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I saw massacre of children, says defecting Syrian air force officer

A senior Syrian military officer has described how he defected to opposition forces after witnessing hundreds of pro-regime militiamen carry out the now infamous massacre of more than 100 civilians in the town of Houla one week ago.

The account of Major Jihad Raslan comes as the United Nations' special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, yesterday warned of an increasing risk of imminent war in Syria. "The spectre of an all-out war with an alarming sectarian dimension grows by the day," Annan told an Arab League gathering.

His concerns follow warnings delivered on Friday by the United States, Britain and the UN Human Rights Council, which voted overwhelmingly to condemn the Syrian regime for the Houla killings.

The killing of so many civilians, among them 49 children and at least 20 women, continues to galvanise international anger against regime officials and their loyalist militias, which have widely been blamed for what took place.

Raslan served until last Saturday in the Syrian Air Force in the strategically vital port city of Tartous. He had been in Houla on leave when the town was shelled just after 1pm last Friday, then invaded by a civilian militia, known as the Shabiha, in the worst single atrocity of the Syrian uprising.

The officer's account to the Observer of what took place is among the most important of the testimonies to have emerged since the massacre, the aftermath of which appears to be causing fresh turmoil inside Syria 16 months after the first stirrings of revolt inspired by the Arab spring.

Raslan said he was in his house, around 300 metres from the site of the first massacre in the village of Taldous, when several hundred men whom he knew to be Shabiha members rode into town in cars and army trucks and on motorbikes.

"A lot of them were bald and many had beards," he said. "Many wore white sports shoes and army pants. They were shouting: 'Shabiha forever, for your eyes, Assad.' It was very obvious who they were.

"We used to be told that armed groups killed people and the Free Syria Army burned down houses," he said. "They lied to us. Now I saw what they did with my own eyes."

He said the killings in his area were over in around 15 minutes. However, the rampage in other parts of Houla continued until the early hours of Saturday, according to eye-witnesses and survivors.

"Those victims who were slaughtered are people that I knew well," Raslan said. "These children I knew well, personally. I ate with their families. I had social ties with them. The regime cannot lie about these people, who they were and what they did to them. It was a brutal act by the regime against people who were with the revolution," he said.

Raslan said that he served on a missile base in Tartous, removed from the grinding everyday savagery of Syria's uprising. "I knew they had been lying, but I had not been exposed to the effects of it. This was the first time I had seen anything like this."

He said defections had increased sharply in the days following the massacre and he claimed to know of five defectors who were shot dead as they tried to flee through olive groves not far from Houla the day after the killings.

"Many more want to leave," he said, "but they can't. All holidays have been cancelled by the military. It is a very serious risk if anyone tries to flee now. I was only allowed to go on leave because of exceptional family circumstances."

A second defector from Houla, a first lieutenant who was serving in nearby Homs city last weekend, said that Houla had changed the thinking of soldiers and officers like him who did not support the regime crackdown on dissent but had been too afraid to leave.

The lower ranks of the Syrian military are largely made up of Sunni Muslims, who account for around 70% of Syria's population and who now dominate all ranks of the Free Syria Army.

Senior officers in the loyalist military are mostly drawn from the Alawite sect, which uses an uncompromising police state to maintain its iron-clad grip on Syrian society.

"There were no Sunni soldiers around Houla itself [when the massacre took place]," the former officer said. "They are all Alawites there, the officers and the soldiers. "[Houla] is a very sensitive area. Many of the Shabiha in Syria come from here. They won't defect from here."

The officer said he had regularly seen Shabiha groups work alongside regime forces, but said they appeared to take orders from intelligence officers, particularly the Air Force Intelligence Directorate, which has played a frontline role in the regime crackdown. "The military give them weapons and cover, and escort them in tanks," he said. "But they sometimes work independently."

Few cracks have appeared among Assad's core support base, with the upper ranks of the military remaining supportive of the crackdown, which is being portrayed by Damascus as a battle against foreign-backed Sunni jihadists who are trying to overthrow the regime.

"In other places away from Houla, it is not impossible that the Alawites might defect," the officer said. "They are starting to be worried now, starting to fear that Bashar [al-Assad] might leave.

"I want to get my two brothers to leave. It is a very sensitive, dangerous situation for my family. Everyone is at risk. From the beginning we knew that they were lying. Everything was a lie. But my family is the most important thing. We need to protect each other."

Shelling has continued on most days since the massacre and Raslan said Houla residents believed that regime forces were targeting houses where massacres had taken place. "They want to destroy the evidence," he said. "They want to kill the witnesses."




http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/massacre-children-syrian-officer


Added: Jun-4-2012 Occurred On: Jun-4-2012
By: gatyair
In:
World News, Other Middle East, Religion
Tags: Syria, Assad, Houla, Massacre
Location: Houla, Homs Governorate, Syria (load item map)
Views: 6188 | Comments: 77 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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  • BULLSHIT! defectors is just another name for terrorists. They're playing you! they fsa and all those army defectors are nothing but liars. i dont trust any of those fuckers at all, if they lied once then they'll keep on lying. they just want you to feel sorry and start hating assad.

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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  • The FSA has used trickery to the utmost,the UN,NATO,etc are going to remove Assad the dictator and install something even worse,just as with Egypt,Libya,Yeme3n and counting..Israel will be surrounded by salivating wild dogs and if Obama is still holding office they will be screwed. The FSA has even tried to post the vid of the Mexican cartel killing with a chainsaw,trying to make people believe it was Assad's henchmen...Believe me,I hate Assad,but who is fighting his regime is very much WORSE.

    Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user '2012TheEnd' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @2012TheEnd
      Shut it you muslim fanatic! You are a fake! You made this account for islamistic propaganda, that's it.
      Without Assad, Syria would look exactly like Iraq, Libya or Astan by now. And that's what you animals want. No law and order. Backward people.

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user '2012TheEnd' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @2012TheEnd And Al-Qeada is not worse?

      Posted Jun-8-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user '2012TheEnd' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Stay updated 800 armed men, FSA and the rest of the Islamic militants killed the children and women, all because they were Pro-Assad.

    Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user '2012TheEnd' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @2012TheEnd
      Shut it, you tool. The 11yo boy who survived a killing reported from "the bearded men with shaven hair" that killed his family and almost him. Such stye is not tollerated in the army.
      ASn embedded journalist (with UNO) reported of over 700 units from different directions entered Houla and started killing pro Assad families while there was not even one army soldier near town.
      More and more witnesses report who really killed so many innocent and the outrage should be much lo More..

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • @2012TheEnd Assad had no motive, nor control here. It's was FSA/AQ held territory

      You're the one bullshitting here.
      just signed on here to start another avenue for your propaganda. This is LL, not Youtube. We're slighly better informed.

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • @2012TheEnd
      You're the paid troll.
      Why else would you deny something so critical?

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user '2012TheEnd' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • what side is allah on? because they both chant the same shit over and over,allah akbar

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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  • I believe every word of this report. Report fails to say that he is a Kuwaiti princess coached by a US PR group.

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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  • i don't believe anything coming out of syria....
    Also, don't care..

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user '2012TheEnd' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • pro-regime militiamen
    lets see, that would be hizb alla types that Iran pays to stay loyal.

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @Airedale ...Iranian militia may be there too but these are Alawite militia - Syria's President and all of senior military types in Syria are from the Alawite tribe.

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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  • Spaulding = lies and propaganda

    I think there are many credible accounts now of who was killed, why and by whom. And your description aint it
    Adding that picture doesn't make it credible

    Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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  • whats next bob?

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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  • Wow......I don't even know what to think about this anymore....

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @Bthor420
      Its complicated and simple at the same time. As the article says, 70% Sunni and about 25% Alawite in Syria. Sunni protest and dissent has been cracked down on hard to maintain the Alawites' domination of the system, like Saddam would have tried against his Shia populus and the Al Khalifas in Bahrain did against theirs. As a result, the situation has intensified. Sunnis from Iraq and Libya have joined the fight as its taken on new meaning. A low-key civil war is taking place. The Sunnis More..

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @xtr3mh4x0r

      Thanks for breaking it down a bit. It makes a bit more sense now.

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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  • What a lie lol. Defectors are just as paid off as the rebels.

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @pieceseeker ...this rings more true than the unbelievable stories coming from Bashar al Assad.

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @Nepean109 The stories you say he's telling are filtered by western news. I've seen his 45 minute interviews where he kicks ass yet only 3 minutes of copy pasted garbage makes it to western eyes and ears.

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @pieceseeker ...his story still seems more believable than yours or Assad's so ... get a dictionary, "pieceseeker" ... you are embarrassing yourself with every posting.

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @Nepean109
      Ay Fuck you.
      Did you support America bombing Iraq in 2003 all based on lies?
      Why do you support another round of Imperila aggression?
      The fuck is wrong with you?

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • @Nepean109 Did you tell me to get a dictionary?? You fucking tool, I got banned and this is peaceseekers new name you little bitch. The point of media manipulation is for tools like yourself to consider it more believable than the actual truth. Fucking moron...

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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  • amnesty international says Bashar did it.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/swift-un-action-needed-syria-after-houla-assault-2012-05-28

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @kingfordlm Amnesty....lol

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • @kingfordlm
      Why don't you just become a federal employee for the Gov, sitting on the computer posting lies like the rest of the people who make up that great propaganda machine.
      Just so you know, 800 armed men went into that city, with the intention of attacking two security outposts and those civilians killed were pro-Assad who did not want anything to do with the insrugents.

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • @Orwellian_Society

      Prove it or its bullshit. So you believe the crap posted by the Bashar propagandists? That suggests you're stupid, or one of those propagandists. You think Amnesty International is part of some government propaganda machine? That suggests you're terminally stupid as well.

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • @kingfordlm
      Old as bull! Check the news, it's been out already.
      FSA and AQ set this up. The witnesses finally told the truth.
      Bearded men with shaved heads killed pro Assad families, the army wasn't even around! Hahaaa!
      goo.gl/9zyhc (listen to what the boy sais, not the translator)
      goo.gl/N5WTG
      goo.gl/83VwX

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • @DeltaEpsilon Those are all propaganda links, there are no credible sources amongst your bullshit links. Amnesty International is one million times more credible than any of you Bashar fluffers.

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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  • FUCK YOU. You hate infidels, not one will go to "help you" without orders. Made your own bed go lie in it.
    The only way we can help you is if the US brings back a draft. It won't work.

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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  • If the FSA gets control of WMD then the ME will be on fire.

    Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user '2012TheEnd' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @2012TheEnd Troll? .....and....ill ave some of that...girl...please.

      Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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  • yeah, and nurses who later ended up being related to the Kuwaiti ambassador saw Iraqis ripping children from incubators. it's manufactured B.S. to get gullible people ramped up for war. death squads are tried and true techniques of destabilization used by western powers. Al-Queada, The Contras, ARVN, the Mau Maus...

    Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user '2012TheEnd' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • He's a liar.

    Posted Jun-5-2012 By 

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  • stuff like this happens in mexico all the time... big deal

    Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @texaspsycho

      Not many time has Mexico seen a massacre on this level....if at all. There has been mass graves filled with hundreds of bodies, but they were dumped there over time. I don't think Mexico has any massacre this large YET

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @Bthor420 True...But plenty of children killed. Entire towns are wiped out by gunmen. Families are freaquently slaughtered, usually starting at the kids first. Just pisses me off how much this is ignored by the MSM.. But you're right, not at syria's magnitude.. yet

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @texaspsycho

      Ya, Mexico is no fucking joke. The funny thing is the biggest threat to America is Mexico at this point (including the border not being closed off) and it seems to be the least of people's worries. The media and what not keep claiming there isn't any "spillover violence" but that's just bull shit. A perfect example is the burned out SUV with five dead people found by th border in Arizona last week...but I'm sure they will claim that also isn't spillover violence....somet More..

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @Bthor420 its easier for some people to talk about things like abortions and cutting programs than the stuff going on in syria, lybia, and mexico. those people are worse than the ones committing the crimes

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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    • @theonlyepi

      Agreed!!

      Posted Jun-4-2012 By 

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