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  1. #21

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    Turkey offers all Syrians free health care

    22 January 2013 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL

    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay on Tuesday said all Syrians could receive free health services in public hospitals regardless of whether they are being accommodated in refugee camps or live in cities using their own means.
    Speaking to reporters in Parliament, Atalay shared information on the recent situation of refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria to take shelter in Turkey.

    More than 150,000 refugees have been accommodated in Turkey and live in camps in border provinces. Turkey has also provided medical treatment to thousands of wounded, including opposition fighters battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Atalay noted that in addition to those who are in refugee camps and enjoy free health care at public hospitals, other Syrians who came by their own means and chose to live in apartments in cities in southern Turkey could also benefit from free health services in state hospitals.

    In response to a question, Atalay denied news reports that said epidemics were rife in refugee camps where Syrians are being accommodated.

    "There is no such thing. The health services are working fine. There was one problem, but it has been solved. It was related to the health care of Syrians residing in several Turkish provinces. They can now also turn to public hospitals [to receive medical treatment]," Atalay said.

    Turkey has been pursuing an “open-door policy” and receives hundreds, sometimes thousands of newcomers from war-torn Syria every week. In addition to the registered Syrian refugees, there also tens of thousands of Syrians who have settled in Turkey using their own means.

    Turkey is growing wary of the prolonged war in neighboring Syria as a high number of new refugees has strained the capabilities and resources of the country. Along with humanitarian concerns, Ankara also faces new security challenges across the volatile border and has invited NATO to install a Patriot missile system to beef up its security.

  3. #23
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    Ghostly sect stalks Syria's future

    by: Ben Macintyre - June 09, 2012

    WHEN the French ruled Syria after the carve-up of the Middle East that followed World War I, they needed a local group they could rely on, a favoured minority to keep the rest in check and to help to enforce their mandate.

    They turned to the Alawites, a tough, fierce, mysterious, mountain-dwelling Syrian sect: today Syria is paying the price for the French colonial policy of divide and rule, as Bashar Assad's Alawite clan clings to power in an increasingly ferocious sectarian conflict.

    Syria's descent into violent protest and bloody repression lies, in part, in the story of the Alawites and an explosive heritage of paranoia, secrecy, persecution and the pursuit of power.

    For most of their history, after branching off from mainstream Shia Islam in the 9th century, the Alawites or Nusayris (after their founder, Ibn Nusayr) suffered grim religious oppression. Under the Ottomans, they were regarded as heretics, taxed heavily and brutally repressed when they resisted conversion to Sunni Islam.

    "The sect", wrote T.E. Lawrence, "was clannish in feeling and politics. One Nosairi (sic) would not betray another, and would hardly not betray an unbeliever."

    The sect is a self-described branch of Shia Islam, but its mystical religion remains so shrouded in mystery that its very beliefs are still a matter of some conjecture.

    French control of Syria, however, paved the way for the rise of the Alawites. France deliberately set out to divide the region along religious, communal and geographical lines
    . The Alawites, regarded as a "warlike race" (rather as the British saw the Gurkhas), were encouraged to join the colonial armies and police as a counterweight to the Sunnis and to obstruct the rise of Syrian nationalism.

    In 1922, the Alawite district was proclaimed an autonomous state under French protection and was administered separately from Syria until 1942. The French thought Nusayri sounded too close to "Nasara", a Muslim term for Christians derived from "Nazareth", and formally changed the sect's name to Alawites or Alawi, followers of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet.

    The Alawites dominated the military elite when Hafez Assad came to power through a coup in 1970. Although the two million Alawites make up only 11 per cent of Syria's population (in a country that is 75 per cent Sunni), the sect dominates the Syrian state, monopolising almost all positions of power.

    While publicly playing down sectarian divisions and courting other religious minorities who feared Sunni domination, the Assads packed members of their Alawite clan into every organ of state: the ruling Baath Party, the civil service, the intelligence service and, above all, the military and security elite. Some 70 per cent of professional Syrian soldiers and 80 per cent of officers are Alawites. The Shabiha, the vicious militia responsible for the worst mass killings, most recently in al-Qabeer, is almost wholly composed of specially recruited and well-paid Alawite thugs.

    The Assads have effectively taken their co-religionists hostage, providing money and housing for poor Alawites in return for blind loyalty, and so closely identifying the sect with their regime that many Alawites fear, probably rightly, that the fall of the House of Assad could lead to wholesale retribution by the Sunni majority.

    The aggression and paranoia fuelling the horrors of al-Qabeer and Houla reflect the isolation, suspicion and secrecy embedded in Alawite history.

    The Alawite faith, developed in closed and defensive mountain societies, is an extraordinary and fascinating amalgam of beliefs, incorporating elements of Christianity, Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism and Phoenician paganism. The faith does not encourage pilgrimages or fasts, has no mosques, regards prayer as unnecessary and maintains rituals with strong Christian overtones, such as the drinking of consecrated wine.

    Alawites believe in the divinity of Ali, but also venerate a wide variety of prophets, beginning with Adam, including Christ, and even taking in figures from classical antiquity such as Plato and pre-Islamic Persian sages.

    Above all, Alawite beliefs are cloaked in concealment. Women are not eligible to learn the religion and some elements of the faith are known only to a select few. Alawite religious rites are performed in secret, in line with the custom of taqiyya, the tradition of hiding one's beliefs to escape persecution. As historians have pointed out, a society wedded to the idea of secrecy has created a fertile seedbed for the Mukhabarat, the feared Syrian military intelligence apparatus that has underpinned the Assad regime from the outset.

    The existence of Alawite control was taboo under the Assads, who espoused a secular philosophy and claimed to be blind to sectarian differences while building up one of the most clannish governments in the Middle East.

    Now this domination is under threat, Assad is whipping up Alawite fears to defend himself: arms are reported to have been distributed to Alawite communities within Sunni areas and the Shabiha has been unleashed on towns linked to the opposition.

    The systematic murder of children by forces of the regime represents a new increase in the sectarian conflict; as in Bosnia, Rwanda and Nazi Germany, the Syrian state is now involved in a war of ethnic cleansing.

    While the Syrian resistance is anxious to appear genuinely national, the fight against Assad is overwhelmingly Sunni-dominated: the opposition Syrian National Council has 311 members, of whom no more than ten are Alawites.

    Assad knows that his best hope of survival lies now in fomenting sectarian divisions in the hope that, as the split between Sunni and Shia starts to spread beyond Syria into the wider Middle East, the threat of outside intervention will grow ever smaller.

    As Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, has observed, Syria now faces the "spectre of all-out civil war" - a war between tyranny and the forces of democratic change, between a corrupt and murderous elite and an impoverished populace, but also between different religious sects, separated by ancient beliefs and a violent history.

    "Shabiha" is Arabic for ghosts, and the name is ghoulishly apt. Hundreds of years of religious persecution, the accidents and manipulations of colonial domination, a divided country ruled through force and fear - these are the ghosts that stalk Syria's past and its future.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-1226389434225


    comment:


    These arabs brought all of these troubles upon themselves. They were fine and protected under the Ottomon rule, under the Khilafa, then these khawarij joined forces with the kuffar and rebelled. The end result was these arabs got rewarded with Israel, colonial rule under the kuffar, and regression instead of progress.

  4. #24
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    Syrian children being sold in Europe

    According to AlDiyar newspaper, an international gang started buying children from Syrian families. Families who escaped terrorism in Syria to Greece, Cyprus or Turkey. The children are later taken to Europe where they’re to be sold. Children’s description, photos and blood type were posted on some websites. 100,000 Iraqi kid were sold in the Arab Gulf countries and Qatar. This is where the article ends. Human trafficking had benefited immensely from the “Humanitarian Wars”, as did Organs Trade. Why else would the blood type be included, are the Syrian children’s organs being harvested?

    source
    http://www.syrianews.cc/syrian-child...old-in-europe/




  5. #25
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    Iran Training Assads Shia Alawites


    HOMS PROVINCE, Syria (Reuters) - The Syrian government is sending members of its irregular militias for guerrilla combat training at a secret base in Iran, in a move to bolster its armed forces drained by two years of fighting and defections, fighters and activists said.
    The discreet program has been described as an open secret in some areas loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, who is trying to crush a revolt against his family's four-decade hold on power.

    Reuters interviewed four fighters who said they were taken on the combat course in Iran, as well as opposition sources who said they had also been documenting such cases.

    Israel's intelligence chief and a Western diplomat have said Iran, Assad's main backer, is helping to train at least 50,000 militiamen and aims to increase the force to 100,000 - though they did not say where the training occurred.

    No one at Iran's foreign ministry was available for comment, but Iranian officials have repeatedly denied military involvement in the Syrian conflict, saying they have only provided humanitarian aid and political support for Assad.

    A Syrian government security source, who declined to be named, denied that Syria was sending fighters to Iran. "We train our own special forces for this type of combat," he said. "Since 2006 we have had units trained in guerrilla warfare, why would we need to send people to Iran?"

    But if the reports by Syrian fighters are true, the move to train combatants in Iran suggests that their country's increasingly regionalized conflict has grown well beyond - and could even outlast - a battle for power between Assad's circle and the opposition.

    The fighters also appear to come largely from minority groups that have supported Assad against the mostly Sunni Muslim-led uprising. Such a move could exacerbate the dangerous sectarian dimensions of a conflict that has turned into a civil war that has cost the lives of more than 70,000 people.

    REGIONAL INFLUENCE

    Iran, a Shi'ite rival to Sunni countries in the Gulf that support the rebels, sees Syria as the lynchpin of its regional influence. Syria has been its conduit to the Lebanese guerrilla movement Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006.

    "It was an urban warfare course that lasted 15 days. The trainers said it's the same course Hezbollah operatives normally do," said Samer, a Christian member of a pro-Assad militia fighting in rural parts of Homs province in central Syria.

    "The course teaches you the important elements of guerrilla warfare, like several different ways to carry a rifle and shoot, and the best methods to prepare against surprise attacks."

    According to fighters interviewed in Homs, most men sent to undergo the training are from the Alawite sect, the heterodox strain of Shi'ite Islam of which Assad himself is a member.

    A smaller number were Druze and Christians, whose communities are divided but largely support Assad due to their fears of rising Islamist rhetoric among the opposition.

    "The Iranians kept telling us that this war is not against Sunnis but for the sake of Syria. But the Alawites on the course kept saying they want to kill the Sunnis and rape their women in revenge," said Samer.

    "DIE AN UGLY DEATH"

    Syrian residents living in areas controlled by the army or militias say irregular forces have been increasingly "regularized" in recent months. These groups now brand themselves as the "National Defence Army" and seem to operate as a parallel force to the official armed forces - more lightly armed but without any of the oversight or responsibilities.

    Since 2011, security forces organized groups called "popular committees" for neighborhood watches. These later became militias nicknamed "shabbiha", from the Arabic word for ghost.

    Shabbiha groups have been accused of some of the worst massacres of Sunni civilians, including one incident in the central town of al-Houla, in Homs province, in which more than 100 people were killed, half of them children. Authorities blamed rebels for the killings.
    It is unclear how many former shabbiha fighters have been sent on courses in Iran, but some interviewees said they had assembled in groups of around 400 before being flown to Iran in smaller numbers. They believed the offer of training was open to many pro-Assad militias operating across Syria.

    Syrian shabbiha fighters say Iran is also training Syrians and supporting their forces inside Syria, so it is not clear why courses have been run in Iran.

    The fighters interviewed said they believed the training implied a growing crisis of confidence between Iranian forces and the Syrian
    army, which has been plagued with corruption as well as defections to the rebel side.

    Nabeel, a muscular Christian fighter from Homs nicknamed "The Shameless One", said Iranian trainers repeatedly lectured on looting, a crime widely committed by fighters on both sides.

    "On our first day of training, the Iranian officer overseeing our course said, 'I know exactly what is going on in Syria and want to tell you one thing: If you joined the National Defence Army for looting and not to defend your country, you will die an ugly death and go to hell'."

    SECRETIVE TRAINING

    The trainees interviewed said they were divided into groups. Some trained as ground forces with automatic rifles and mounted anti-aircraft guns, others as snipers.

    The groups were all flown from Latakia air base to Tehran International Airport and then directly bussed to an undisclosed location,
    they said.

    "As soon as we arrived we were put on buses with windows covered by curtains and they told us not to open the curtains," said the fighter Samer.

    "We drove about an hour and a half before reaching the camp. It was straight from the airport to the camp, from the camp to the airport. We didn't see anything other than that camp."

    All four combatants, who come from different towns and different militias, separately described the same experience. They said they were usually grouped into units of about 60 for training. The fighters said they were trained by Iranian officers who spoke Arabic but also relied on translators.

    The units also had contact with Lebanese fighters, said the participants, who suspected those men of being Hezbollah militants helping to conduct training or participate in courses.

    "There were some groups from Hezbollah training at the same base but there was no communication between our groups. They did their thing, and we did ours," said Sameer, another militiaman from Homs. "I think their training was tougher than ours."

    GULF SEEKS TO "BLEED" IRAN

    Iran has supported and helped train Syria's army under long-standing military cooperation agreements, but a push into training its paramilitary forces could aggravate regional rivals such as Israel, which is particularly wary of Syrian groups increasing coordination with Hezbollah, or Saudi Arabia.

    "If the Saudis felt that the Iranians are really moving this game up, they will be sure to check that escalation by increasing assistance to rebel fighters," said Michael Stephens, a Doha-based analyst for the security think tank RUSI.

    "Saudi Arabia is totally focused on this as a way to make the Iranians bleed ... keep the Iranians bogged down in this proxy war, bleed them dry."

    The fighters described the training as far superior to skills they had been taught in courses inside Syria.
    "Before I could only hit targets 50 percent of the time, now I can hit a target around 90 percent of the time," said Samer.

    "In Syria, they made the priority defending the place we are in, no matter the price. In Iran, they told us to save our lives. If you lose the position but survive, you can recoup and regain the site another day. If you die, your position will eventually be lost."


    http://news.yahoo.com/insight-syrian...105420534.html

    -------------------------


    A man, who is reportedly an Iranian officer in the custody of the rebel Free Syrian Army, spoke to Al Arabiya Thursday and said he used to train snipers for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    He said that he used to train the men in the western province of Idlib, in which – he added – he stayed for months.

    “My name is Hamid Wothouq, amd I’m from Shiraz city. I stayed in al-Fouaa and Kafriya for five month to work with snipers. In Iran, I worked for the Basij [Iranian paramilitary organization]. I want help from the Islamic republic,” he told Al Arabiya’s cameras.

    Wothouq allegedly entered Syria from Turkey and said there were Iranian soldiers spread in the country to help the Assad regime in fighting rebels.

    “In al-Fouaa and Kafriya, Bousra, Tartous and Damascus, there are Iranian soldiers fighting alongside the Assad army.”
    Rebel Free Syrian Army leaders described Wothouq’s capture as a “precious find” and formidable proof against the Syrian regime’s claim that no Iranian soldiers or members of Lebanon’s Shiite movement, Hezbollah, were present in the country.

    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/New...d-army-Captured-soldier-tells-Al-Arabiya.html



  6. #26
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    The Price of Refuge - Syria





    -------------------------

    One day in the fall of 2012, Syrian government troops brought a young Free Syrian Army soldier's fiancée, sisters, mother, and female neighbors to the Syrian prison in which he was being held. One by one, he said, they were raped in front of him.

    The 18-year-old had been an FSA soldier for less than a month when he was picked up. Crying uncontrollably as he recounted his torture while in detention to a psychiatrist named Yassar Kanawati, he said he suffers from a spinal injury inflicted by his captors. The other men detained with him were all raped, he told the doctor. When Kanawati asked if he, too, was raped, he went silent.


    Although most coverage of the Syrian civil war tends to focus on the fighting between the two sides, this war, like most, has a more insidious dimension: rape has been reportedly used widely as a tool of control, intimidation, and humiliation throughout the conflict. And its effects, while not always fatal, are creating a nation of traumatized survivors -- everyone from the direct victims of the attacks to their children, who may have witnessed or been otherwise affected by what has been perpetrated on their relatives.

    In September 2012, I was at the United Nations when Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide shook up a fluorescent-lit room of bored-looking bureaucrats by saying that what happened during the Bosnian war is "repeating itself right now in Syria." He was referring to the rape of tens of thousands of women in that country in the 1990s.

    "With every war and major conflict, as an international community we say 'never again' to mass rape," said Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, who is co-chair of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. [Full disclosure: I'm on the advisory committee of the campaign.]"Yet, in Syria, as countless women are again finding the war waged on their bodies--we are again standing by and wringing our hands."



    We said after the Holocaust we'd never forget; we said it after Darfur. We probably said it after the mass rapes of Bosnia and Rwanda, but maybe that was more of a "we shouldn't forget," since there was so much global guilt that we just sort of sat back and let similar tragedies occur since and only came to the realization later -- we forgot.

    Could we have forgotten that the unfolding human catastrophe in Syria exists before it's even over?

    Using a crowd-sourced map for the last year, our team at the Women's Media Center's Women Under Siege project, together with Columbia University epidemiologists, the Syrian-American Medical Society, and Syrian activists and journalists, has documented and collected data to figure out where and how women and men are being violated in Syria's war. And, perhaps most important, by whom.
    We've broken down the 162 stories we've gathered from the onset of the conflict in March 2011 through March 2013 into 226 separate pieces of data. All our reports are currently marked "unverified" (even those that come from well-known sources like Human Rights
    Watch, the United Nations, and news outlet such as the BBC) because we have not yet been able to independently confirm them. Eighty percent of our reports include female victims, with ages ranging from 7 to 46. Of those women, 85 percent reported rape; 10 percent include sexual assault without penetration; and 10 percent include detention that appears to have been for the purposes of sexualized violence or enslavement for a period of longer than 24 hours. (We generally use this category when we hear soldiers describe being ordered to detain women to rape them; we're not guessing at intent.) Gang rape allegedly occurred in 40 percent of the reports about women.



    In mid-March, I was in Michigan, surrounded by Syrians who live here but are helping out their fellow citizens in refugee camps and health centers. Kanawati, the psychologist, told me that day that she had visited with a refugee family in Jordan and listened to one of three sisters describe how a group of Syrian army soldiers had come to their house in Homs, tied up their father and brother, and raped the three women in front of them. The woman cried as she went on to describe how after raping them the soldiers opened their legs and burned their vaginas with cigarettes. They allegedly told the women during this: "You want freedom? This is your freedom."


    The psychiatrist asked one of the three sisters, who was holding a baby, "Is that baby from the rape?" The woman changed the subject.
    All the women are having nightmares, Kanawati said; all have PTSD. Now, she said, the two sisters are employed in Amman, but the mother, who does not work, is "consumed by the baby." The brother will not speak.
    This family is quietly living with trauma that reaches across generations.

    Men are more than just witnesses to sexualized violence in Syria; they are experiencing it directly as well. Forty-three of the reports on our map - about 20 percent -- involve attacks against men and boys, all of whom are between the ages of 11 and 56. Nearly half of the reports about men involve rape, while a quarter detail sexualized violence without penetration, such as shocks to the genitals. Sixteen percent of the men who have been raped in our reports were allegedly violated by multiple attackers.

    Government perpetrators have allegedly committed the majority of the attacks we've been able to track: 60 percent of the attacks against men and women are reportedly by government forces, with another 17 percent carried out by government and shabiha (plainclothes militia) forces together. When it comes to the rape of women, government forces have allegedly carried out 54 percent these attacks; shabiha have allegedly perpetrated 20 percent; government and shabiha working together 6 percent.

    Overall, the FSA has allegedly carried out less than 1 percent of the sexualized attacks in our total reports. About 15 percent of the attacks have unknown or other perpetrators.



    When it comes to men, more than 90 percent of the reports of sexualized violence have been allegedly perpetrated by government forces, which can perhaps be explained by the fact that most of these attacks occurred in detention facilities. Long used as a weapon against prisoners in Syria as in much of the world, rape appears to be utilized during this conflict in horrifyingly soul-crushing, creative ways. Beyond simply raping detainees, shabiha members or Syrian army soldiers have reportedly carried out the rapes offamily members or other women front of prisoners.

    Atrocities are inevitably muted when victims die, and perpetrators worldwide know this. Part of the reason we've chosen to live-track sexualized violence in Syria is because so much evidence is lost in war. Consider that 18 percent of the women in our reports were allegedly witnessed killed or found dead after sexualized violence. Look at this report from Beirut-based news site Ya Libnan, which describes a confession from a defected Syrian Army soldier who said he was ordered "to rape teenage girls in Homs at the end of last year."

    "The girls would generally be shot when everyone had finished," the soldier said. "They wanted it to be known in the neighborhoods that the girls had been raped, but they didn't want the girls to survive and be able to identify them later."

    Because there is a deleterious and under-documented personal aftermath of sexualized violence, we are also tracking its mental and physical health fallout. Ten percent of the women in our reports appear to suffer from anxiety, depression, or other psychological trauma, and that's clearly a low estimate considering the acts described. Three percent of the women have reportedly become pregnant from rape, and 2 percent suffer from a chronic physical disease as a result of the violence.

    When I asked Kanawati how many women she's spoken to and treated who have survived rape, she said it's impossible to know. She has interviewed dozens of refugees who may have been raped or otherwise sexually tortured, mostly in Homs. Originally from Damascus, she is currently the medical director of Family Intervention Specialists in the Atlanta area and has been working with Syrian refugees in Amman with the support of the Syrian-American Medical Society.

    "Syrian families are very conservative and I always tell them: ' Rape is a way to break the family. The easiest way,'" Kanawati said. "I tell them, 'Don't let this break you--this is what they're trying to do.' When I tell that to the women, however, they say, 'Tell that to our husbands.'"
    She described how women have repeatedly told her that their neighbors were raped, usually by more than one man, and how each time the extraordinary detail the women give and the trauma they exhibit tells her that the story isn't actually about a "neighbor," but the woman herself. More than that, the storytellers usually go on to describe how the "neighbor's" husband then left this woman.
    Sex outside of marriage, let alone the violation of a woman in an act of rape, said Kanawati, is "completely taboo."
    Erin Gallagher, a former investigator of sexual and gender-based violence for the UN's Commission of Inquiry on Syria (and before that on Libya), spent months speaking with Syrian women and men in camps in Jordan and Turkey. She said it's very difficult to get an accurate idea at this point of the scope of sexualized crimes in Syria and that "there are more victims out there than what we are finding." Getting a true idea of the scope, she said, "is going to take time, trust building, and a broader, holistic approach."
    Kanawati said her sister, an ob-gyn who lives in Damascus, has carefully told her (for fear of eavesdropping), "You would not believe how much rape there is." Her sister has treated women who say they have been raped by soldiers or shabiha militia members in the rural areas around the city.
    Gallagher explained why so few victims of sexualized violence in Syria are coming forward publicly.
    "The reality is that they have much to lose and little to gain by doing so at this point in time, for many reasons," she said. "It takes a lot of courage and strength for a victim to speak up and they may be on their own with little support as they do it. In addition to the shame and isolation a victim may feel, they now are in an insecure environment due to the war. They may now be living in a large refugee camp with no privacy, surrounded by people they don't know or trust."
    With no clear future for Syria in sight, refugees are understandably cautious about who they speak to and trust with sensitive and personal information. "If they tell someone, to whom and where does that information go?" Gallagher said. It may be hard to put their trust in a stranger when, time and again, there has been little justice for victims of wartime rape.
    Add to all that the physical, psychological, and emotional trauma that victims are suffering from the war and displacement, and "it's not surprising that victims are reluctant to come forward," she said.
    Hearing this I can't help but think of the preface to Night, in which Elie Wiesel writes:"For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and the living... .To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive."
    ***
    "The security forces and the shabiha took whole families outside after destroying their homes," a woman named Amal told the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat in June 2012. "They stripped my girls from their clothes, raped them then killed them with knives. They were shouting: 'You want freedom? This is the best brand of freedom.'"

    It's nearly word-for-word the sentences spoken in the story above about the women raped and then burned with cigarettes.
    Coincidence? Maybe. But repeated phrasing is exactly the kind of thing that helps build international cases for human rights violations. Language can indicate whether mass rape has been coordinated and systematic. Recently, a U.S.-based group called AIDS-Free World successfully petitioned to have South Africa investigate mass rape allegedly carried out by the ruling ZANU-PF party in Zimbabwe against opposition supporters in 2008. Part of their case was built on the fact that they heard that similar phrases were being uttered during rapes across the country--women were called "traitors to Zimbabwe" or told they were being "sent a message," according to Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World.

    Gallagher, who also investigated rape in Libya, said she's heard about such phrases being used during rape in both countries.
    "I don't think it necessarily means it was an order," she said of Libya, "but certainly a common belief among the soldiers. They knew they had free reign. I can't conclude if [Bashar al-] Assad and his command ordered it or have just given his men free reign. What is clear is that he and his commanders are doing nothing to stop their soldiers from committing such crimes."

    For a year, I've sat in circles of high-level advisors from the International Criminal Court and elsewhere debating what might tip Russia's hand and prevent it from vetoing a vote to send Syria's human rights crimes to the court. But now with the success of AIDS-Free World's use of a concept called universal jurisdiction, which crosses borders to try crimes that are so heinous that they call for a sense of greater justice, perhaps it is time to consider alternatives to the ICC. Jody Williams, known for rousing the slumbering world when it came to banning landmines, has some ideas.

    "We don't need more research or more proof, we need a plan," said Williams. "And the plan should be to ensure that there is coordinated international action to ensure survivors get help, justice is served against those perpetrating the sexualized violence, and we are all working together to prevent further rape. This will take men, women, communities, national governments, and the international community--everyone."

    Personally, I'm hoping this is the last report I'll have to write parsing data from a map that shouldn't have to exist in the first place. Somehow, though, I don't think that will be the case.


    http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...crisis/274583/

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    Assad deploys foreign fighters in capital to protect Shiite shrines

    Shiite fighters from neighboring countries are flocking to Damascus to defend their religious sites and defend Bashar al-Assad against advancing Sunni-dominated opposition forces. Many of these foreign guerrillas fight under the umbrella group of Abu al Fadl al-Abbas brigade. They come from Iraq, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan.

    In Damascus, they are no strangers; they roam the streets and often clash with the members of the Free Syrian Army.

    Their brigade is based in Sayeda Zeinab district and its 12 battalions are deployed in al-Hajar al-Aswad and Qaboun.

    Leaked footage shows the deployment of brigade members under the flag of the Syrian regime army in al-Jobar.
    The brigade was formed a few months ago amid the escalation of clashes around the capital, and is now fighting its main battles around the shrine of Sayeda Zeinab, south of Damascus.

    The growing phenomenon of foreign fighters in the regime’s army follows the public calls by State Mufti, Ahmad Hassoun, who believes it is every Muslim’s duty to defend the regime. His call has apparently been heard and reinforced by Damascus’ sectarian dimension.


    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/New...ers-in-capital-to-protect-Shiite-shrines.html


    Assad forces kill 15 Syrian Sunni Muslims in Aleppo

    Nine children were among at least 15 people killed in an airstrike on a heavily contested neighborhood in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Saturday, activists said.

    “The number of people killed in an air strike on the western edges of Sheikh Maksoud has risen to 15 ... Among them were nine children aged under 18 years and three women,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
    It was not immediately clear if any of the casualties were fighters from the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Syria’s branch of Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Britain-based Observatory said.

    After the strike, Kurdish fighters killed five soldiers in an attack on an army checkpoint, the watchdog added.
    An amateur video of the raid showed people loading the bodies of three bloodied children and two men in the back of a pickup truck as women screamed and explosions went off in the distance. Another boy was seeing lying dead in the street near a burning truck.

    “I saw dead people and cattle in the area,” said Aleppo-based activist Mohammed Saeed, who added that he counted 11 bodies.

    Both sides are eager to control the strategic district, which is predominantly inhabited by minority Kurds. The neighborhood is located on a hill on the northern edge of Aleppo and overlooks much of the city, giving those who control it the ability to pound districts held by the opposing side with mortars and artillery.

    The rebels control large swaths of northern Syria, and captured their first provincial capital - the city of Raqqa - last month. They have also been making gains in recent weeks in the south, seizing military bases and towns in the strategically important region between Damascus and the border with Jordan, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the capital.

    Meanwhile in Damascus, mortar rounds hit the residential district of Kafar Souseh on the city’s western outskirts, killing one person and wounding at least 13, the state-run SANA news agency said. The attacks also caused material damage to stores in the district and set several parked vehicles on fire, SANA said.

    The Observatory said mortar rounds also struck the Damascus suburb of Jaramana. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

    It was not immediately clear who fired the shells, but mortar rounds have fallen with increasingly regularity in the center of the capital, puncturing the aura of normalcy that the regime has tried to cultivate in the city.

    The regime has largely kept the rebels at bay so far in Damascus, although opposition fighters control several suburbs of the capital and look increasingly capable of threatening the heart of the city - and Assad’s power.

    State-run news agency SANA said government troops dealt a major blow to rebels in areas east of the city known as Eastern Ghouta, adding that the armed forces “cleansed” areas near the airport to the south, all the way to the northeastern suburb of Adra. It did not elaborate.

    Eastern Ghouta has been one of the tensest areas in Syria over the past year, with daily clashes and shelling between troops and rebels.

    The Observatory also reported clashes between government troops and rebels Saturday in the town of Otaybah east of Damascus.

    Also Saturday, the newly elected prime minister of the Western-backed opposition umbrella group, Ghassan Hitto, started reviewing candidates for a planned rebel interim government that will consist of 11 ministries and will be based inside Syria, according to a statement by the Syrian National Coalition.

    It said Hitto, who has lived in the United States for many years, aims to “attract the qualified talent and competencies required to manage the upcoming phase of the revolution.”

    The candidates for ministerial and deputy positions must be Syrian citizens older than 35 years of age, the statement said. It added that high-ranking regime officials or “those who have committed crimes against the Syrian people or have unlawfully seized Syrian property or wealth” will be excluded from consideration.

    “The nominee must be an advocate or supporter of the Syrian revolution,” the statement said.

    The Western-backed opposition alliance has been marred by severe divisions in its ranks since its formation late last year in Qatar, and its leaders are mostly seen as disconnected from the myriad rebel forces fighting inside Syria.

    Also Saturday, Russia said U.N. demands for unlimited access “to all facilities in Syria and to all persons” who experts believe are necessary to be interrogated over an alleged chemical attack “are beyond the framework of the investigation.”

    Both the Syrian government and the rebels have demanded an international investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack on March 19 that killed 31 people in the northern village of Khan al-Assal. Damascus has formally asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate.

    Last month, Ban appointed a former U.N. chemical weapons inspector to Iraq, Ake Sellstrom, to head the U.N. fact-finding mission that will investigate allegations of the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria. Sellstrom, a Swede, now works at a research institute that deals with chemical incidents.


    Assad troops shell Damascus neighborhood with Toshka missiles




    Syrian local coordination committees said on Saturday that regime troops shelled Damascus with Toshka surface-to-surface missiles, whose warheads can be replaced with nuclear ones.

    The opposition committees added that ever since the revolution erupted, Assad's forces have hit the capital twice with those kinds of missiles.

    The missiles on Saturday targeted the Damascus' neighborhood of Baraza and the attack comes a few days after the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk was struck with the same weaponry.

    Toshka missiles are short-range ballistic missiles and are transported on a vehicle where they are erected prior to the launching. Toshka missiles were designed to be used by troops fighting on field.

    These arms are specialized in their ability to accurately hit targets and are highly-destructive given they explode 16 meters before reaching its mark.

    The missiles' warheads can be replaced with chemical or biological warheads, not only nuclear ones, the weight of the warheads can amount to 500 kilograms.

    On another note, media reports claimed the Free Syrian Army possessed AS-50 British-made sniper rifles, which are light in weight and it can also be quickly disassembled.

    However, the FSA has denied the reports.


    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/New...mascus-neighborhood-with-Toshka-missiles.html

  8. #28
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    Rape widespread in Syria

    AMMAN, JORDAN—The cell was small with iron bars across the door. Three women, all naked, were chained to each corner. Nour was stripped, taken to the fourth, and handcuffed to the wall.

    Every day, for more than 60 days, Nour says she and the other prisoners were raped in one of Syria’s most notorious detention centres.

    Some of her attackers at the Palestine Branch of Military Intelligence in Damascus were in uniform, others in civilian clothes.

    “They had visitors in the prison playing cards and they said in front of us, ‘if you want sex, there are girls here,’ ” she says. Two girls died in the cell, she says.

    Nour, which is not her real name, wrings her small white hands constantly as she speaks, the only sign of distress as she recalls with precision and composure the assaults she suffered between December 2011 and February 2012. When her body was being violated she emptied her mind, she says. Her body no longer belonged to her but she could try to protect her soul.

    “This war has taken me from one world to another life,” she says. “We have a saying that the wheel of life turns. But the wheel turned over on me. I used to have a normal life.”

    Her so-called crime was to take photographs of protesters in Homs one afternoon in November 2011, naively indulging a hobby that the authorities said demonstrated support for the uprising.

    International human rights groups are alarmed at the consistent reports of rape from refugees flooding into Jordan, Lebanon and

    Turkey. Sexual violence is increasingly a “weapon of war” in Syria and perpetrated “by all sides,” senior UN official Erika Fellertold the world body’s Human Rights Council in Geneva in February. The charity International Rescue Committee recently warned in a report that rape, or the fear of it, was the main reason why families were fleeing the country.

    However, the full scope of sexual violence is not clear; whether it is a systematic policy of President Bashar Assad’s regime or by the rebels to punish pro-government supporters.

    Few women and girls are speaking out. In Jordan, nearly every Syrian refugee has a story about rape the vast majority at the hands of the regime. Stories that begin with the refrain ‘I heard’ are common. ‘I heard’ that girls are being dragged off the street by the pro-regime shabiha thugs, drugged and raped. ‘I heard’ they are raping girls in prison cutting up their bodies and sending them back to their families. It is difficult to know how many are talking about their own experiences but refusing to admit it.

    Several factors may be conspiring to keep them silent. Victims have no hope of getting justice, there is little medical help available and the risk of being cast out or even killed to protect the family’s honour is high. Nour is telling her story because she has nothing to lose.

    Her husband took their young son to Bahrain. She is literally dead to her family.

    “My family issued a death certificate for me. One of my brothers did it,” she says.

    “A woman should be pure like glass when she marries,” Maram says. Maram, 42, grew up in Damascus and has lived in Jordan for nearly 30 years.

    The sanctity of a home in Arab culture is paramount to the extent that it is taboo for a strange man to enter a room where there are women he is not related to.

    In the women’s quarters of Maram’s sister-in-law’s house in Amman, the women chat freely while she explains the shame rape brings upon women. Even here, away from the gaze and out of the earshot of men, Maram cannot bring herself to say the word ‘rape.’

    “It is too much of a bad thing, the worst that can happen to a woman,” she says. “People say if she could not defend herself she wanted this to happen.”

    Maram is part of a small, informal network of middle-class Syrian housewives married to businessmen long settled in Jordan, trying to comfort their distressed countrywomen by referring them to doctors or giving them food.

    One of the refugees she helped is Huda, a mother of five girls who says she witnessed a terrifying scene of mass rape which forced her to run from her home in Homs with her daughters.

    “I have not lied, not one word,” she begins. “They are burned in my heart.”

    In the first week of March 2012, she cannot remember the precise day, her home in the Bab al Sabaa neighbourhood was hit by a missile and looted. She ran out of the house with her children and they took cover from snipers. On Adawiya St., a column of 10 to 15 women were walking in front of government tanks marked with Bashar Assad’s name, she says.

    “They (soldiers) raped them in front of the tanks. They made the women walk in front of the tanks first to use them as shields,” she says.

    “They passed a resistance area and then stripped them and raped them and killed them.”

    Huda and three of her daughters escaped through a series of destroyed houses.

    “We walked through the houses, through broken walls, broken doors, and gardens. The resistance army helped us,” she says. “The girls being raped were screaming ‘God, we have nobody but you.’ No one could help them.”

    Eventually, Huda’s family reached Damascus, then Jordan.

    It is difficult to independently verify her account because access to Syria is restricted. However, in early March 2012, Homs, a major battleground in the war, was under heavy siege as pro- and anti-government forces fought for control of the city.

    Huda has not reported the attacks to anyone. She still has two daughters stranded in Homs city and is scared about what might happen to them if she tells anyone what she saw.

    Besides, she adds, “Who can help them?”

    There is virtually no hope of any international intervention in bringing the attackers to justice partly because the UN Security Council has so far refused to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Nour doesn’t believe she will ever see her torturers in prison, no matter the pain those guards inflicted on her and the other girls.

    Sometimes the guards used rats as a rape instrument, she says. “They would bring a rat tied with a string and put it, well, you know where,” Nour says. “They did this to me too. One of the girls they did it to bled so badly she died.”

    The prison guards hound her still. She moves every few months because the man who ran the Damascus detention centre found out her address in Amman and has sent men to threaten her. He was not pleased that one of the guards helped free her in February 2012 when all the others were ordered to quell a demonstration elsewhere in Damascus, she says. The guard who helped her escape must have felt remorse because he was also one of her rapists.

    “He said on the drive, ‘I was forced to do this. I did not want to,’ ” she says.

    “I stayed in his house in Deraa for three days with his wife and mother,” she says, referring to the Syrian town close to Jordan’s border. “A Bedouin family smuggled me to Jordan.”

    Humanitarian agencies are overwhelmed, struggling to provide even the basics of life to the 470,000 Syrians who have crossed the border since the war began in March 2011. Zaatari, the largest refugee camp, is at risk of running out of water. UNICEF may stop its vaccination program. The UN’s refugee agency constantly pleads for more help from the international community but less than 25 per cent of the $1.5 billion (U.S.) pledged last year at a donors conference has arrived.

    Dr. Mohamed Abo Hilal, a Damascus psychiatrist who fled to Amman after being detained by Syrian authorities and tortured last year, treats 200 patients in two clinics he runs with a team of counsellors. Their traumas are severe but none has admitted personal experiences of rape, he says, although plenty say their neighbours or friends experienced sexual violence.

    “We think the regime, when they arrest women and put them in jail, the rapes happen in jail. But I do not think it is systematic like in

    Bosnia,” he says, referring to the rape camps of the Balkan wars in the 1990s. He believes sexual assaults are concentrated in mixed sectarian areas such as Homs where it is easy for opposition groups or the regime to demonize the other side.

    “But there is no real documentation so we do not know for certain,” he adds.

    Abo Hilal’s wife, Dr. Hala al Ghawi, a surgeon, treats patients at the Zaatari camp and says two women told her they had been raped but later recanted. One told her that she had been gang-raped by soldiers who forced their way inside her house as her husband was taking part in demonstrations in Homs.

    “She was very emotional and crying to me,” says al Ghawi. “But the next day, she said it did not happen. She was scared if her husband or brothers found out her husband would divorce her and her brothers would kill her after the divorce.”

    The women who are trying to help rape victims are also at risk.

    Maimona Sayed, a Syrian citizen, opened a small shelter where she has helped 15 women, including Nour, receive medical treatment and counselling. Her network of friends and relatives in Syria sent the victims to her.

    Sayed, 44, whose husband taught judo to the bodyguards of Jordan’s King Abdullah, received death threats after images of the outside of the shelter were broadcast on a major Arab satellite channel. Her son now drives her to every appointment. But she is not afraid, she says.

    “I am playing a role in freeing my country,” she says. Sayed raises money by sewing dresses in the colours of the Syrian flag, or stringing misbaha prayer beads and auctioning them at charity events in Saudi Arabia. In a spare room of her house, bolts of cloth are stacked against the wall.

    Sayed estimates at least 4,000 women and girls have been raped by government forces, based on figures from her contacts with anti-regime activists across Syria. If a girl is detained at a government jail her family automatically assumes she was raped and that assumption puts her life in danger.

    “Unfortunately, there is a lot of ignorance. But there are a lot of these families in Syria where, after the daughters are released from prison, they are killed immediately or forced to commit suicide,” she says. Sometimes the victims are pressured by fathers or brothers to get married quickly to rehabilitate their reputations, she adds.

    “They marry to cover their shame but it is wrong,” she says. “I know two cases of women who got married but then divorced because they could not accept a man anymore.”

    The unmarried victims are more anxious to have hymen reconstruction surgery to restore their virginal status than psychological treatment, she says. A single girl who is not a virgin will never have offers of marriage.

    Sayed gently coaxes the victims to confide in her, sometimes giving them religious books to read for strength or a notepad with a lock to write down their feelings. One young woman she is currently trying to reach was a university student in Homs who was held hostage with her parents for a month.

    “She was taken away from her parents daily for questioning by one man,” she says. “The mother of the girl is understanding and says if her daughter was raped she will not be ashamed.”

    Hiba’s family lives in a small apartment in an eastern suburb marked by dusty olive trees. Selwa, her mother, warmly greets Sayed at the door. Hiba, hovers behind. She has long brown hair and wears bright red lipstick.

    Selwa says in January 2012 eight shabiha kidnapped them from their home and took them to a nearby street and kept them for 24 days.

    One of Selwa’s relatives was in the Farouk brigade, a rebel group. They were held hostage in exchange for a shabiha fighter being held by the rebels.

    “They put us in a dark room with no electricity,” she says. “Abu Ali whose brother had been kidnapped used to take Hiba to another room and threaten her.”

    Hiba casts her eyes down. Both women say they never saw any sexual violence. After nearly a month, the prisoners were exchanged and Hiba’s family escaped to Jordan.

    After a few minutes, Hiba says she has some happy news to share.

    “I am getting married at the end of the month,” she says. Sayed expresses her surprise and happiness.

    “He is Syrian and he knows our whole story,” Hiba adds.

    After the visit ends, Sayed stands in front of her car, hesitantly looking back at the house. It is Hiba’s time as a hostage not her impending nuptials that are on her mind.

    “I’ve approached Hiba several times but she says she was not assaulted, but I am sure she was,” she says.

    At least Hiba has her family to protect her, she adds.

    Nour, after escaping from Damascus, now lives with three young orphaned girls and their aunt. The charitable Jordanian landlady allows them to pay the rent late. Her medical treatment was paid for by Jordanian and Saudi benefactors who offered to marry her but she refused.

    “I am destroyed inside,” she says. “I will never marry again.”

    But a single woman living alone is an object of scorn, she admits. Sometimes she knocks on her neighbours’ doors to ask for help but they do not answer.

    “When I was in prison with the other women we dreamed that we would leave and go back to our houses and be understood and sympathized with,” she says. “But when I see how I have been treated I wish I had died in that prison.”


    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2..._jordan_tell_of_horrific_rapes_back_home.html


    Assads Shia Shabiha Torturing a Women in Prison


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    Yusuf Al-Qardawi urges Sunni Muslims to fight Assad

    Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian Islamist based in Qatar, told a rally in Doha that every Sunni capable of fighting should support the rebels.

    He also claimed Iran and the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, Mr Assad's main allies, wanted to exterminate Sunnis.

    His call came as fighting continued for the control of the key town of Qusair.

    Rebel-held parts of Qusair, which is situated between Homs and the Lebanese border, are effectively blockaded by government forces and Hezbollah fighters, reports the BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut.

    Conditions inside Qusair are said to be dire, especially for civilians and wounded trapped there, our correspondent adds.


    Some civilians trying to flee are reported to have been killed. Activists said an entire family of seven were executed at Dabaa, just to the north of Qusair. The report could not be independently verified.

    Reinforcements from the Free Syrian Army are reported to have managed to break through from the north-east to support the embattled rebel fighters.

    Some Lebanese Sunnis have also crossed into Syria to fight alongside the rebels, who are drawn largely from Syria's majority Sunni community.
    'Party of Satan'

    Addressing a solidarity rally for Syria in Qatar's capital on Friday evening, Sheikh Qaradawi urged Sunnis throughout the region to follow suit and join the battle.

    "Every Muslim trained to fight and capable of doing that [must] make himself available," he said.

    "Iran is pushing forward arms and men, so why do we stand idle?"

    Sheikh Qaradawi, who has about 60 million followers for his religious programme on al-Jazeera TV, also denounced Hezbollah, whose name means the "Party of God" in Arabic, as the "Party of Satan".


    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared a week ago that the group had sent fighters to Syria to assist forces loyal to President Assad, and vowed to fight to the end to defeat the rebellion and defend Lebanon from jihadist extremists.

    "The leader of the Party of Satan comes to fight the Sunnis... Now we know what the Iranians want... They want continued massacres to kill Sunnis," Sheikh Qaradawi told the rally.

    Our correspondent says the call was a clear sign of how rising sectarianism between Sunnis and Shia threatens to tear the region apart.

    The cleric used to be an advocate of rapprochement with the Shia and defended Hezbollah against other Sunni authorities.

    Now, he said he regretted that, because he realised that there was no common ground between the two, because the Iranians, especially hardliners, just wanted to "devour" the Sunnis.

    The fierce fighting in Qusair and other parts of Syria has raised concerns about the prospects of a peace conference proposed by the United States and Russia.

    On Friday, diplomats told the Guardian newspaper that the negotiations on a political solution to the conflict were almost certain not to take place in Geneva in early June as scheduled. They remained hopeful that they would go ahead, probably in July or August.

    The main opposition alliance, the National Coalition, has ruled out taking part while civilians are being killed and "in the light of Hezbollah and Iran's militia's invasion of Syria".

    US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile criticised Russia for agreeing to supply the Syrian military with advanced S-300 missile defence system.

    "Whether it's an old contract or not, it has a profoundly negative impact on the balance of interests and the stability of the region," he said.

    Russia has itself criticised the European Union's decision to allow its arms embargo on Syria to expire on Saturday to allow weapons to be sent to the opposition.

    More than 80,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million have fled Syria since the uprising against Mr Assad began in 2011, according to the UN.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22741588





    Saudi scholars were ‘right’ on Hezbollah

    2 June 2013

    Renowned scholar Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi has slammed Iran and Hezbollah for supporting the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad.

    Speaking at a festival in Doha yesterday, Qaradawi said: “I kept calling for years (for efforts) to bridge the gap between sects, and traveled to Iran during the era of former President Mohammad Khatami (but) these fanatics (in Iran) and hard-liners want to disempower the Sunnis. They deceived me and deceived many others like me by saying that they too want to bridge the differences.”

    He added: “Years ago, I defended Hassan Nasrallah, who has named his party Hezbollah, although it is indeed a party of idols and party of devils who are defending Assad.

    “Several years ago, I stood against the great ulema and scholars in Saudi Arabia, urging them to support Hezbollah, but Saudi sheikhs were more mature and more visionary than me, because they knew the (Iranians and Hezbollah) for being liars. They call him Nasrallah,” said Qaradawi, “but he supports injustice and falsehood, and he came to kill Sunnis (in Syria).”

    “Every Muslim trained to fight and capable of doing that (must) make himself available” to support the Syrian fighters, he said.

    He said there should be support for the Syrian people with missiles, tanks and aircraft. “The Sunnis must stand against them,” and added that “we are not against all the Shiites and Alawites.”

    http://www.arabnews.com/news/453739




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    Video shows Assad forces torch man's face

    4/23/2013

    A Syrian opposition news agency broadcast a video on Sunday showing what it said were forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad torturing two men.

    The video shows one of the abusers setting on fire one of the victim's faces.

    According to the Syrian Media Center, the video was found on a cell phone belonging to a fighter of the Assad government.

    The men * some of whom are wearing Syrian army uniforms *were beating with long sticks two people, who were handcuffed and who* the report said *were civilians.

    http://anax8em.pressmart.com/saudiga...r-2013&page=07




    Abu Hurayra said:

    "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent us out on an expedition and said, 'If you meet so-and-so and so-and-so - two men of Quraysh whom he named - then burn them with fire.' We came to him to say good-bye and when we wanted to leave, the Messenger of Allah , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'I ordered you to burn so-and-so and so-and-so with fire. Only Allah punishes by fire. If you come across them, then kill them.'" [al-Bukhari], 1609.

    Ibn Mas'ud said:

    "We were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on a journey and he went to relieve himself. We saw a red bird with two chicks and took the chicks. The red bird came and began to flap its wings. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came back and said, 'Who has distressed this bird by taking its young? Return her young to her.' He saw an ant hill which we had set alight. He said, 'Who has set fire to this?' We replied, 'We did.' He said, 'Only the Lord of the Fire should punish with fire.'" [Abu Dawud], 1610.

  11. #31
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    Syria's children shot at, tortured, raped: charity report

    By Oliver Holmes - Mar 13, 2013

    A boy of 12 sees his best friend shot through the heart. Another of 15 is held in a cell with 150 other people, and taken out every day to be put in a giant wheel and burnt with cigarettes.

    Syria's children are perhaps the greatest victims of their country's conflict, suffering "layers and layers of emotional trauma", Save the Children's chief executive told Reuters.

    Syrian children have been shot at, tortured and raped during two years of unrest and civil war, the London-based international charity said in a report released on Wednesday.

    Two million children, it said, face malnutrition, disease, early marriage and severe trauma, becoming innocent victims of a bloody conflict that has already claimed 70,000 lives.

    "This is a war where women and children are the biggest casualty," chief executive Justin Forsyth told Reuters during a visit to Lebanon, where 340,000 Syrians have fled.

    Forsyth said he met a Syrian refugee boy, 12, who saw his best friend killed outside a bakery. "His friend was shot through the heart. But initially, he thought he was joking because there was no blood. They didn't realize he had been killed until they took his shirt off," he said.

    The Save the Children report cited new research carried out among refugee children by Bahcesehir University in Turkey which found that one in three reported having been punched, kicked or shot at.

    It said two thirds of children surveyed said that they had been separated from members of their families due to the conflict and a third said they had experienced the death of a close friend or family member.

    "All these children tell you these stories in a matter of fact way and then you realize that there are layers and layers of emotional trauma there," said Forsyth.

    Syria's civil war started with peaceful protests against the dynastic rule of President Bashar al-Assad. His forces shot at protesters and arrested thousands and soon the revolt turned into a civil war. Rebels now control large swathes of Syria.

    Millions have fled their homes for safer ground or neighboring countries. Save the Children says 80,000 people are living in barns, parks and caves and children struggle to find enough to eat.

    Both government forces and rebels have been accused of targeting civilians and committing war crimes. Refugees say that Assad's soldiers are directly targeting children.

    Forsyth said he met one child who said he was in a prison cell with 150 people, including 50 children.

    "He was taken out every day and put in a giant wheel and burnt with cigarettes. He was 15. The trauma that gives a child is devastating."

    Save the Children says that some young boys are also being used by armed groups as porters, runners and human shields, bringing them close to the front line.

    RAPE AND EARLY MARRIAGE

    Rape is being used to deliberately punish people, said Forsyth, adding that it is underreported due to the sensitivity of the issue, especially among conservative communities.

    "In most conflicts, over 50 percent of rapes are against children. And I am sure that is the case in this conflict too."

    Fear of sexual violence is repeatedly cited to Save the Children as one of the main reasons for families fleeing their homes, according to the report.

    It said that there are also reports of early marriage of young girls by families trying to reduce the numbers of mouths they have to feed, or hoping that a husband will be able to provide greater security from the threat of sexual violence.

    Forsyth said that he met a Syrian family in Lebanon who told their 16-year-old daughter to marry an older man. "Her mother said she is beautiful and every time the (Syrian) soldiers came to the house she thought: 'They are going to rape her.'"

    "Rape is being used deliberately to punish people," he said, adding that girls as young as 14 are being married off.

    Save the Children works in neighboring countries and within Syria but Damascus has restricted access to aid organizations, especially in opposition-held territory.

    The charity called for unfettered and safe access to humanitarian agencies, including "access across the lines of the conflict", and for Damascus to ease bureaucratic restraints.

    Despite pledges of $1.5 billion by international donors for a response plan to help Syria's displaced, only 25 per cent has been funded, the United Nations says.


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...92C03N20130313

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    ‘Take your portion’: A victim speaks out about rape in Syria

    By Lauren Wolfe/Mariam Aboukar — June 18, 2013

    Alma Abdulrahman is lying gaunt and unable to move anything below her diaphragm in a hospital bed in Amman. Some bedsores have become so deep she’s having surgery tomorrow. Screws hold together her upper vertebrae, and cigarette burns pock her right shoulder. Her voice fades in and out, hoarse from either weakness or morphine.

    Six months earlier, she was paralyzed when a regime soldier struck her in the neck with a rifle on a street on the outskirts of Damascus. Now, from a guarded hospital room, she wants to be heard, and what she has to say is deeply disturbing.

    Alma Abdulrahman is one of the very few women in the Syrian conflict to speak out about having been raped. While she offered to use her entire name in this story, I’ve used only her first name and a family name because of safety concerns.

    She has already received severe punishment, she says, as retribution for her role as a battalion commander in the Free Syrian Army. “I served at a very high rank in the army, where I was responsible over men who had to listen to me,” she says.

    Unusual for her forthrightness about the rape itself, Abdulrahman is also the rare Syrian woman who has discussed her role in the FSA, which she joined very early in the revolution. Formerly an accountant, she says she rose to the rank of an FSA battalion commander and was in charge of about 15 men at a time. She says she has killed “many, many” men -- at least nine, at her count. With her slim, tall figure, she was sometimes even able to pass as one, she says.

    Over the course of a few days in June, Abdulrahman described what she says are the details of her torture via Skype from her hospital bed. It is a series of interviews that almost didn’t happen. Her first, short interview was given to Al-Arabiya on June 6. After this, a person connected to the case told me, a man from the Jordanian government visited her hospital to let the administration know that he was displeased they were treating a “terrorist.” All interviews, including my plans to speak with her, were canceled. Through the cooperation of various medical and social workers in Amman, we were eventually able to connect. While tired, she agreed to speak multiple times through a translator and repeat what she made clear were painful memories.

    Her ordeal began on April 29, 2011.

    Abdulrahman is from an area in the southern part of Damascus called Al-Midan and had four children at that point. She was living a double life, fighting “during work hours” to hide her FSA world from her husband.

    One day in April she had gotten caught up in an incident in which a regime soldier was severely beating a 16-year-old boy at a checkpoint. Sick of the constant brutality, she says, she tried to intervene. This is what led to her own beating and incarceration by the Assad regime.

    During dark sessions over a period of 38 days, guards whipped her with a wire, strung her alternatively by her wrists and feet, and injected the crook of her elbow twice a day with a kind of drug that made her feel high, she says. The things Abdulrahman recalls the men saying as they allegedly raped her multiple times were so filthy she is loath to repeat them -- “it’s too dirty and too low” -- although she remembers them saying, “Here is the freedom you wanted” (a phrase similar to ones other women have reported hearing while being raped in Syria). And she can summon up at least one face. And a couple of names.

    Within an hour of her arrival at the detention center in Harasta, about 7 miles (12 kilometers) north of Damascus, where she was held in a cell with 20 other women, she says she was roused to consciousness and her torture began. She describes being gang-raped daily by men who smelled strongly of alcohol. Floating in and out of consciousness, she would kick and yell as best she could while lying next to another woman doing the same.

    “We were all blindfolded and raped and we would not know who was raping us,” she says, tearing up for the first time in our interview. Before being blindfolded, she could see what she calls the “boss” sit in front of them, teaching them “exactly what to do and say to us.”

    “They were ordered to take this one, to take ‘your portion,’” she says. “And they would take it.”

    Abdulrahman describes to me how she and one other woman from her colorless cell, college-aged, were usually taken together to another room with no furniture and raped. She remembers clearly the face of one man who tortured her. He was “very, very tan,” she says, “very, very thin,” and balding, she says; he was one of the men who would hit her while she was hung from the ceiling.

    Later, her same acquaintance would be afraid to return home after what happened to her. Abdulrahman says she helped arrange for the young women to get surgery that would restore her “virginity” -- a not-uncommon practice or desire for women raped in Syria, from what I’ve learned. In Amman in May, I spoke to a surgeon who had tried to refer a young woman to a gynecologist for similar treatment at her request. (The survivor was too frightened to follow through, the surgeon said.)

    Back in the windowless, bare cell with about 20 other women, no one spoke much, Abdulrahman says. They hardly slept. The women “were emotionless,” she says.

    Abdulrahman says she knew that at least seven of the other women in her cell were tortured, but doesn’t know about the rest. The women were forcibly folded into tires and beaten, she says. Sometimes they would have salt rubbed into their wounds to maximize the pain, a relatively frequent description of torture in Syria’s war. When asked if she remembers any particular names of the guards in the Harasta center, she says the name “Basel” is one she recalls, and possibly “Mazen.” According to another source, Basel carried out many rapes at the Harasta center. Another name Abdulrahman remembers is Mohamed Rahmoon.

    Rahmoon was known to be head of the detention center, according to various Syrian activists I spoke to. Multiple websites have reported that he was kidnapped in April 2012 and found dead in a hospital in July. Abdulrahman has a clear memory of speaking to him the day she was released.

    “He reprimanded me,” she says, “for being a part of the revolution.” And with a warning not to repeat what had happened to her, she was released. Whether a bribe was paid this time around, she isn’t sure.

    Unlike a man I met recently in Jordan who was held at what appears to be this same Harasta detention center, Abdulrahman was detained clothed. She had on a shirt, jacket, and pants. Mazen, 47, the Syrian refugee I met in Amman in May, said he was held nearly naked in a freezing, underground cell. His detention was in February, he told me, and involved 16 days of being strung by his hands from the ceiling with only his toes touching the floor. He said the 50 men in his cell slept in shifts so a few could sit to sleep at a time. When I met him, he was unable to use his right hand because of the torture. He was willing, however to stand against a wall and demonstrate how he was suspended over a mixture of water and diesel fuel that would make him slip around on his toes.

    “I could do this forever,” he joked.

    But Abdulrahman isn’t at the point of making jokes yet. What would happen to her after her release would only involve more pain -- it would be just a couple months before her neck bones were broken. First would come a second month-long detention in a government cell in Fir’ Al-Khatib in Damascus in October 2012. The torture continued during this second detention, she says, but not the rape.

    The day she nearly died a couple months later, a man -- a friend -- in the FSA using the pseudonym Abu Bakr was shot for having organized an attack at a regime checkpoint. As she was poised over his wounded body, Abdulrahman says, he gave her his prayer beads. It was then that a soldier struck her in the neck with his rifle. She was six or seven months pregnant with her fifth child at the time. (The child would be delivered at nine months in a Syrian hospital via a C-section.)

    A series of stays in various hospitals in Syria then Jordan would follow, leading to her eventual rest for now in this particular hospital in Amman, where she recently received the news that her husband, disgusted by her rape and FSA work, was marrying a new wife. Her children, she says, remain with him.

    Alma Abdulrahman’s story fits her name -- alma can mean a number of things in Arabic. It can mean “dark” or “black” but it can also refer to a lush kind of tree that is a metaphor for beauty. And the horrors she describes have positioned her to become the face of powerful women survivors in Syria. She says she has fought and killed; she also says she has done it for her country. She says she has endured torture and violation but that she is “capable of standing up against oppression.” Speaking out has been a decision she has made after many months of being told to stay quiet.

    “We have to share this with the entire world to show that women are fighters,” she says. “The Arab woman is very strong. All she needs is just a little freedom.”


    http://www.womenundersiegeproject.or...-rape-in-Syria



    Arab Rulers


    Women against oppression - Liberation through Islam - June 24, 2013

    Subhanallah such a shocking account of what our sisters in Syria are having to go through. This brave sister has showed so much courage and humility. May Allah say reward her for the pain struggle she has had to undergo.

    But what struck me in this article is the response from the Jordanian government, where it says; 'a man from the Jordanian government visited her hospital to let the administration know that he was displeased they were treating a “terrorist.” All interviews, including my plans to speak with her, were canceled'.

    Astagfirullah, rather than helping our brothers and sisters and defending their honour by sending in troops to help the FSA fight the Assad regime (as the Jordanian army is considered to be amongst the most professional armies in the region, and is seen as particularly well-trained and organized). It condemns our poor sister, tries to silence her and accuses her of being a terrorist! Time and time again these Arab leaders prove to us that they will only act when their colonial masters tell them to, not that it will ever be for the benefit of the muslims in Syria.

    We yearn for the time that once again we will have leaders and armies the likes of Tariq bin Ziyad, whose only purpose was to defend the honour of the Muslims and carry the message of Islam to the rest of mankind. Inshallah that time is near Ameen.


    https://www.facebook.com/WomenAgains...ocation=stream


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  13. #33
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    Syria has a massive rape crisis

    By Lauren Wolfe/Director — April 3, 2013

    One day in the fall of 2012, Syrian government troops brought a young Free Syrian Army soldier’s fiancée, sisters, mother, and female neighbors to the Syrian prison in which he was being held. One by one, he said, they were raped in front of him.

    The 18-year-old had been an FSA soldier for less than a month when he was picked up. Crying uncontrollably as he recounted his torture while in detention to a psychiatrist named Yassar Kanawati, he said he suffers from a spinal injury inflicted by his captors. The other men detained with him were all raped, he told the doctor. When Kanawati asked if he, too, was raped, he went silent.

    Although most coverage of the Syrian civil war tends to focus on the fighting between the two sides, this war, like most, has a more insidious dimension: rape has been reportedly used widely as a tool of control, intimidation, and humiliation throughout the conflict. And its effects, while not always fatal, are creating a nation of traumatized survivors -- everyone from the direct victims of the attacks to their children, who may have witnessed or been otherwise affected by what has been perpetrated on their relatives.

    In September 2012, I was at the United Nations when Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide shook up a fluorescent-lit room of bored-looking bureaucrats by saying that what happened during the Bosnian war is “repeating itself right now in Syria.” He was referring to the rape of tens of thousands of women in that country in the 1990s.

    “With every war and major conflict, as an international community we say ‘never again’ to mass rape,” said Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, who is co-chair of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. [Full disclosure: I’m on the advisory committee of the campaign.] “Yet, in Syria, as countless women are again finding the war waged on their bodies—we are again standing by and wringing our hands.

    We said after the Holocaust we’d never forget; we said it after Darfur. We probably said it after the mass rapes of Bosnia and Rwanda, but maybe that was more of a “we shouldn’t forget,” since there was so much global guilt that we just sort of sat back and let similar tragedies occur since and only came to the realization later -- we forgot.

    Could we have forgotten that the unfolding human catastrophe in Syria exists before it’s even over?

    ***

    Using a crowd-sourced map for the last year, our team at the Women’s Media Center’s Women Under Siege project, together with Columbia University epidemiologists, the Syrian-American Medical Society, and Syrian activists and journalists, has documented and collected data to figure out where and how women and men are being violated in Syria’s war. And, perhaps most important, by whom.

    We’ve broken down the 162 stories we’ve gathered from the onset of the conflict in March 2011 through March 2013 into 226 separate pieces of data. All our reports are currently marked “unverified” (even those that come from well-known sources like Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and news outlet such as the BBC) because we have not yet been able to independently confirm them. Eighty percent of our reports include female victims, with ages ranging from 7 to 46. Of those women, 85 percent reported rape; 10 percent include sexual assault without penetration; and 10 percent include detention that appears to have been for the purposes of sexualized violence or enslavement for a period of longer than 24 hours. (We generally use this category when we hear soldiers describe being ordered to detain women to rape them; we’re not guessing at intent.) Gang rape allegedly occurred in 40 percent of the reports about women.



    In mid-March, I was in Michigan, surrounded by Syrians who live here but are helping out their fellow citizens in refugee camps and health centers. Kanawati, the psychologist, told me that day that she had visited with a refugee family in Jordan and listened to one of three sisters describe how a group of Syrian army soldiers had come to their house in Homs, tied up their father and brother, and raped the three women in front of them. The woman cried as she went on to describe how after raping them the soldiers opened their legs and burned their vaginas with cigarettes. They allegedly told the women during this: “You want freedom? This is your freedom.”
    The psychiatrist asked one of the three sisters, who was holding a baby, “Is that baby from the rape?” The woman changed the subject.

    All the women are having nightmares, Kanawati said; all have PTSD. Now, she said, the two sisters are employed in Amman, but the mother, who does not work, is “consumed by the baby.” The brother will not speak.
    This family is quietly living with trauma that reaches across generations.

    Men are more than just witnesses to sexualized violence in Syria; they are experiencing it directly as well. Forty-three of the reports on our map – about 20 percent -- involve attacks against men and boys, all of whom are between the ages of 11 and 56. Nearly half of the reports about men involve rape, while a quarter detail sexualized violence without penetration, such as shocks to the genitals. Sixteen percent of the men who have been raped in our reports were allegedly violated by multiple attackers.

    Government perpetrators have allegedly committed the majority of the attacks we’ve been able to track: 60 percent of the attacks against men and women are reportedly by government forces, with another 17 percent carried out by government and shabiha (plainclothes militia) forces together. When it comes to the rape of women, government forces have allegedly carried out 54 percent these attacks; shabiha have allegedly perpetrated 20 percent; government and shabiha working together 6 percent.



    Overall, the FSA has allegedly carried out less than 1 percent of the sexualized attacks in our total reports. About 15 percent of the attacks have unknown or other perpetrators.

    When it comes to men, more than 90 percent of the reports of sexualized violence have been allegedly perpetrated by government forces, which can perhaps be explained by the fact that most of these attacks occurred in detention facilities. Long used as a weapon against prisoners in Syria as in much of the world, rape appears to be utilized during this conflict in horrifyingly soul-crushing, creative ways. Beyond simply raping detainees, shabiha members or Syrian army soldiers have reportedly carried out the rapes of family members or other women front of prisoners.

    Atrocities are inevitably muted when victims die, and perpetrators worldwide know this. Part of the reason we’ve chosen to live-track sexualized violence in Syria is because so much evidence is lost in war. Consider that 18 percent of the women in our reports were allegedly witnessed killed or found dead after sexualized violence. Look at this report from Beirut-based news site Ya Libnan, which describes a confession from a defected Syrian Army soldier who said he was ordered “to rape teenage girls in Homs at the end of last year.”

    “The girls would generally be shot when everyone had finished,” the soldier said. “They wanted it to be known in the neighborhoods that the girls had been raped, but they didn’t want the girls to survive and be able to identify them later.”

    Because there is a deleterious and under-documented personal aftermath of sexualized violence, we are also tracking its mental and physical health fallout. Ten percent of the women in our reports appear to suffer from anxiety, depression, or other psychological trauma, and that’s clearly a low estimate considering the acts described. Three percent of the women have reportedly become pregnant from rape, and 2 percent suffer from a chronic physical disease as a result of the violence.
    ***
    When I asked Kanawati how many women she’s spoken to and treated who have survived rape, she said it’s impossible to know. She has interviewed dozens of refugees who may have been raped or otherwise sexually tortured, mostly in Homs. Originally from Damascus, she is currently the medical director of Family Intervention Specialists in the Atlanta area and has been working with Syrian refugees in Amman with the support of the Syrian-American Medical Society.

    “Syrian families are very conservative and I always tell them: ‘Rape is a way to break the family. The easiest way,’” Kanawati said. “I tell them, ‘Don’t let this break you—this is what they’re trying to do.’ When I tell that to the women, however, they say, ‘Tell that to our husbands.’”

    She described how women have repeatedly told her that their neighbors were raped, usually by more than one man, and how each time the extraordinary detail the women give and the trauma they exhibit tells her that the story isn’t actually about a “neighbor,” but the woman herself. More than that, the storytellers usually go on to describe how the “neighbor’s” husband then left this woman.

    Sex outside of marriage, let alone the violation of a woman in an act of rape, said Kanawati, is “completely taboo.”


    A 4-year-old girl from Homs drew this for a psychiatrist in Amman. The girl had witnessed her uncle killed by a tank, and kept repeating "Uncle, tank, blood," according to the psychiatrist. The girl's mother says their neighbor was raped by Syrian soldiers the same day. (Yassar Kanawati)

    Erin Gallagher, a former investigator of sexual and gender-based violence for the UN's Commission of Inquiry on Syria (and before that on Libya), spent months speaking with Syrian women and men in camps in Jordan and Turkey. She said it’s very difficult to get an accurate idea at this point of the scope of sexualized crimes in Syria and that “there are more victims out there than what we are finding.” Getting a true idea of the scope, she said, “is going to take time, trust building, and a broader, holistic approach.”

    Kanawati said her sister, an ob-gyn who lives in Damascus, has carefully told her (for fear of eavesdropping), “You would not believe how much rape there is.” Her sister has treated women who say they have been raped by soldiers or shabiha militia members in the rural areas around the city.

    Gallagher explained why so few victims of sexualized violence in Syria are coming forward publicly.

    “The reality is that they have much to lose and little to gain by doing so at this point in time, for many reasons,” she said. “It takes a lot of courage and strength for a victim to speak up and they may be on their own with little support as they do it. In addition to the shame and isolation a victim may feel, they now are in an insecure environment due to the war. They may now be living in a large refugee camp with no privacy, surrounded by people they don’t know or trust.”

    With no clear future for Syria in sight, refugees are understandably cautious about who they speak to and trust with sensitive and personal information. “If they tell someone, to whom and where does that information go?” Gallagher said. It may be hard to put their trust in a stranger when, time and again, there has been little justice for victims of wartime rape.

    Add to all that the physical, psychological, and emotional trauma that victims are suffering from the war and displacement, and “it’s not surprising that victims are reluctant to come forward,” she said.

    Hearing this I can't help but think of the preface to Night, in which Elie Wiesel writes: “For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and the living… .To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive.”
    ***
    “The security forces and the shabiha took whole families outside after destroying their homes,” a woman named Amal told the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat in June 2012. “They stripped my girls from their clothes, raped them then killed them with knives. They were shouting: ‘You want freedom? This is the best brand of freedom.’”

    It’s nearly word-for-word the sentences spoken in the story above about the women raped and then burned with cigarettes.

    Coincidence? Maybe. But repeated phrasing is exactly the kind of thing that helps build international cases for human rights violations. Language can indicate whether mass rape has been coordinated and systematic. Recently, a U.S.-based group called AIDS-Free World successfully petitioned to have South Africa investigate mass rape allegedly carried out by the ruling ZANU-PF party in Zimbabwe against opposition supporters in 2008. Part of their case was built on the fact that they heard that similar phrases were being uttered during rapes across the country—women were called “traitors to Zimbabwe” or told they were being “sent a message,” according to Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World.

    Gallagher, who also investigated rape in Libya, said she’s heard about such phrases being used during rape in both countries.

    “I don't think it necessarily means it was an order,” she said of Libya, “but certainly a common belief among the soldiers. They knew they had free reign. I can't conclude if [Bashar al-] Assad and his command ordered it or have just given his men free reign. What is clear is that he and his commanders are doing nothing to stop their soldiers from committing such crimes.”

    For a year, I’ve sat in circles of high-level advisors from the International Criminal Court and elsewhere debating what might tip Russia’s hand and prevent it from vetoing a vote to send Syria’s human rights crimes to the court. But now with the success of AIDS-Free World’s use of a concept called universal jurisdiction, which crosses borders to try crimes that are so heinous that they call for a sense of greater justice, perhaps it is time to consider alternatives to the ICC. Jody Williams, known for rousing the slumbering world when it came to banning landmines, has some ideas.

    “We don’t need more research or more proof, we need a plan,” said Williams. “And the plan should be to ensure that there is coordinated international action to ensure survivors get help, justice is served against those perpetrating the sexualized violence, and we are all working together to prevent further rape. This will take men, women, communities, national governments, and the international community—everyone.”
    Personally, I’m hoping this is the last report I’ll have to write parsing data from a map that shouldn’t have to exist in the first place. Somehow, though, I don’t think that will be the case.


    This article also appeared in The Atlantic.

    http://www.womenundersiegeproject.or...ve-rape-crisis
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    The Jordan Government's Attack on the Honour of our Sisters in Syria

    April 8, 2013

    On the 31st of March 2013, statements were made by a female member of the Jordanian Parliament attacking the honour and dignity of the noble Syrian Muslim women residing in the notorious refugee camp at Jordan's Zaatari border with Syria. The video recordings of the full speech are available online, however specific details of the MP's abusive language and derogatory references that amounted to unfettered backbiting and slander leaves no room for doubt or justification. In following high Islamic morals, we do not take part with the Jordanian Parliament members in spreading corruption and deviant devious values or slander.

    Suffice to say that the MP's comments sweepingly labelled all Syrian women and young girls with the character of low morals, devoid of Islamic conduct and directly accused them of selling themselves for financial gain. In truth, these intolerable foul comments reflects the low moral status of the Jordanian government and its members of parliament. Is it not enough that such an attack on the helpless and voiceless sisters who are fleeing from a scale of persecution that is unprecedented in recent history! The honourable women of Al-Sham have lost everything in the physical attack by their own leader for standing courageously against his tyranny, only then to face a war of words from another equally ruthless regime in Jordan. It is clear therefore that the shamelessness and lack of regard for good conduct is not the characteristic of our dear Syrian sisters, but those who slander, attack and demean these vulnerable women. How dare they utter a single word of insult against these honourable, dignified women who have demonstrated their true quality as righteous, fearless, and devoted servants of Allah as opposed to the cowardly, treacherous and shameful behaviour of those Muslim rulers and regimes who have abandoned them to their oppressors!!!

    We condemn such repulsive, degrading insults against our dear Syrian sisters and recognise that these tactics are but political tools used to distract the world from the Jordanian government's own REAL CRIMES of denying the Syrian Ummah the protection that is their right, Allah says,

    "and if they seek aid from you in the matter of religion, aid is incumbent on you" [Quran 8:72]

    They collude with the international community in aiding the Assad regime through its silent consent and inaction that allows the violation, murder and terror of their neighbouring Muslims.

    The Jordanian government's crimes against our people in Syria, are greater than the words spoken from the rogue in Parliament as it traps over 100,000 Syrians, mostly women and children in a sham refugee camp that is underequipped and offers no physical security as it allows criminals to enter at will to kidnap and physically violate women and girls freely. Reports from the women living in the camps reveal that they fear using the public toilets and even stay awake all night in order to guard their honour. In light of these facts, the shear audacity that the Jordanian MP's have to label our respected Muslim sisters of Syria as immoral in their Islamic conduct is utterly sickening! By Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, the women of Hizb ut Tahrir redirect the finger of blame and point it directly at the Jordanian government itself and all of the Muslim leaders of the world as they have rejected the Command of Allah when He ordered that the life and honour of the believer should be protected and made it forbidden to slander and insult the chaste Muslim women.

    "Verily, those who accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers - are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter, and for them will be a great torment"
    [Quran 24:23]


    http://www.khilafah.com/index.php/th...syrian-sisters


    Syrian refugee Muslimat abused through sham marriages and rape




  15. #35
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    Syria: Muslims versus Kuffar Rule

    Syria became the French mandate after being separated from the Ottoman Empire in 1918- the loss of the Islamic State and the colonisation of French rule meant the loss of honour and dignity for women of Syria.

    Whilst under the French Rule, during World War 1, the government imposed poverty on the Syrians thus causing women to turn to prostitution. In 1920, the French came to Syria and again professionalized the trade, after the destruction of WWI. Brothels and the prostitutes were registered under government records and protected by armed guard. By 1922, there were 271 prostitutes officially registered. Despite the fact that the government considered this trade legal, the Syrian society held it to be morally and socially wrong. The majority of men who frequented these establishments were Frenchmen and foreigners.

    ---

    Women who lived under the Islamic state were guaranteed protection, and we can see this through many examples where the previous Caliphs sent armies to protect a single woman, this was as a result of the principles the Islamic system propagated which shaped the society to guarantee protection of women in society. We can see shortly after the destruction of such a system where it left women of Syria.

    ---

    Tariq bin Ziyad on 29 th April 711 was sent to Spain solely for the purpose of defending the honour of women in Gothic Spain. History tells us that a large number of refugees both Christian and Jewish, who had suffered under the Gothic rule had taken refuge in Muslim Africa. One of them was Julian, the Governor of Ceuta, whose daughter; Florinda, had been dishonoured by Roderick, the Gothic King of Spain. They appealed to Caliph Musa to liberate their country from the tyrant’s yoke . He responded by sending Tariq bin Ziyad who led 12,000 soldiers to liberate Spain. He famously burnt his ships upon reaching a hill which later took the name of ‘Jabl-ul-Tariq’ (The Rock of Tariq) now called Gibraltar, and urged his soldiers to either conquer or perish. They had no intention of going back! Subhanallah, Look at how the Muslim leaders under the caliphate valued the honour of the woman regardless of whether she was Muslim or not! Truly amazing!

    ---

    The Muslims were protected from the Non-Muslims under the Islamic Caliphate until the 1920s, when the Arabs betrayed the Muslims and the Caliphate (khilafah) by joining the British (Lawrence of Arabia) to fight against the Caliphate (Ottomans). The Arabs have been humiliated since then and everyone can see how their non-Muslim allies rewarded them (e.g. puppet regimes, tyrants, prostitution, division, Israel). Now not only the Arabs who betrayed the Muslims are paying the price but also their descendents.

  16. #36
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    Our Obligation towards Syria & its Muslims

    Shaykh, Mufti AbdulAzeez Aal ash-Shaykh


    By Allaah O my brothers, the situation is dangerous and bad. It is only upon us to supplicate to Allaah, seek refuge with Him (may He be Glorified) and to return to Him before everything else.

    After this, [the obligation is to] try our utmost to deliver assistance to them if possible.

    Similarly, it is upon the Islamic countries to support their brothers in Syria and be vigilant to this imminent danger wherein much blood has been spilt and honour has been violated.

    A similar crime to the one committed in Syria has not been known throughout contemporary and present history, only Allaah knows [the true extent] of the difficulty, cruelty, hardship and the wasting of human dignity. In reality it is a major trial and calamity.

    We ask Allaah to remove this sorrow & worry, and to not punish us. Those [oppressors] have corrupted and oppressed – but Allaah is watching [over them].

    The Messenger of Allaah (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

    ((Indeed Allaah gives respite to the Oppressor until He finally takes him and then He does not allow him to flee).[1]

    He then recited:

    {Such is the Seizure of your Lord when He seizes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His Seizure is painful, and severe.}
    [11:102]

    Allaah (the Exalted) said in the Hadeeth al-Qudsi:

    ((O My slaves, Indeed I have made oppression prohibited upon Myself and I have made it prohibited between yourselves, so do not oppress each other.))[2]

    No doubt that this oppression & crime has an end to it.


    Question:


    Is donating wealth to the Free Army of Syria[3] legislated, and is it considered a type of Jihaad in the way of Allaah?

    Answer:

    If one knows that the wealth will truly reach them (i.e. the Free Army of Syria) in a trustworthy manner, then no doubt this is - inshaaAllah – from Jihaad in the way of Allaah; this is because whatever strengthens the capability of them (i.e. the Free Army of Syria) and weakens the capability of the others (the current Syrian regime) then this is a religious requirement.



    source: An interview with Shaykh AbdulAzeez Aal ash-Shaykh, carried out by Al-Anbaa newspaper, 11/04/2012.
    http://www.alanba.com.kw/AbsoluteNMN...&zoneid=12&m=0

    http://www.madeenah.com/article.cfm?id=1397


    Footnotes:


    [1] Narrated by Abu Moosa al-Ash’aree; Collected by Bukhaaree & Muslim
    [2] Narrated by Abu Dharr al-Ghaffaari; Collected by Muslim
    [3] The Free Army of Syria (FSA) is an army consisting of generals, soldiers and commanders who have defected from the official Syrian Army. Led by General Riyaadh al-As’ad, the exact numbers of the army are unknown, and their objectives are mainly humanitarian, social and political; removing the oppression of the current regime and returning the country back to safety and security.

    May Allaah guide them to ruling by His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam).

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    Christian Missionaries taking advantage of Syrian Women!




    This is a common tactic of the missionaries, they always go to troubled regions to take advantage of the victims. If they believed their religion was truthful then they wouldn't resort to these low tactics to lure people into Christianity.

    These missionaries take full advantage of the fact that these women are destitute and longing for comfort, and when a person is emotionally traumatized, they are more open to any invitation that uses "love" to pull them. They say their religion teaches love yet they show that love as conditional of converting to Christianity; they can't show it without trying to convert people.

    I hope that our Syrian sisters realize that these people are inviting them from One God to three gods; from the the modesty of Allah's Deen to the nudity that goes with theirs; from the Gardens as promised by Allah to the Fire of Hell. This is how when Muslims are ignorant of their own religion that they can be mislead into false beliefs, so learn your religion Muslims or be at the risk of being tricked and end up in hell.




  19. #39
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    1,300 killed in gas attack near Damascus — opposition

    
    • Rebel group gives even higher death toll
    • Syrian authorities dismiss report as untrue
    • Assad ally Russia says looks like 'provocation'
    • Western powers call for UN investigators to visit scene




    BEIRUT/AMMAN: Syria’s opposition accused President Bashar Assad’s forces of gassing many hundreds of people — by one report as many as 1,300 — on Wednesday in what would, if confirmed, be the world’s worst chemical weapons attack in decades.

    Western and regional countries called for UN chemical weapons investigators — who arrived in Damascus just three days ago — to be urgently dispatched to the scene of one of the deadliest incidents of the two-year-old civil war.

    Russia, too, urged a fair and professional investigation but Assad’s biggest foreign ally also heaped skepticism on his enemies’ claims. A foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said the release of gas after UN inspectors arrived suggested strongly that it was a “provocation” to discredit Syria’s government.

    Images, including some by freelance photographers supplied to Reuters, showed scores of bodies including of small children, laid on the floor of a clinic with no visible signs of injuries.

    Reuters was not able to verify the cause of their deaths. The Syrian government denied that it had used chemical arms.

    The Russian spokesman said: “This cannot but suggest that once again we are dealing with a pre-planned provocation. This is supported by the fact that the criminal act was committed near Damascus at the very moment when a mission of UN experts had successfully started their work of investigating allegations of the possible use of chemical weapons there.”

    George Sabra, one of the leading opponents of Assad, said the death toll was 1,300 killed by poison gas released over suburbs east of Damascus.

    “Today’s crimes are ... not the first time the regime has used chemical weapons. But they constitute a turning point in the regime’s operations,” he told a news conference in Istanbul. “This time it was for annihilation rather than terror.”

    An opposition monitoring group, citing figures compiled from medical clinics in the Damascus suburbs, put the death toll at 494 — 90 percent of them killed by gas, the rest by bombing and conventional arms. The rebel Syrian National Coalition said 650 people had been killed.

    If the cause of death and the scale of the killing were confirmed, it would be the worst known use of chemical weapons since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds in the town of Halabja in 1988.


    Activists said rockets with chemical agents hit the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar during fierce pre-dawn bombardment by government forces.

    The Damascus Media Office monitoring center said 150 bodies were counted in Hammouriya, 100 in Kfar Batna, 67 in Saqba, 61 in Douma, 76 in Mouadamiya and 40 in Irbib.

    Residents of the capital said mortars later hit government-held areas in Faris Khoury Street and the Malki district, where Assad has a residence. There were no reports of injuries.

    Heavy air strikes continued throughout the day against the rebel suburbs of Mouadamiya and Jobar.

    SYMPTOMS

    A nurse at Douma Emergency Collection facility, Bayan Baker, earlier told Reuters the death toll collated from medical centers was at least 213.

    “Many of the casualties are women and children. They arrived with their pupils constricted, cold limbs and foam in their mouths. The doctors say these are typical symptoms of nerve gas victims,” the nurse said. Exposure to sarin gas causes pupils in the eyes to shrink to pinpoint sizes and foaming at the lips.

    The UN team is in Syria investigating allegations that both rebels and army forces used chemical weapons in the past, one of the main disputes in international diplomacy over Syria.

    The Swedish scientist leading the team, Ake Sellstrom, said the reports should be looked into, but doing so would require a request from a UN member state.

    France and Sweden said the mission must be sent to the site to investigate without delay. “They need to immediately get access to this site — it’s 15-20 minutes from where they are currently,” Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said.


    Turkey and Saudi Arabia made similar calls. Britain said it was deeply concerned and would raise the issue at the UN Security Council, adding the attacks would be “a shocking escalation” if confirmed.

    Extensive amateur video and photographs appeared on the Internet showing countless bodies, with victims choking, some of them foaming at the mouth, and no sign of outward injury.

    A video purportedly shot in the Kafr Batna neighborhood showed a room filled with more than 90 bodies, many of them children and a few women and elderly men. Most of the bodies appeared ashen or pale but with no visible injuries. About a dozen were wrapped in blankets.

    Other footage showed doctors treating people in makeshift clinics. One video showed the bodies of a dozen people lying on the floor of a clinic, with no visible wounds. The narrator in the video said they were all members of a single family. In a corridor outside lay another five bodies.

    A Syrian military officer appeared on state television and said the allegations were untrue and a sign of “hysteria and floundering” by Assad’s opponents. Information Minister Omran Zoabi said the allegations were “illogical and fabricated.”

    The head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition said Assad’s forces had carried out a massacre: “This is a chance for the (UN inspectors) to see with their own eyes this massacre and know that this regime is a criminal one,” Ahmed Jarba said.

    ACCUSATIONS

    Syria is one of just a handful of countries that are not parties to the international treaty that bans chemical weapons, and Western nations believe it has caches of undeclared mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve agents.

    Assad’s officials have said they would never use poison gas — if they had it — against Syrians. The United States and European allies believe Assad’s forces used small amounts of sarin gas in attacks in the past, which Washington called a “red line” that justified international military aid for the rebels.

    Assad’s government has responded in the past by accusing the rebels of using chemical weapons, which they deny. Western countries say they do not believe the rebels have access to poison gas. Assad’s main global ally Moscow says accusations on both sides must be investigated.

    Khaled Omar of the opposition Local Council in Ain Tarma said he saw at least 80 bodies at the Hajah Hospital in Ain Tarma and at a makeshift clinic at Tatbiqiya School in the nearby district of Saqba.

    “The attack took place at around 3:00 a.m. (0000 GMT). Most of those killed were in their homes,” Omar said.

    An activist working with Ahrar Al-Sham rebel unit in the Erbin district east of the capital who used the name Abu Nidal said many of those who died were rescuers who were overcome with poison when they arrived at the scene.

    “We believe there was a group of initial responders who died or were wounded, because when we went in later, we saw men collapsed on staircases or inside doorways and it looks like they were trying to go in to help the wounded and then were hurt themselves,” he told Reuters by Skype.

    “At first none of us knew there were chemical agents because it seemed like just another night of air strikes, and no one was anticipating chemical weapons use, especially with UN monitors in town.”



    http://www.arabnews.com/news/461988


    ------------

    Horrifying Images In Syria After Worst Chemical Weapons Attack In Decades:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/repor...#ixzz2cfDqx1IB

  20. #40
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    Deleted Daily Mail Online Article: “US Backed Plan for Chemical Weapon Attack in Syria to Be Blamed on Assad”


    In January 29, 2013, Britain’s most popular Daily Newspaper, in its online version Dailymail.co.uk published an article titled:

    U.S. ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad’s regime’

    A few days later they pulled the article.

    What the reason was for the deletion remains unclear. The article was published at this URL:

    dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2270219/U-S-planned-launch-chemical-weapon-attack-Syria-blame-Assad.html

    There exists a cached version of the article which can be found here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/201301292...ame-Assad.html

    See scan of complete deleted article below:

    One day later, on January 30, a moderated news board thread was created, which is still online, at Mail Online about that article. Thread: Syrian WMD False Flag – Are False Flags a way of life now?

    In their initial article Mail Online refers to an Infowars.com article (dated January 28, 2013), that’s where they probably found the information on the leaked e-mail and other documents.

    CapitalBay (who published the wrong areal pictures of the school in Sandy Hook), Mail Online, Infowars, Yahoo News India, News Track India, Whale.to, Philippine Times, Uganda News, LiveLeak, Truth Media TV and others all claim in their mirrored articles that the alleged e-mail from Britam’s David Goulding to Philip Doughty was dated December 25, 2012.
    However, at Neftegaz.ru (translated with Google) there also exists another version of the alleged e-mail. There the e-mail is dated December 24, 2012.

    Whether the content of the alleged e-mail is correct, that’s open for debate. Fact is that PressTV has an article online which supports the claims in the alleged e-mail. And RT‘s article from last year (June 10, 2012) still claims that “Syrian rebels aim to use chemical weapons,” to then blame Assad for it. Those weapons came from Libya, according to RT. This begs the question: Did Christopher Stevens know about those weapons when he died in the CIA villa in Benghazi last year?

    But why was the article pulled by Mail Online?

    Why do there exist at least 2 versions of the same alleged e-mail?

    And what about Britam admitting that they were hacked, according to Ruvr.co.uk (The Voice of Russia)?

    But there’s also this, according to Mail Online it was a Malaysian hacker who got to the alleged e-mail(s), while Infowars claims that the e-mail was “obtained by a hacker in Germany.”

    Either way, whoever initiated the Britam e-mail escapade did a good job at fooling both mainstream and alternative news outlets because it’s a real mess and few know what really happened and why.

    Yet it’s ironic that Mail Online did not delete their other article where they wrote about the UN’s Carla Del Ponte who claims that Syrian rebels are responsible for “sarin gas attacks, which had been blamed on Assad’s troops.” The same rebels who now receive resources from the EU and the U.S., since the EU is buying oil from those “rebels” and the US is arming them for a proxy war as the Washington Post describes it.

    Earlier it was reported that Israel had granted oil exploration rights inside Syria, in the occupied Golan Heights, to Genie Energy who’s shareholders include Rupert Murdoch and Lord Jacob Rothschild.

    See http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archiv...nd-rothschild/





 

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