Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sunni Syrian Rebels Slaughter Alawite Villagers

The Guardian reports on the slaughter of Alawite villagers in Syria in early August 2013:

The Syrian army has not allowed foreign reporters into the Alawite villages to check the massacre reports, but in Latakia city the Guardian spoke to three officers who took part in recapturing the villages. ...
"The attacks started with treachery," said Hassan, an officer in Syria's special forces. "There was a unit of 40 troops. A Sunni defected from it and took 30 other Sunnis with him. A few days later they were part of the attack that started with the village of Hambushiya. The 10 Alawite troops left behind in the area were 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' . One rebel asked: 'What do I do about the girls?' The answer came: 'I'm sending a truck to pick them up'. Several were taken and raped, and have not been seen again," he said. 
"They kidnapped Sheikh Badr Ghazal and stripped girls and the sheikh to humiliate him. ... 
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. "We found two mass graves with 140 bodies. They were not shot. They had their throats slit. About 105 people of different ages were kidnapped," he said. ...
The officers' accounts cannot be independently verified but the Guardian has obtained lists, compiled by local activists, with the names of victims from Hambushiya, Balouta, and five other villages. They include 62 people listed as killed, 60 kidnapped and 139 people who are missing. The dead range in age from a toddler of two to a man of 90. The vast majority are women, children and the elderly since most men in the villages were away on duty as part of the volunteer defence forces elsewhere in the region. They did not expect their own villages to come under attack.
 According to the article, the Syrian government is attempting to minimize coverage of the massacre so as to not spark a sectarian war. However, it is far too late for that.

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