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Turkish and multiple Western media are reporting that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is reporting that the bodies of 65 or more men (reportedly some of them are teenagers) have been found by Syrian rebel forces on the banks of the Quwaiq river in the Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo.

The Bustan al-Qasr district is controlled by rebel forces. The rebels who reportedly filmed the bodies were not rushed and seemed to be unworried about being shot at by government forces.

The men seem to have been shot in the head recently and many of them have their hands tied.

The Syrian opposition and the Syrian government are accusing each other of executing these men.

The Syrian government claims that the men had been kidnapped and then executed by rebel forces, and that the rebels were now trying to use their bodies for propaganda purposes.

Syrian rebels claim that the men were shot by government forces in government controlled areas north of the Bustan al-Qasr district and that their bodies were then thrown into the river and floated downstream to be found in the Bustan al-Qasr district.

I can only say that one thing raises a very large question mark in my mind.

The Quwaiq river is more of a stream. It is a little more than two meters (two yards) wide, very shallow, very muddy, and flows quite slowly.

I don't know whether bodies weighed down by thick waterlogged clothes would be able to be carried downstream by this river.


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Update to my post yesterday on the situation in Ceylanpınar, Turkey

Twelve Days of Fear and Apprehension in a Turkish Border Town

Today four more rocket propelled grenades landed in Ceylanpınar, but again fortunately they did not explode.

They hit right next to a park in Ceylanpınar which is on the Turkish-Syrian border and in which I have sat many times.

There is a growing belief that Ceylanpınar is being deliberately targeted by rebel forces in Ras al-Ayn in an attempt to pull the Turkish military into the fighting as more eyewitnesses are coming forward and stating that they have observed these forces firing directly at Ceylanpınar.

There are also reports that at least 10 rebel fighters were wounded in fighting today in Ras al-Ayn and that today Kurdish forces forced rebel forces out of, and took control of, several areas in Ras al-Ayn.

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Originally posted to InAntalya on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:18 AM PST.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:18:28 AM PST

  •  The horror (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, zenox, Rusty Pipes, Aunt Martha

    and suffering are so unrelenting that people, I fear, are turning. It's become an under-discussed, under-covered story.

  •  Very suspicious (4+ / 0-)

    Your question is valid.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:58:27 AM PST

  •  Here's some original video (4+ / 0-)

    What is striking is the way the bodies are aligned. There is no way they could have floated down that tiny slow running creek. Another feature is the lack of full beards (both standard and Salafist) that is the hallmark of rebel fighters. The fullest beards look to be only a week or two old. Maybe grown in captivity?

    All are handcuffed behind their backs and shot in the head. Tie wraps not necessarily from government forces because the rebels have looted hundreds of government police and military installations throughout the country.

    Warning VERY GRAPHIC. This is to show facial features not shown on MSM.

  •  this is a multi sided proxy war with the Saudis (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, ferg, Aunt Martha

    and Iranians providing support to "their" side,  Then there are the "independent" al Qaeda franchises which are evidently fighting for a wide variety of ideological POVs depending upon who their patrons are.  As Syria spirals out of control, the question has to come to mind if Syria will become the Lebanon of the 2010's?

    •  Don't forget the Muslim Brotherhood forces (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya, Rusty Pipes, Aunt Martha

      who are financed and armed by Qatar. Then there are the different factions of Kurds with some FSA armed and funded by Turkey to keep them down.

      The conflict is now starting to spread into Iraq. The Saudis have been sticking their fingers in that pie. They want to assist the Sunnis to gain control or destabilize the Shiite run government. This will leave Iran completely isolated.

      •  If the Saudis are successful ... (3+ / 0-)
        This will leave Iran completely isolated.
        And that is a big if.

        Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

        by InAntalya on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:14:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Saudis are trying to block a Shia' crescent (5+ / 0-)

          in the region as they are also assisting in containing and restraining restive Shia' populations in their allies.  The US screwed up badly from the Saudi perspective in making Iraq a Shia' governed  country (though they were all for giving Saddam the heave-ho) and laying the groundwork for a possible Shia' hegemony in the region

          •  The Saudis tried to get Baby Bush to not attack (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Iraq but failed. The neocons had full control and they held sway.

            Papa Bush knew better after Iraq was effectively neutered. He left Saddam with just enough resources and firepower to control the Shiites in the south which was what the Saudis wanted. Bush did a number on the Shiites by insinuating if they rose up against Saddam he would support them. This was a lie and caused the deaths of 100,000's of Shiites.

            •  yep the Shia' uprising is one of the stories (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Claudius Bombarnac

              that our media largely missed. I think some of Saddam's cronies were tried for atrocities committed during that uprising, though the cronies had so many atrocities, it was difficult to keep up with the charges.  If so, it is ironic that Saddam's people were punished for suppressing an abortive revolt that the US specifically encouraged, knowing that it would fail due to a lack of promised support

  •  The rebels have committed horrible crimes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, protectspice

    repeatedly there.   I would not be surprised if they committed this horrific crime also, as the bodies were found in the area they control.

  •  Thank you, IA! n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, protectspice, Aunt Martha

    It isn't nice to go to jail ... but if that's freedom's price

    by Rusty Pipes on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:37:37 PM PST

  •  On a related note, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, protectspice

    the age and beardlessnes of a large percentage of these casualties in a rebel held area raises questions not only about the hostage taking strategy among insurgents in general (the relative cost of keeping and feeding them when there are food shortages compared with the odds that their families will be willing/able to pay ransom), but also the strategies for recruiting young men/intimidating them (and their families) not to report for the draft.  According to Al Akhbar:

    A Free Syrian Army officer at the scene said that at least 68 bodies had been recovered and that many more were still being dragged from the water in the rebel-held area.

    The government blamed the killings on Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda-linked group fighting alongside Syrian rebels.

    Syria’s state run news agency claimed that family members of the victims have identified some of the bodies, saying that they were targeted for refusing to collaborate with rebels.

    A senior government security source quoted by AFP said many of the victims were from Bustan al-Qasr and had been reported kidnapped earlier.

    "It has been confirmed that a number of the victims had been abducted by armed terrorist groups and their families had made repeated attempts to negotiate their releases,” the source said.

    AL Akhbar's aacount came to mind when I read the link from CB to Reuters in another diary about a dilemma for youth and their families in an Al Nusrah occupied town:
    Still, residents say al-Nusra are gaining support in Syria's east. Militants have set up checkpoints at the entrances to the city where they try to recruit men and teenage boys.

    "I will follow anyone who is fighting the regime," said 19-year-old Mohammed, a law student who grew up in Mayadin. He agrees that al-Nusra fighters present a distorted moral framework, but says they have managed to battle back against Assad's forces - his number one aim.

    Members of al-Nusra refused to be interviewed by a female reporter but rebel fighters working with them talk of a strict hierarchy and coordination.

    Hussein, a 28-year-old fighter from the Osama Ibn Ziad brigade of the Free Syrian Army, sees a strategic benefit from al-Nusra, who are well armed and include foreigner fighters who can advise on guerrilla warfare.

    "The guys from al-Nusra are good people. We have to fight this regime and they are very well organised with strong fighters," he said.

    But Abu Mahmoud, a 55-year-old labourer and father, says he fears his kids will be drawn into the group.

    "We don't go out unless it is absolutely necessary. I sent my young children to a relative in Hasaka because I don't want them to be armed," he said, referring to the northern city near the border with Turkey.

    Others hope that the tribal system of the arid desert east will prevent an Islamist takeover. "I don't think al-Nusra will be able to do what they want. We have our traditions and tribes won't let them," said Imad, 22, a student of engineering.

    So, what happens to the boys passing through the checkpoint who don't want to be recruited?

    It isn't nice to go to jail ... but if that's freedom's price

    by Rusty Pipes on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:49:52 PM PST

  •  Perhaps feedback to the NYT makes a difference (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, InAntalya, Brecht

    Its earlier report, "Both Sides in Syria Trade Blame for Scores of Killings in Aleppo," began thus:


    People gathered at the banks of a small canal coming from a government-controlled suburb of Aleppo, Syria, to view dozens of bodies on Tuesday.
    By HANIA MOURTADA and ALAN COWELL, Published: January 29, 2013

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — An activist group with opposition contacts in Syria said on Tuesday that the muddied bodies of scores of people, most of them men in their 20s and 30s, had been found in a suburb of the northern city of Aleppo.

    In Geneva, ...

    It was changedto this. "Adversaries in Syria Trade Blame for Scores of Killings in Aleppo":


    Bodies of shooting victims were found scattered in a suburb of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, on Tuesday. The neighborhood has been mostly under rebel control.
    Published: January 29, 2013
    BEIRUT, Lebanon — Scores of muddied and waterlogged gunshot victims, most of them men in their 20s and 30s, were found dead in a suburb of Syria’s contested northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday. Insurgents and the government accused one another of carrying out the killings in what appeared to be the latest civil war atrocity.

    Videos posted by opponents of President Bashar al-Assad seemed to show that many had been shot in the back of the head while their hands were bound. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist organization based in Britain with a network of contacts in Syria, said at least 50 bodies had been located, scattered along the banks of a small river in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, which is mostly under rebel control. Later reports put the tally much higher.

    Al Jazeera quoted a commander from the insurgent Free Syrian Army, identified as Capt. Abu Sada, as saying that there could be more than 100 bodies, with many still submerged in the murky river, and that all had been “executed by the regime.”

    Syria’s state news agency, SANA, later posted a report on its Web site that blamed the insurgent Islamist fighters of Al Nusra Front, and said the killings added to “a series of brutal massacres perpetrated by the terrorist groups against unarmed civilians.”
    In Geneva, ...

    It isn't nice to go to jail ... but if that's freedom's price

    by Rusty Pipes on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:34:57 PM PST

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