duskhas. The militias take their name from gangster clans that emerged in the 1970s when Mr. Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, was in power.
    Some say the name is a riff on the Arabic word for ghost, while others say it derives from the gangsters’ fondness for a Mercedes-Benz model known as a shabah.
    Though the shabiha are largely Alawite — and often have government connections — their smuggling and criminal exploits got so out of hand that by the early 1990s the authorities cracked down on them.
    Since the 2011 uprising, however, they have turned into paid auxiliaries providing support for the Syrian Army. Making up for a shortage of recruits to the armed forces, their role has grown, especially in urban areas where they control the streets. The Syrian authorities are now thinking about integrating them into new military units that will be deployed throughout the country.

The word may be the same, but the article fails to establish a connection between the criminal gangs of the 1990s and the militias of 2012. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:12, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

In Ma’arret Numan, Idlib, Kittleson met with Maher, "the commander of a local division of the Suqour Al-Sham Brigade," former taxi driver, an unnamed FSA fighter who spits angrily and leaves the room at rape confessions, and "a local Free Syrian Army ‘intelligence’ officer" who stands behind a desk. Then she was shown detainee "Mustafa"

The prisoner is led, handcuffed and dirty, into what until last year served as a school. “A shabiha,” said one of the anti-regime rebels in the room. “We found him two days ago at a checkpoint.”

She explains

‘Shabiha’ is a word long used in Syria to refer to the mafia-like militias originating in Alawite crime syndicates in the Latakia region in the early 1970s – when current President Bashar Al-Assad’s father, Hafez, became Syria’s first ever president from the minority. Long allowed to engage with impunity in smuggling, extrajudicial torture, rape and killings, the regime in turn expected the gangs of armed ‘thugs’ to serve its purposes when required. They have long been blamed for some of the worst acts of brutality perpetrated against civilians. Since the 2011 uprising, the term has become more widely used to refer to the various paramilitary organisations known to commit massacres and spread terror with the support of the Syrian regime.

Mustafa in particular talk of his and other Shabha's use of rape as an intimidation tactic, detailed in three cases, all "under the influence of drugs given to the fighters of the irregular militia without their knowledge." One victim was the wife of a man who wouldn't give them free fuel, another a pharmacist who wouldn't give them the sedative drugs they did know about and had false prescriptions for. The third case is strangest: ‘Mustafa’ said he ... had been forced to rape his brother’s wife to get her to persuade her husband to join the irregular militia." Fearing an honor killing, she complied and, at her urgings, the brother joined. Not the most efficient recruitment strategy, but nicely evil.

As for the captive's fate, Kittleson was told he "would be judged by a court consisting of three judges who had defected from the regime’s justice system, assisted by two religious advisors versed in Shariah law. The court would decide, and not the FSA brigades. If sentenced to execution, he would be shot." There's no mention of a defense counsel or anything fancy like that, and she notes "Justice is rudimentary in rebel-held areas. ... many say that to expect rebels to observe due process is unrealistic." --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:07, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Shabiha Massacres

(moved up front) --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:38, 22 April 2013 (UTC) Inviting input before posting up-front: The alleged Alawite militias are credited with a number and variety of crimes, but nothing stirs the wrold's imagination or spurs our scrutiny like a reported Shabiha massacre of men, women, and children in the Syrian countryside. There have been so, so many of these it's heartbreaking to an exponentially compounded degree. The following is an extremely partial list of just some of these, in chronological order, starting with larger massacres and/or ones we have covered at ACLOS, eventually to include however many more we have the time to mention. Among those examined, there are in fact troubling similarities and patterns, including frequent suggestions that some mysterious rebel "black ops" are actually to blame. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:01, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Notes: "Reported" means rebel/activist reports, usually upon finding the bodies. "Children" seem to be defined as those aged 12 and under. "Killed" as first mentioned (rebel claim) means brutally executed, civilians, and almost almost universally of the Sunni sect. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:01, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

* June, 2011: Jisr Al-Shughour massacre Not really a proper Shabiha massacre, mainly some few hundred Syrian soldiers were killed, with some reports of Shabiha involvement in killing them for defecting or whatever. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Actually misread CE's note of Shabiha not blamed as a mention that they were. Saw nothing else implicating them. Not this early. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:14, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

* Dec 14, 2011: Video: “Graphic - A group of men massacred by the shabiha militia in Ar Rastan

  • Early February 2012: Khalidiya Massacre, Khalidiya district, Homs. (details or page forthcoming) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Mid-March, 2012: Karm el-Zeytoun massacre 45 reported killed, mostly women and children, in theKarm el-Zeytoun district of Homs
Most had their throats cut or had stab wounds, while others had reportedly been burned with heating oil and had their limbs broken. Opposition activists and human rights groups said they had been killed by pro-government militiamen, the shabiha, who had entered the area after heavy government shelling. Syrian state news blamed "armed terrorist gangs" for the killings, saying they had kidnapped residents of Homs, killed them and then filmed the bodies to discredit Syrian forces. BBC
  • May 25/26, 2012: The Houla massacre 108 killed, 49 children. Not all verified, but could be. Rebels fighters possibly included, although they won the battle preceding the massacre. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • June 6, 2012: Mazraat al-Qubeir massacre 78 reported killed and burned, rebel fighters maybe included, as they lost a battle there. Verified: at least 19 civilians, 3 women, 10 children at least. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Late June, 2012: Douma Massacre (early July) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • July 12, 2012: Tremseh massacre Different hundreds of Sunnis civilians reportedly butchered, perhaps really "17 women, children and elderly, along with 30 bodies charred beyond recognition." Tremseh is generally accepted now as a rebel defeat after the army arrived, but with a smallish massacre still mixed in there, yet somehow ignored. That part seems to have happened before the army arrived. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • July 24, 2012: Al-Sharia Mosque massacre: A reported 50 killed at a mosque in Al-Shariaa, Northwest of Hama, by "Troops and shabbiha" who "began firing automatic rifles at the worshippers as they were entering the mosque," according to activist Jamil al-Hamwi, (a pseudonym, he says). France 24 video (one of many) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:14, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
  • August 24-28, 2012: Daraya massacre Different hundreds, 400-1,200, people killed over a couple of days. Few are clear if fighters are included or not - they lost a huge battle for the town in those same days, and most bodies shown are fighting-age men. Civilians were apparently massacred, numbers unknown but probably pretty high (minimum women and children count not tallied). --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Late August, 2012: Harak Massacre --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • September 26, 2012: September 26, the Deadliest Day 40-107 in Al–Dhiyabia, 18 in Al-Bayada, Homs. Banyas: unclear, Bazreh: 19, etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • October 23, 2012 Douma Massacre (late October) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • December 10/11, 2012: Aqrab Massacre 125-150 or up to 233 killed, women and children included, details unclear. They were Alawites. Those Alawite hostages who escaped don't know what happened to the rest, but whatever it was, rebels did it.
"Shabbiha Massacre Alawite Women and Children in Aqrab, Hama" - "Activists said the [Shabiha] militia-controlled building was being besieged by the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) " - "There were 200 people inside and we called on the residents to leave, but the Shabbiha held some women and children by gunpoint. Eventually talks fell apart and the government shelled the building...” --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:14, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Late December, 2012: Maan Massacre 23 reported killed by beheading, including 7 children, from the Sunni minority in a majority-Alawite town, following extremist Sunni rebel attacks there.
"Opponents of the regime reported on Tuesday that members of the Shabiha militia in the village of Maan, in Hama province, have beheaded 23 people. " - "Shabiha from everywhere ... entered the village of Ma'an and committed horrible massacres against our brothers the Sunnis, who make up a small percentage of the village…" --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:14, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
  • January 15/16, 2013: Haswiyeh Massacre 106 reported killed and burned, from families, but one list of 100 names was only 25% women and children. 75% male suggests most of the rest are rebel fighters. Locals say around 30 civilians were massacred by rebels in black before the army came and killed "many" of them. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • March 25, 2013: Abel massacre Up to 21 civilians killed and burned, 13 verified, just south of Baba Amr, Homs, the day after rebel forces were fully chased away from there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Kidnapping of NBC News Team

Holy Shiite Mug

Tip by Sharmine Narwani

NBC's Richard Engel forced to correct his 'story' that "Shia-accented" govt-aligned militias in Syria kidnapped him…because the NYT dug out info that this was untrue:
2012
"The kidnappers told us they were Shiite militiamen, members of the notorious Shabiha militia loyal to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They spoke in a particular accent, playing Shiite chants on their cellphones, smoking cigarettes, even serving us coffee in cups decorated with Shiite symbols. I, along with two other Arabic speaking members of our six-member team, believed they were from the Shabiha."
2015
Now, Engel says:
"The group that kidnapped us was Sunni, not Shia.
The group that kidnapped us put on an elaborate ruse to convince us they were Shiite Shabiha militiamen.
The group that kidnapped us was a criminal gang with shifting allegiances.
The group that freed us also had ties to the kidnappers."
NBC News amended its report of the 2012 abduction in Syria of Richard Engel, its chief foreign correspondent, saying Sunni militants were most likely to blame, not...

These guys sound a lot like the ones responsible for the Houla Massacre.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:12, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Maarrat al-Nu'man - June 2017

  • Jenan Moussa‏ @jenanmoussa on Twitter - June 9, 2017
    1/ This is an incredible video from Maaret al-Noman in Idlib. AlQaeda affiliated group in Syria is shooting at peaceful protesters. @akhbar
    2/ Watch this too. Nusra fighters with masks are holed up in their HQs & Syrians are looking them in the eye calling them Shabiha. @akhbar

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:35, 13 June 2017 (UTC)