The Massacre of 22 Martyrs
From time to time, I receive emails and messages from people suffering human rights abuses, maltreatment and the like from across the globe. When we decided 4 years ago to start Restless Beings, it was with the sole intention of raising the volume on the most voiceless communities in the world. Yesterday on my way back from the protest, I received one of such messages from a verified source. My mind was overspilling with our forthcoming strategy to tackle the Rohingya issue and this news came to me almost out of nowhere. And strangely, its around us every day for the past few months. And I realised I felt I had become desensitised to the whole issue. And now suddenly I feel like I am immersed in it.
Below is the message I recieved from one of my brothers in Syria. If you feel its important for people to know about the issues outlined, please spread, share, comment, tweet, facebook etc.
"The bombing and shelling started at 05.30am, we men and women at a building of two stories went down to downstairs shelter. In the hour 6:30 am, I had stepped up to the building yard to see what resulted of that sever shelling sound, and I saw six big bullets in the house wall and the windows glass were all broken with most of my house furniture totally destroyed. And I saw through the broken windows regular Syrian army with helmets in their formal uniform gathered near the Tawheed mosque of Douma (countryside of Damascus), shouting on the civilian people to take in to the shelters, we had never had anyone of the Free Army Members between us, due to fact that our building is located in the Cornich Street, which is totally controlled by the Syrian Regime itself since the revolution started sixteen months ago. I went down again to the shelter and stayed in there till the hour ten in the morning.
At ten o'clock, I stepped up to my house garden along with my neighbor, where we can hear Asad's forces and they cannot see us, very near, we heard people crying and begged them and then we heard a call for an army soldier to kill unarmed man who called him "terrorist", two bullet shots and the voice stopped, we said to ourselves, perhaps they caught an armed militant and executed him or that they may had executed a soldier intended to split off their Army.
The top officer then called a soldier named "Haider" to kill another "Terrorist" deliberately with cold blood, then we heard the held man voice crying and begging the soldier /Haidar/ who asked him to count up to ten loudly, and on counting when he reached the number nine, we heard bullets sound out and the man's voice went off...
These two people had been executed in the street square not far from the back of our house and then the officer ordered his soldiers to board a building belong to "Tu'ma Family", so they went up the first floor and we heard wailing, crying and screaming, "Haidar" were executing the people by his gun machine. Haider were asking all guys to count up to ten before he shoot them. So the slaughtering soldiers go up floor after floor and stay at each floor few minutes, and in every time, we could hear the wailing, crying and screaming then it stop after a little while, they killers were threatening ladies by killing their men first and the screams stop after the last woman's execution.
In one house, the slaughters killed all family members in the bathroom where they hand cuffed all of them then they gathered them in the bathroom and killed all of them on top of each other.
The situation last like that, from the morning until two after noon, where I could no longer hold myself and I was flooded with my tears for every martyr helpless begging I could hear.
I got to my shelter and ordered my neighbor not to spell a word about what he heard or saw, as it may get our people downstairs go mad, get scared and scream, so Al-Asad's Security Forces would immediately find and kill us, because we were trapped from all sides, and there were no other haven or refuge to run to.
At four o'clock Al-Asad's Security Forces were knocking our door violently and ordered a neighbor to open the doors, they entered and immediately ordered the men to climb to the entrance, and the soldier was shouting on us: "You gunmen…you dogs… GO out all NOW" while his gun and was aimed on us ...
I know what he meant by calling us " Gunmen", whileas my neighbors did not know ... I rise my hands over my head and immediately ran toward the soldier and begging him: " I Swear ... I am just a civilian I am just a civilian", I felt like I ran to death as I was sure of my destiny, and I said to myself, hoping my words move a thing in their hearts, and to remind them of their original mission as a soldiers to save the families, and the civilians ..
The soldier shouted on me to move away from him, I tumbled and I burst into tears and he beat me and kicked me and used all kinds of insulting words against me, then ordered all the men out and line up on the wall, we turned our backs to them and our faces against the wall and raised our hands up.
The officer then ordered the called "Haider" to feed on the guns.
At that moment I prayed to God and started thinking about my wife, and what they will do to her after they kill me, and went in my head through everything and all the ugly and beautiful memories of life... A man urinated on himself and another can no longer stand on his feet and fall on the ground ... the officer shouted on him: "what the fuck with you".
Here, we heard a soldier shouted: "Sir, they are civilians and there are women down the stairs with them and there has been some confusion
Then, they told us to turn around, and a soldier approached me while the tears shown in his eyes, and silently spell some words to me: "they will not kill you".
Then they hurried us to enter inside the building and ordered me to climb in front of him and inspected the houses rooms one by one, while insulting and beating us
From what they told us: "why you still here, don’t you know that the gangs would be committing a massacre in here!", he meant that we should of understand that they already coming to commit massacres, because many huge demonstrations went out in our city lately.
They ordered us not to go out of the shelter and leave the city in the next morning because the gangs could go back in the morning
We stayed till nine o'clock at night in the shelter, then stepped up and started to contact people that I know, so far no one did know about the massacre but I and my neighbor, then the Free Army members came at late and did evacuate the bodies of the martyrs thrown in the street, then they helped the residents to leave out of the area, all this happened under the bombing and shelling which never stopped.
Twenty-two martyrs we have seen in one building belong to the Family of Tu'ma and ten martyrs of "Sleeq Family" in another building and there are about several buildings near the "Tawheed mosque" they could not enter because of being within the regime' sniper targets and so far we do not know who had been killed of them.
Today, we learned from a neighbor that Al-Asad's Security Forces today also came in the morning and had to evacuate corpses and did further break-ins, but fortunately, most residents had been fled away.
I need to witness that the soldiers (Al-Asad's Security Forces) who committed the massacre dressed in camouflage Army Jackets and written on it: "the Republican Guard" and all of their ages were about 18 and they were carrying knives on their backs and in their backs more people dressed like civilian in sport shoes, they've never spell a word, and I think that their job is maybe to executed any soldier who disobey the orders.
Note that there are three people, who had survived from the Tu'ma Family with superficial wounds, but they had entered a state of psychological shock, they do not speak or even can hear anything, those people we all know very well."