A Special Report on the Massacre of Beit Sahm in #Damascus Countryside 18-12-2013

Violation Documentation Center in Syria

February 2014


Most of the towns in southern Damascus, including Al-Yarmouk Camp, Tadamon, Al-Hajar Aswad, Al-Qadam, Al-Esali, Babeila, Yalda, Beit Sahm and Sidi Mokdad, are under heavy siege from the regime forces. This siege began more than a year ago on 26122012 when restrictions were placed on food and supplies allowed into the area. Since 1972013 all supply and aid routes have been closed and conditions have deteriorated dramatically. Shortages of food and medicines, and the daily shelling by the regime forces, have led to the spread of diseases and rising prices. For example, 1 kg of rice now costs 11000sp (110 USD) and 1 kg of lentil costs 6500sp. As a result, more than a quarter of a million people are short of medical supplies and face starvation. . The Violation Documentation Center in Syria (VDC) has documented more than 100 cases just in Yarmouk Camp, mostly women and children, who have died of hunger, more than 50 of these were in January 2014. One such case was that of Jana Ahmad Hasan, a baby girl who died due to the lack of milk in Yarmouk Camp when her mother was prevented –by the regime forces- from returning with it. Another was a boy called Omar Hussein who died on 10112013 for similar reasons.

An image showing the besieged areas south of Damascus

The Violation Documentation Center in Syria has released two detailed reports about the deteriorating conditions in Yarmouk Camp and Hajar Aswad and has issued several other statements, appeals and humanitarian calls regarding the heavy siege imposed on the south of Damascus.

Besieging Beit Sahm:

Like any other city in the south of Damascus, Beit Sahm has been suffering due to the heavy siege that has been imposed for several months. In the last two months the city witnessed a grass-roots movement attempting to deliver food supplies to thousands of civilians who were facing death by starvation. Abu Milath, a member of Beit Sahm Coordination says:

“There is an acute shortage of food and supplies for more than 250 thousand people, mostly women and children, trapped in the southern areas. They cannot even get out of their neighborhoods for fear of being shot by the regime snipers, who are everywhere. As a result of this, the “so-called” Beit Sahm’s “Commission of National Reconciliation”, consisting of former and current members of the Local Administration Council and a number of traders and dignitaries, entered the southern area on Friday 13-12-2013. They met the citizens in the Grand Beit Sahm Mosque and gave them guarantees that a humanitarian route would be opened through Beit Sahm’s main gate in order to allow the civilians to leave the area. But because the Commission has been unable to fulfil its promises (including intermediating in the release of women being detained by the regime, and the delivery of vaccines and babies milk) the local people asked seven members of the Commission to stay in Beit Sahm until an agreement to open a humanitarian route was reached”

An Image of Beit Sahm

The Massacre of Beit Sahm:

On Wednesday 18-12-2013, “The Commission of National Reconciliation” was trying to bring unarmed civilians out of Beit Sahm, in according to their pledge, when regime forces opened fire. What followed was a massacre. Snipers shot eight civilians dead, one after another. Dozens were injured. Forty-five innocent people were martyred and more than one hundred wounded. And the fate of more than twenty civilians remains unknown after they were shot and then detained by the regime forces.

Abu Al Hasan Al-Ghoutani, a member of Beit Sahm Media Office informed VDC that some civilians died at once, shot from a 200m distance, while others were shot as they fled across nearby fields towards the Airport Road. They were targeted by the Shiite Militias (Hezbullah and Abulfadl Al- Abbbas Brigade) stationed around the Syrian Modern School with snipers on the school’s buildings. It was difficult to remove the bodies of the dead and the wounded because the snipers continued targeting anything moving in the fields.

A Picture of some of the massacre’s martyrs – Beit Sahm – 12/18/2013 Damascus

Abu Hassan Al-Ghoutani adds:

“During the shooting, dozens of civilians, along with members of “The Commission of National Reconciliation” were arrested as they fled and some were told to return to the southern area or be shot. Three civilians, a man and two children, were executed and their bodies burned beyond recognition.”

A picture of the bodies that were executed then burned by the Regime Forces

*A picture showing the location of the massacre. The red circles indicate the position of some of the regime snipers and forces that killed the civilians who tried to get out of the northern side of Beit Sahm (the black circle). According to several eyewitnesses, most of the shooting was from “The Syrian Modern School” and the barrier near The Airport Road.

Immediately after the attack, the wounded were moved to the medical points of Beit Sahm and Babeila as well as to Yalda Hospital, Palestine Hospital in Yarmouk Camp and Hajar Aswad Hospital.

Abulkheir, the manager of the medical point in Beit Sahm told the VDC :

“In the afternoon of Wednesday 18-12-2013 a doctor , a medical student and eight nurses, working to their full capacity, moved martyrs and wounded slowly to the medical point in Beit Sahm. There were nearly 70 wounded, and about 8 martyrs. All the injuries were gunshots. The shots which killed the martyrs were deadly accurate, either in the head or in the chest, and led to their immediate death.”

He adds:

Because of the scarcity of medical supplies and the inability to operate any medical surgeries, all cases that required such surgery were moved- after providing the first aid needed- to Hajar Aswad Hospital and Yalda Hospital where they could be treated. All of these patients had serious injuries either in the chest or in the belly, in addition to bone injuries. On the following day (19/12/2013) the remaining (35) martyrs, whose bodies were still in the fields, were removed by the Palestinian Red Crescent. Some of those martyrs could have survived had they been hospitalized immediately, but they died from loss of blood or exposure overnight.

A video filmed by an activist shows one of the survivors describing the massacre he witnessed and how his mother was killed on his chest while trying to save him, after he was shot by a sniper himself. He says:

after I was shot in my shoulder, my mother came to me and asked me: were you shot?….I answered: yes.

A few seconds later, a sniper shot her in the head and…yes, she died….here on my chest. It was just like what happened to the Palestinian child Muhammad Al-Durra

Conclusion and Legal Opinion:

A legal Advisor told VDC about the massacre the regime forces committed:

A list of the massacre’s martyrs

1-Muhammad Mohyildin Ja’ara, Beit sahm, born in 1940
2-Ahmad abdulnabi, Beit sahm, born in 1991
3-Omar al Jareh, Beit sahm, born in 1993
4-Muhammad Khawandi, Beit Sahm, born in 1988
5-Abu Haitham Abdulnabi, Beit Sahm, born in 1955
6-Mahmoud Karmouz (Abu Nazeer), Beit Sahm, born in 1960
7-Alaa Kazmouz, Beit Sahm, born in 1987
8-Ahmad Rasool (Abu Haitham), Beit Sahm, born in 1960
9-Muhammad Adib Ghorani, Beit Sahm, born in 1959
10-Maher Ibrahim Al Wesi, Bebila, born in 1988
11- Muhammed Al Haj Yousef, Haran Al Awameed, born in 1994
12- Sameer Eid Al Khateeb, Nawa, Daraa, born in 1983
13- Omar Muhammed Deeb, Hajera, born in 1988
14- Abdul Wahab Al Najdi, Nawa,Daraa, born in 1970
15- Hasan Muhammed Al Khaled, Sbineh, born in 1996
16- Mussa Naser Hasan, Jaramana, born in 1980
17- Ahmad Nouri Yousef, Hajera, born in 1965
18- Saleh Al Mahmoud Al Assaf, Deir Ezzor, born in 1960
19- Ibrahim Jalal Al Khateeb, Hajera, born in 1991
20- Muhammed Ahmad Al jouri, Yarmouk Camp, born in 1967
21- Hussam Ahmad Khalil, Quneitra, born in 1978
22- Muhammed Abdul Majeed Tuhfeh, Bweda, Damascus Suburbs, born in 1982
23-Yehya Khalil Turkmani, Midan, born in 1965
25- Sameer Shhadeh Al Qallah/ Al Fallah, Masaken Douma, born in 1979
26- Hanan Mallas, Shaghour, born in 1953
27- Nouri Khaled Sulaiman, Damascus, born in 1994
28- Suha Yousef Al Metleq, born in 1992
28- Nahla Al Masri
29- Nour Khaled, Thyabieh
30-Fa’our Al Jassem, Thyabieh
31-Wafaa Fanj, Thyabieh
32-Mahmoud Shhadeh
33- Unidentified woman
34- A completely burned body of an unidentified man.
35-Another burned body of an unidentified man
36-A completely burned body of an unidentified child.
37-Ammar Qasem Hasan
38-Hiba Metleq, wife of Ammar Qasem Hasan, and their 4 children were reported missing
39-Muhammed Al Qadi, Thyabieh
40- Body no.1 belongs to an unidentified man
41- Body no.2 belongs to an unidentified man
42- Imad Ja’ara, Beit Sahm, Regime Forces took his body, born in 1991
43-Unidentified woman, Regime Forces took her body
44-Mansour Ja’ara, Beit Sahm,born in 1970
45- Issa Yousef, Damascus

لأية ملاحظات أو أسئلة يمكن التواصل معنا عبر بريدنا الالكتروني

للاطلاع على تقاريرنا السابقة باللغة العربية

للاطلاع على تقاريرنا السابقة باللغة الإنكليزية

#army, #beit-sahm, #children, #damascus-suburbs, #massacre, #regime, #shabbih, #siege, #women