Talk:Zara Massacre, May 12, 2016

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Pro-Rebel Sources

Scott Lucas, EA Worldview decries "confusion" caused by a "propaganda battle over the zara "massacre."" Witnesses here are "purported", a recycled photo is "another obstacle to any confirmation", and "rumors by a British-based “monitoring group”, widely used without scepticism by mainstream media" (SOHR) all muddle the truth here. Sounds familiar to us, if a bit whiny, like he's never had to deal with it before. What's clouded and distracted from? "The military significance of a victory in northern Homs Province by Syria’s rebels," all Islamist and some Al-Qaeda, who had "reopened a link between the towns of Houla and Rastan. If the offensive continues, it would add another challenge to the Assad regime and its foreign allies." But here we are bickering over whether civilians were killed or abducted. Pro-regime reports put the collective total at a laughable 120. (indeed, all agree - about 19 killed, about 100 taken as property). The Islamists said they only killed fighters (men, older boys), and the mayor, but spared the rest, and treated prisoners (the rest) humanely. But everyone else in the world says the Islamist attackers killed maybe 20 civilians. So it's presented as "ongoing confusion." You know, if you huff some gas fumes after spinning around for several seconds, you can get confused. Lucas seems to have his own method going on here for deliberate self-confusion. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:42, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Death Toll

From the Scott Lucas piece considered above:

The Homs Operations Room, which is coordinating the rebel offensive, followed with a specific response to the one solid piece of evidence of civilian deaths. It said that the two [sic - it's three] women had been killed after they fired on rebels, killing one fighter. While maintaining that the deaths were “lawful”, the Operations Room said the fighters who posed with the bodies would be punished for degrading the victims.

That actually could be, depending. Even if they were herded into this room and shot down, it might've been after they caught them sniping (important work in such a surprise raid - helps slow their advance, buys others time to flee, and they might have been short-handed for capable men). There doesn't seem much woman-killing, and they didn't try to hide this one, so the claim is plausible. For, you know, what that's worth here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:42, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

In that interview with Senator Richard Black I posted to my recommendations the other day, there's a woman with him named Janice Kortkamp who happened to be in the region with private Syrian friends and passed Zara by car a day before the massacre. According to the information she got through her friends, 42 people were killed, including women and "children burned alive" - might be exaggerated for effect in the known way, but there certainly is some there there. Here is the point in the video where they talk about it. --CE (talk) 13:49, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
I actually watched that (mostly), thanks. That's a great video. Checking, it's Sen. Black citing his memory of her assessment, so not very reliable. Hanging and burning children alive, after they had to watch their mother's killed ... yeah, could be, but more likely not. The rope might burn through, for example. Janice's face suggests she might be thinking 'he's mangling the story.' Or she had it mangled, or maybe it's true. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:02, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

VDC Records

The opposition VDC sat it out. By their sources, there were No Hama martyrs at all on May 12. Not even any regime forces, civilian forces or any kind, killed that day.

Homs? The VDC seems to think Zara is in Homs. Still, no Homs civilians killed this day. None? Wow. But something violent happened, and it's no secret rebels took over Zara that day: 10 non-civilians from Homs (Rastan Houla, Baba Amr, etc.) died from shooting, 9 of them specified as dying in Homs: Zara, "during the clashes." Given rank for all 10: FSA. In fact, they should be mainly Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Parellel: The VDC listed only a couple military members out of the 100+ civilians/non-combatants killed in the Latakia Massacres in 2013. In other cases, they launder their dead heretics as either victims of the government, or as civilian forces of the government. But in these 2 cases, nothing. Both list rebel deaths in the "clashes," all or mostly listed, incorrectly, as "FSA," and if they can, they list soldiers or possible pro-government fighters killed. Both cases involved public offensives by the approved Islamist coalition to conquer and hold Alawi-inhabited territory. Maybe that's why they don't even try to hide the civilian victim - they just vanish them.

And there's no category for abducted by rebels, another massive feature in both. Detainees means of the government, missing applies to people not in their rightful place. Captured Alawites are right where they should be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:27, 12 July 2016 (UTC)