Special statement concerning three consecutive massacres committed by the Syrian regime over the course of three hours in al-Yadudah and Nassib, in the suburbs of Daraa Province, resulting in more than 34 civilian victims, including 14 children, and 4 women.
Once again, Syrian regime atrocities – again resulting in civilian victims, primarily women and children – have been met with deafening silence by the international community, emboldening the regime to continue its systematic violence towards civilians unchecked.
Three successive massacres in Daraa Province in the far south of Syria have been carried out, perpetrated by Assad regime warplanes. As has become commonplace, the victims were women and children, who had been taking refuge in their homes in the midst of the humanitarian crisis.
Bloody massacres accompanied military engagements and armed conflict between the regime and the opposition, as the rebels took control of a number of areas near the Syrian-Jordanian border, along the international highway connecting Damascus with Jordan via Daraa. The Syrian regime responded by indiscriminately shelling the eastern parts of Daraa, starting with barrel bombs and then using mortars and artillery which, in conjunction with the ongoing armed conflict, forced the majority of the residents of the towns of Nassib, at-Taybeh, and Um al-Mayazen to flee to the surrounding fields.
At approximately 2:30 pm on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, warplanes of the Syrian air force launched attacks using high-explosive missiles, targeting residential buildings to the east of Nassib, in the suburbs of eastern Daraa. These attacks left dozens of dead and wounded civilians, the majority of whom were women and children. The regime concentrated its airstrikes on the town, where more than six strikes were targeted.
The shelling encompassed a residential district devoid of armed combatants, inhabited not only by townspeople and refugees from local villages, but also by refugees originally from Homs.
The southern office of the Damascus Center for Human Rights has documented to the deaths of more than 21 civilians. At the time of release, only some of the victims’ names were known. Efforts are still ongoing to identify the names of the others. This process has been slow, due to the disfigurement of some of the bodies. The death toll is likely to rise, as medical teams struggle with limited resources to save the lives of dozens of wounded persons and to transport them to field hospitals. Meanwhile, the most critical cases have been evacuated to Jordan.
As of the end of Tuesday 21/10/2014, Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies has recorded the names of the following victims:
- Khalid Faris ar-Rifa’i, of Nassib, Daraa.
- Faris Maamun ar-Rifa’i, aged 9, of Nassib, Daraa
- Hanadi Ali Muhamid, a refugee in Nassib, originally of Um al-Mayazen, Daraa.
- Abdullah Abd ul-Karim ar-Rifa’i, aged 20, of Nassib, Daraa.
- Maamun Faris ar-Rifa’i, aged 35, of Nassib, Daraa.
- Ayah Mahmoud Muhamid, aged 15, refugee in Nassib, originally of Um al-Mayazen, Daraa.
- Hosam Muhammad al-‘Ali al-Muf’alani, aged 50, refugee in Nassib, originally of Um al-Mayazen, Daraa.
- Khalid Sultan, aged 37, refugee in Nassib, originally of Homs Governorate.
- Hadhifa Muhammad Mahrat, aged 32, refugee in Nassib, originally of Homs Governorate.
Meanwhile, at 17:10, Damascus time, a ‘MiG’ warplane executed an airstrike in the center of Yaduda, hitting a residential house occupied by the al-Khatib family, who had fled al-Quneitra Governorate to the town of Yaduda in western Daraa. This strike led to the deaths of 6 children.
Of the 6, five were siblings, while the sixth was their cousin. All of them died as a result of a single high explosive missile, while their mother received non-life-threatening injuries. Their father was not in the house at the time and was thus unharmed.
As of Tuesday 21/10/2014 Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies had recorded the names of the following victims of the Yaduda massacre:
- Muhammad Qasim al-Khatib, refugee in Yaduda, originally of al-Quneitra.
- Fatima Qasim al-Khatib, refugee in Yaduda, originally of al-Quneitra.
- Wa’ed Qasim al-Khatib, refugee in Yaduda, originally of al-Quneitra.
- Tariq Qasim al-Khatib, refugee in Yaduda, originally of al-Quneitra.
- Ahmad Ayman al-Khatib, refugee in Yaduda, originally of al-Quneitra.
- Hanayn Qasim al-Khatib, refugee in Yaduda, originally of al-Quneitra.
Meanwhile, another MiG warplane executed an airstrike shortly before 18:00 on Tuesday 21/10/2014, hitting a house in the south of the town containing families which had fled from the earlier indiscriminate shelling in Nassib. The high explosive missile hit the residential building they were sheltering in, taking the lives of all the women and children therein.
The Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies had recorded the following names of the victims of the second Nassib massacre on that day, as of Tuesday 21/10/2014:
- Muhammad Sami Talal ash-Sharif.
- Bashar Sami Talal ash-Sharif.
- Musa Mahmoud ash-Sharif.
- Zakariya Muhammad ash-Sharif.
- Muhammad Mahmoud ash-Sharif.
- Ahmad Mahmoud ash-Sharif.
- ‘Emad Ahmad ash-Sharif.
- Abdullah Muhammad ar-Rifa’i.
- Ra’ida Mahmoud ash-Sharif ash-Sharif.
- Amal Muhammad ash-Sharif.
- Nagham Muhammad ash-Sharif.
- Khitam ‘Ali ash-Sharif.
- Khalud Musa ash-Sharif.
The al-Assad continues to launch lethal reprisals directly aimed at Syrian civilians, as exemplified by the three massacres detailed above, which have collectively left more than 34 dead, including 16 children and 4 women. These are explicitly “war crimes” as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, specifically Articles 8, section 2, clauses (a)(i), and (b)(i)and(ii).
These targeted campaigns are carried out every day by the regime air-force, hitting unarmed civilians, and those seeking refuge. Such crimes against humanity, as delineated Article 7, section 1 of the Rome Statute, require swift action by the international community in order to protect civilians from the regime’s killing machine, which is breaking all international conventions pertaining to the laws of war and armed conflict, as it turns its weapons against civilians in retaliation for military defeats which had nothing to do with them.
The Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies notes that the three bloody massacres documented here occurred within four hours of each other, and directs this statement to the United Nations and its Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, to impose and implement the relevant statutes and laws which guarantee the protection, safety, and security of civilians in times of conflict. Further, swift action is demanded, to curb the flagrant violations committed every day at the hands of the Assad regime, and which have become increasingly frequent since October.
In addition, the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, as a member of the international coalition devoted to the principle of the ‘responsibility to protect’, appeals to the international community, and all human rights organizations, to move quickly in taking practical steps towards opening an official investigation into the crimes and massacres committed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad against Syrian civilians. In particular the president himself must be held accountable, as he is presumed to be the commander in chief of the army and armed forces.
Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies
Images from Nassib Massacre
Images from al-Yadudah Massacre
For more information, please contact
Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, Executive director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies.
Phone (571) 205-3590
Email : email@example.com
Mr. Mojahed Ghadban, Communication Officer.
Telephone (479) 799-8115
DCHRS is an independent, non-governmental organization, established in 2005, located in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Its mission is to foster a spirit of support and respect for the values and standards of human rights in Syria. As such, DCHRS recognizes and adheres to all pertinent international human rights agreements and declarations issued by the UN.
DCHRS is a member of the following international networks:
- International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)
- NGO Coalition for the international Criminal Court
- International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP)
- International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC)
DCHRS worked on a variety of documentation projects. Such projects included daily casualty reports, massacre reports, and other human rights violations reports. Also DCHRS has been working on advocacy and lobbying in different human rights institutions in order to educate and acknowledge about the deteriorating human rights situation in Syria.. After the launch of the Syrian revolution, the center increased its activities through working, communicating, and coordinating with many members and activists. Thus the center began documenting daily violations committed by the Syrian regime forces that can be classified as crimes against humanities and war crimes. Such violations included: extrajudicial killings, massacres, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, rape, torture in prisons. DCHRS opened local offices in Syria in order to document, collect, and observe human rights violations on the ground. DCHRS submitted those reports to many international and regional human rights organizations and communicated with the Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on Syria.