In August 2013, one of the most appalling massacres of the Syrian conflict was carried out in the northern countryside of Latakia, in Ballouta and surrounding villages. An estimated 200 villagers were massacred by a combination of the “moderate” FSA, Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) and Ahrar Al Sham. A further 200 were kidnapped, including many children.
In Septemeber 2018 I spoke with one family in Ballouta. The father, Ramez Bade’a Saleem, describes what happened to his family and neighbours that day when their world was turned into a bloodbath before their eyes.
Surrounded by his children who survived kidnapping and their ordeals in terrorist captivity but who are clearly still affected by their experiences – Ramez tells me he sleeps with a full gas canister behind the door so if the terrorists return he will kill himself and his children rather than allow them to be kidnapped or tortured again.
He tells me that his wife threw herself off the rooftop of their home, only to be shot dead by the terrorists on the ground. An elderly man, 90 years old had his throat slit while he was sleeping, two of Ramez’ neices were murdered in their car. He speaks of the dismemberment of corpses, the disovery of mass graves containing body parts, severed arms and legs in among the discarded bodies of men, women and children.
It is impossible to describe the suffering I saw in this man’s eyes, the weary sorrow in his mother’s expression, or the collective shock that still hovers in the faces of the children and their withdrawn-from-this-world eyes. Because of the economic sanctions, imposed by the US Coalition for “humanitarian” reasons – this family can barely survive. Ramez has limited work opportunities since the crisis and can barely make enough to feed his children. They are being forced to face death and destitution from every perspective thanks to the West and their “democratic rebels”.
At the end of the interview, Ramez begs that God will rid Syria and finally, Idlib, of the terrorist monsters:
“I pay special tribute to Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and to president Bashar al-Assad and ask them not to leave anyone of those bastards (the terrorists in Idlib) alive, because they are not humans and if they didn’t kill us today they will kill us tomorrow and they are going to kill every honorable person in this world, they don’t want any honorable people to exist…
I pray to God to get rid of them for us, please God get rid of them for us, I swear to God they are in Idlib and we are here and we cannot sleep.
My sister, they are not humans, who ever they see…, if they saw a child they slaughter him and if they see an old person they slaughter him, they leave nothing untouched.
How can you deal with such people, I pray to God to get rid of them for us, that’s all I ask for.”
Ramez also pays tribute to President Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian State, the Syrian Arab Army and the honourable allies:
“Thank God the State is steadfast and the Army is steadfast and we will always support them”
On every level, the ordinary people of Syria are the ones bearing the brunt of this hideous and senseless war that has literally torn their hearts apart one by one. No family, no child should have to witness or endure such horror and monstrous and demonic violence. They have survived but at what cost to their future, their physical and spiritual well being? It should never have been allowed to happen.
Too much suffering, too much pain.
From an article published in 2014:
“Lilly Martin Sahiounie was very close to this massacre. She says:
‘In August 2013, Radical Islamic terrorists entered at night the sleeping village of Ballouta … They went methodically from house to house killing men, women and children in their beds. They cut open the stomach of a pregnant woman and hung the fetus in the trees. Many survivors ran for their lives and later gave their eye witness reports of what happened. The Radical Islamic terrorists kidnapped 100 small children, and a few older females … [they were held] in a basement underground in the Syrian village of Selma’.
Lily notes that 44 of the Ballouta children were released in a mid-2014 prisoner swap, nine months later. [..] From evidence of those released:
‘they endured torture, abuse and some of the children [were] killed by the terrorists. They said their captors were a mixed group: some were Syrian and many were foreigners … several of the terrorists spoke Arabic … [but] also spoke English much of the time among themselves’.”
Thank you to Wissam Sliman for the translation. God bless you my dear friend.