Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

Syria video points to ‘shoot to kill’ policy of security forces



Issued under strict embargo 18:00 BST 26 May 2011, Syria video points to ‘shoot to kill’
policy of security forces

Amnesty International has obtained video footage that points
to a ”shoot to kill” policy being used by the Syrian security forces to quell
reform protests.

The footage,
smuggled out of Syria
by contacts of Amnesty International, shows protesters shot and beaten by
security forces, soldiers conducting a night raid on the ‘Omari mosque in
Dera’a and a mass funeral in Izraa.

“These extraordinary images were taken by Syrians who have risked their lives to document the
callous attempts of the authorities to terrorize the pro-reform movement from
going out onto the streets,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy
Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Faced with this and other compelling evidence of rampant
abuses, President Bashar al-Assad must stop the Syrian security forces shooting
unarmed protesters and ensure that perpetrators are held to account for their
treatment of fellow Syrians.”

The video includes scenes of:

The military raiding the
‘Omari mosque, which was being used as a field hospital.

Soldiers and armed men in
plain clothes inside the mosque after their operation, filming bodies on the
floor, celebrating and shouting “Take pictures, we killed them, they are

Badly injured, possibly
dead, individuals being carried hurriedly away.

People who appear to have
sustained severe head injuries and in some cases to have died as a result.

Two scenes of uniformed
members of the security forces bludgeoning injured men lying on the road.

Testimony from an ambulance
worker who tells of how the army would not let anyone tend to the wounded.

The footage was shot in late March and April in and around
the city of Dera’a. It shows the kind of tactics being used by the authorities
in their crackdown against protesters, which currently continues in the cities
of Banias, Homs
and elsewhere.

The video also shows large groups of children joining the
protests and the funerals of some six people, including a boy and an old man.
The security forces have dispersed such funerals with lethal force on a number
of occasions.

“Images of unarmed civilians shot in the head help explain
why there have been so many fatalities. Together with footage of soldiers
celebrating deaths, they document what appears to be a ‘shoot to kill’ policy,”
said Philip Luther.

“Other clips showing the bludgeoning of men lying on the
ground – one of whom seems to have been already shot and critically injured –
highlight the wanton cruelty of the regime’s security apparatus.”

Amnesty International has the names of more then 720 people
believed to have been killed by the Syrian security forces during the past two
months of unrest sparked by protests throughout the region.

“These videos add to the damning collection of reasons why
the UN Security Council must take decisive action and refer Syria to the
International Criminal Court over its brutal crackdown against pro-reform
protesters,” said Philip Luther.

Public Document

For more information please call Amnesty International’s
press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: press@amnesty.org

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton
St., London WC1X 0DW,