New Evidence that the Houla Massacre was Perpetrated by the Free Syrian Army

Syria-Houla-massacre-of-childrenBy Alfredo Embid 19 October, 2012

(excerpts from “La mierda sigue acumulándose sobre la Comisión de Investigación “independiente” del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU sobre Siria” – Boletin Armas Contra Las Guerras, 19 October, 2012 (http://ciaramc.org/ciar/boletines/cr_bol456.htm )

(translated to English, with slight edits, for this report)

New evidence that Hula slaughter was perpetrated by the Free Syrian Army

(In blaming the pro-government forces for the Houla massacre) the document of the “Independent” Commission of the Human Rights Council of the UN ignores the numerous reports, based on field interviews, to the contrary. Only in the footnote [1] does it mention German journalist reports (Rainer Herman) and Russian researchers (Marat Musin), which are discarded because they are based primarily on two witnesses to the government- reported version. This is false because it is not based “on only two witnesses” as already documented when informed versions of both surveys in Bulletin No. 435. [2]

Next add further evidence to substantiate that the “independent” commission of the UN Human Rights Commission lies.

Here is an example: portions of an interview done on-location, unlike the commission, by Marat Musin, of one eyewitnesses out of the dozen interviewed. [3] What happened in the neighboring village of Houla’s Taldo is important because there were some of the most horrific massacres in cold blood, entire families executed, including children.

Marat Musin: what happened on 25 and 26 May in your village, Taldou? What did you see?

A : “I am a citizen of Taldou, always lived in Taldou even now. Until then, (the bandits) would shoot at the army checkpoints every Friday after prayers. They shot for two hours and then things would return to normal.”

Even as the English translation speaks of “armed men,” the Russian translation insists on rendering this as “bandits.”

A : “Two days before the May 25 attack by bandits, attendees told us that X time is approaching. We heard this from local bandits ; they always said they should create an uproar. But I did not expect that everything would happen like this.”

This clearly suggests that the murders were already pre-programmed, as part of an operation by the so-called Free Syrian Army.

A: “On Friday the “bandits” attacked army checkpoints on the outskirts of the city with a mortar. The army responded and wounded the man who fired the mortar in the foot. The bandits took him to the hospital and is now alive and well. His name is Talha Alksh Fayez, his family lives in Taldo.

Notice that this man was known to the population.

A: “On Friday, at 2:00 PM, after prayer, “bandits” shot an army checkpoint and the army responded to this attack. This group was led by Nidal Bakkour. Another armed group joined them to attack the checkpoint located on the mountain. This second group comes from the Al-Hallak clan, also known locally as Al-Hassan.”

Note that according to his account there are two groups of attackers, and some local bandits chiefs are also mentioned by name.

A: “The plan was to seize the checkpoint located on the mountain because they wanted an elevated position to let them easily control the checkpoint located in the village. When beginning the attack Nidal Bakkour called someone and asked them to send him to an armed group outside. When the bandits attacked the checkpoint, 25 were eliminated.”

Note that this attack was not a simple exchange of fire as the previous days, there were two coordinated attacks and further reinforcements were brought out.

A: “At 15:30 they took the high checkpoint. They cut the throat of a soldier and threw him from the third floor. Before he died, he said he was from the town of Kfar Batna, a town near Damascus, and was Sunni like them. They replied, “do you now remember that you are Sunni?”

“Then they kidnapped two soldiers ; one, named Abdullah, was a Bedouin (the exact word here is Shawy) of Deir Azzour and burned him alive. I did not see him burned, but I could hear them howling they burned a soldier. It was around 18:00. As for the other soldier, I have no idea what happened, but I heard a bandit named Akram Al-Saleh said, “we will show we did not kill him, and that he defected.”

An example of how “free” Syrian army terrorists act supposedly intended to liberate the country and how to coerce the population and even the captured soldiers to make statements on their behalf. Faced with the dilemma of being burned alive as his partner just was, or let it be said you had deserted, what would you have done?

Such statements are like those that the members of the observers mission and reporters of the Western media list, to intoxicate with their propaganda articles. Do they seem reliable?

A : “Shortly after (the bandits) secured the army checkpoint and the police department of the city. In front of the police department are the homes of the families killed, you killed all the children. They killed all the children of the clan Al-Sayed: were three families and 20 children. Also killed Abdulrazaq family members, 10 people were killed because they were relatives of authorities. Clan Al-Sayed’s family killed brother Abdullah Al-Mashlab, the third person in the Syrian Parliament. He was elected on May 24, the day after they killed the family of his brother, his brother’s wife and three children.

That the militia would have perpetrated some of the horrible massacres of children belies the version of the Commission. How would they do it during combat or immediately after they had taken army posts in the village? Also contrasts with the June report of the Commission on Human Rights which states that they “could not establish whether families killed were pro-regime or pro-opposition.”

At 7 pm the Al-Farouq brigade arrived, led by Abdul Razak Tlass, of the so-called “Free Syrian Army.” He brought with him more than 250 bandits from the town of Rastan, he came with two other groups, one of the village of Al-Qabo, led by Yehya Al-Yusef, and another from the village of Falla.”

This means that only in the attack on the people of Taldo, where the crimes took place, at least five free Syrian army groups converged. This confirms that it was a military operation well planned in advance … as was the killing of children. As for Abdul Razak Tlass commanding the Rastan group, below you can see him in another photo accompanying members of the observer mission of the UN within hours.

A: “During the attack, Nidal Bakkour asked a villain to be located in the mosque and from there fire with machine guns toward the army to bring a response: the army fired on the mosque, and the army response damaged the mosque. Some farms and houses were burned to accuse the army of bombing the area.”

“The bandits got into the house and told the people that leave because it was now a military zone … When the bandits came observers were shown the empty houses and took them to the place where the inhabitants had moved and said they were refugees.”

Again this is the environment in which was collected some of the testimony of people accusing the government. Put yourself in his place: Viewing the murders just perpetrated next to you and conidering your children are still alive would you have dared to contradict them?

We have translated from Russian and subtitled this full interview you can see in the video included in the bulletin Bulletin No. 452 [4]. Do you think it is unreliable because it is an interview with a Russian agency?

No. The chronology of events and the authors are clear and well documented by many witnesses and coincides with other reports made on the ground.

The witness called Jibril (obviously name changed) is a man in his thirties, who witnessed atrocities, and even personally knew some of the victims, informing the monastery on the same day. Alfred Hackensberger said:

“Behind the walls of the monastery of St Jaques, he feels safe and dares to speak openly about what would mean death outside the monastery … Jibril’s nervousness is vibible. If some of this information to suggest their identity comes out, would be a dead man, but yet he gives, with slow deliberate words, his version of what happened on May 25 in Taldo “. [44]

Jibril: “The fight began around noon, when the rebels, from Ar-Rastan and Saan, attacked army checkpoints around Hula.’s Position at the entrance near the hospital was the first they made. The soldiers fled and the rebels entered the hospital and killed patients Why, I do not know, nor why so many people died. Then, several groups selected some houses and started shooting all its inhabitants. But they did nothing to the other neighbors, “said Jibril.

This contradicts the claims of several UN report which states that checkpoints were in the army when the slaughter occurred. Confirms the testimony of the residents interviewed by Marat Musim whereby when the massacre occurred in families, the regular army had been evicted.

Any idiot could refute the argument used in the report of the Commission that the survivors didn’t seek help from the government-controlled hospital as proof that it was the government who had perpetrated the crime. Besides this not being a test, how would they go to the hospital where they were killing people? As described in detail clamantis Vox website: “Hula hospital was burned and people who had taken refuge in it were systematically massacred closely by death squads, not by the government.” [45]

Jibril also makes clear that the killing was selective and directed only against some families.

Jibril: Of the two families who lost their lives, family personally knew Sajid (Al-Sayed). “They were Sunni Muslims, like all of us,” he continues. “They were killed because they refused to join the revolution.”

This also removed another argument the commission document objects to, that the dead were Shia, claiming that some were Sunnis. Recall that the Shiite faith includes the Alawites, such as President Assad.

On the question of whether the military regime, the Shabiha, was to blame for the slaughter of the people, Jibril said:

“It is a nonsense issue. Anyone who has seen Taldo, have doubts about the reports that several hundred soldiers and Assad supporters were able to reach the town without any resistance.

Hula is held by the rebels since December 2011. Taldo is in an open area where there are few opportunities to seek refuge. The town is easily defended with machine guns and bazookas. The Army wanted to get Taldo, but had not done so. ”

Again this contradicts the Commission’s argument that Syrian regular army members or their militias were able to enter the town during the attacks launched by the rebels and committing massacres. This has also been challenged by other reports already published. The area was controlled then and after by the Free Syrian Army.

Jibril also said:”Of course, many people know what really happened in Houla”. But all fear for their lives. “One who is there and speaks can only repeat the version of the rebels. All else is certain death.”

This statement reveals once again how easy it is to obtain false testimony to accuse the government. As pointed out in the Red No War criticism, “We can not rule out that witnesses interviewed in Houla, FSA-controlled area, have been intimidated.”

Not only can that not be excluded, but it is the rule and strategy to continualy threaten the people who do not support this version. This is especially true for all who accompanied the “free” army in its interviews as was the case in Syrian Houla. Nobody is going to testify in its presence that its version is false because it would mean signing their own death warrant.

Media Amplify the Disinformation

BBC has been caught passing off an old photo from Iraq in 2003 for the massacre in the Syrian town of Houla
BBC has been caught passing off an old photo from Iraq in 2003 for the massacre in the Syrian town of Houla

Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, author and historian Washington quotes John Williams of the BBC saying that coverage of the slaughter of Houla was completely ill-founded and which was based on the propaganda of the opposition groups [57].

From the beginning, Alex Thomson, Channel 4 News and CNN tried to present the official history of consistently but within days it became clear that the narrative did not correspond to the facts and was inconsistent. In his video for Channel 4 during the interview in the street Houla residents can be clearly seen as a one man band and singing protests. The interview of a witness “who speaks for all” while there were UN observers surrounded by members of the “Free” Syrian Army who had perpetrated the massacre yesterday, completely lacks reliability. Besides this unique course identified witness interviewed said that the militias of the regime “because they wore ribbons with Shi’ite inscriptions on their heads.” A perfectly incoherent argument with the fact that they would commit murder of civilians identified. With the aggravation that they did in the midst of a battle where the regular army colleagues were decimated by the army coordinated attack “free” Syrian next door.

On May 27 Alex Thomson tried propping the story, writing in the blog of Channel 4 that Martin Griffiths, British deputy head of mission of the UN Monitoring in Syria (UNSMIS) corroborated the story from two different sources [58].

This seems very convincing, but even in the same article, Griffiths admits that one of these sources was the “free” army command in the neighboring Syrian city of Rastan. That is, although not expressly stated, it is probably of Abdul Razak Tlass, well identified for having led one of the “free” army groups that invaded Syrian Taldo. The same as before in a photo wearing “guiding” hand to a member of the observers.

Their version cannot be other since they were among the perpetrators of the attack on Taldo, as Marat Musin witnessed being denounced. The brigade of more than 200 men who came from this city was commanded by Abdul Razak Tlass precisely. Obviously lacking the slightest credibility.

Houla familyThe other source cited by Griffiths is what some Houla residents said. Only here is the same problem with his previous witness whose statements were issued by Channel 4: the city was still controlled by the “free” Syrian. When they arrived the next day, the UN observers were accompanied at all times by its members. Nobody in their right mind would have dared to contradict its version of what happened on pain of joining those who had just been murdered in cold blood. These statements therefore are obviously not credible.

Finally note that Martin Griffiths, interestingly, was the British deputy head of mission of the UN Monitoring in Syria (UNSMIS), ie probably a spy sent by his government. The reliability of the statements of this British delegate is the same as that of his witnesses and matched only by his impudence. England is one of the main promoters of the war, while his prime minister David Cameron declares hypocritically: “The blood of these children is a terrible stain on the reputation of the United Nations” [59].

The initial statements of Martin Griffiths are the same as that made his boss Hervé Ladsous, Assistant Secretary General for peacekeeping Operations, saidon May 29: “Some of the victims were killed by artillery fire, which clearly demonstrates government responsibility” and accusing Assad’s militia, the Shabiha, of being “probably” the perpetrators of individual executions.

These statements were met with enthusiasm by almost all media, amplified and distorted, confirming once again that instead of seeking the truth of what happened, they only served as war propagandists. This confirmed the suspicions already begun when the commission was established that it was a Trojan horse to promote NATO bombing, as with its predecessor in Kosovo. But the plan failed because the evidence did not match the target, as discussed in Bulletin No. 448 [60].

It is surprising that when after two reports were presented to the Commission on Human Rights on the Houla massacre, media pounce on them not with equal enthusiasm, to disseminate them to the four winds, as they had done with the previous statements.

You may wonder why? Quite simply, the reports of the committee on the massacre of Houla recognized the impossibility of attributing responsibility for the events to only one of the parties to the conflict. This somewhat contradicts the version that the media had been carrying for weeks; taking advantage of ways to continue their script: accusing the “Assad regime” for the massacre and therefore of having lost all legitimacy. A strategy certainly established before, as suggested by the fact that immediately France, Spain, Germany, Japan, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Japan, Switzerland, Bulgaria and the UK, together announced the expulsion of ambassadors from Syria, and Australia and Turkey even completely expelled all Syrian diplomatic missions from its territory. [61]

But some media tried to “fix”. The UK Independent lied in an editorial, stating about the attack on Syrian TV stattion Al-Ikhbarya that “the government described the killings as a “massacre,” just as the UN was blaming state forces for the Houla massacre.” [62]. Please note that the editorial is all that many people read. Yet at the end of another article they acknowledges that the report “does not name the Alawite militia – the Shabiha – as being responsible, as has been widely reported, but said they had easiest access to Houla.” [63]

This is not a slip, but a news agency strategy.

The Associated Press in Geneva issued a note played in many media emphasizing that the report of the UN “military or pro-government force Shabiha had better access to the place of slaughter in Houla, Homs May 24-25 [sic].” [64]

Citing this, the Independent and the Guardian highlighted a section of the UN report that contradicts the facts, as you just saw in the testimony of numerous witnesses.

The reality is that the area was held by the rebels for months, continuing as the slaughter occurred. When the next day came the UN observers were welcomed and accompanied by members of the “free” Syrian army, and the images broadcast by all TV channels as proof for the world. So how could government militias enetr as alleged to perpetrate the massacres? Precisely when the massacres were perpetrated, regular army checkpoints were attacked simultaneously by several massive and groups in a clearly planned military operation.

Photo of Houla, occupied by the Syrian Free Army, in February 2012
Photo of Houla, occupied by the Syrian Free Army, in February 2012

Notes:

[1] note on page 65-66 [2] Boletín no435 Lo que no te cuentan sobre Siria. Repetición del mismo guión que en Libia. 20a parte. Acusar a las víctimas de la masacre de Hula, Siria. Alfredo Embid http://ciaramc.org/ciar/boletines/cr_bol435.htm [3] VIDEO: http://video.yandex.ru/users/news-anna2012/view/23 [4] Boletín no452. Marat Musin de ANNA noticias en Siria: Informe sobre la situación en torno al Hula. Testimonio de una testigo de la masacre [VIDEO: Español] Nombres de los responsables de la masacre. http:// ciaramc.org/ciar/boletines/cr_bol452.htm [44] In Syrien gibt es mehr als nur eine Wahrheit. Morgenpost 23.06.12 http://www.morgenpost.de/politik/ausland/article107255456/In-Syrien-gibt-es-mehr-als-nur-eine- Wahrheit.html [45] Entrevista con Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D. PressTV PressTV. 29 de mayo 2012. http://tarpley.net/2012/05/30/the-Hula-massacre/ [57] Charlie Skelton de The Guardian expone las Redes de Difusión de la OTAN grandes mentiras contra Siria 18 de julio 2012. http://corporatemediaexposed.com/charlie-skelton-of-the-guardian-exposes-the-nato- networks-spreading-big-lies-against-syria/ [58] Chanel 4 Sunday 27 Mayo 2012 Alex thomson ‘s view Piecing together the bloody truth in Hula http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/piecing-bloody-truth-Hula/1687 [59] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9570853/Only-a-no-fly-zone-brokered- with-Russia-can-bring-peace-to-Syria.html [60] Boletín no448. ¿Fracaso, asesinato o coartada del plan de paz en Siria? Alfredo Embid. http://ciaramc.org/ ciar/boletines/cr_bol448.htm [61] Los enemigos de Asad ya tienen el argumento para una intervención militar en Siria. Armando Pérez RIA Novosti. Sergei Kirkach.16:41 31/05/2012. http://sp.rian.ru/opinion_analysis/20120531/153911565.html [62] http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=687:houla-massacre- update-the-un-report&catid=25:alerts-2012&Itemid=69 [63] Building stormed hours after President Assad warns that Syria is now ‘in a real state of war’. Patrick Cockburn. 28 Junio 2012. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syrian-rebels-accused-of- massacre-after-seven-die-in-attack-on-tv-station-7893588.html [64] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/27/syria-loyalists-houla-massacre-un

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