Interviews with 18 families of the victims about their last known whereabouts further support the conclusion that the executions likely took place in the government-held area, Human Rights Watch said. Of the 18 cases investigated, 17 families told Human Rights Watch that their relatives had last been seen in a government-controlled area or after they set out to cross into the area through two checkpoints, one manned by opposition forces and the other by government forces.
“Mohammed,” 26, a shop owner in the opposition-controlled area, disappeared on March 5. A relative who spoke to Human Rights Watch said that government forces had briefly detained and beaten Mohammed at the main government checkpoint 10 days earlier. Even though the government soldiers had warned him to not use the checkpoint again, he decided to accompany his mother-in-law through the checkpoint to the government-controlled area so that she could take a bus to her home in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood. Mohammed never returned after he left his mother-in-law at the bus station.
On January 7, “Ahmed,” a 27-year-old merchant, and his nephew crossed the dividing line, as they had done before, to buy goods in the government-controlled area for their shop. After they arrived in the government-controlled area, Ahmed and his nephew separated. Ahmed did not return, and his body was found in the river on January 29.
In a similar case, “Mahmoud,” 30, disappeared on March 9 when he left his home in the opposition-controlled area for a market in the government-controlled area where he was planning to buy supplies for his business. His father, who does not know whether he reached his destination, became worried when he didn’t come back as usual around 2 p.m.
A retired forensic expert working with the opposition told Human Rights Watch that he had examined more than 120 of the bodies and that the vast majority of the victims had been killed by gunshot wounds to their head, which in some cases had significantly disfigured the victims’ faces, making identification difficult. The expert said that the significant damage caused by the gunshots indicated that the victims had been shot at close range.
Nearly all the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs with wire or tape, or marks on their wrists indicating that their wrists had been tied, he said. In some cases, the victims’ feet were tied together as well. Most victims’ mouths were sealed with tape. Some bore small burn marks that could have stemmed from an electric shock or cigarette, he said.
A Human Rights Watch examination of more than 350 photographs of the bodies supported the forensic expert’s findings. Many of the photographs show victims with their hands tied behind their back, gunshot wounds to their head, and tape across their mouth.
The dates for which the photos and videos show the highest number of victims were January 29 (57 bodies), January 30 (27), March 10 (21) and March 11 (10).
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/06/2013655429874831.html 3 weeks for the full might of the Syrian military and 5000 of Hizb Allah's hardest fighters to take a town of twenty thousand. And that's with unstoppable air strikes too. The town falls on the crossroads of many key roads and near the border with Lebanon. This is a major regime victory and Hizb Allah is now ready to get involved in more battles which will drag Lebanon into more of the Syrian mess.
"Syrian regime forces carried out an air raid on the northeastern town of Arsal on Wednesday, with a report saying that helicopters targeted a house owned by a man from al-Hujairi family.
The attack drew the condemnation of President Michel Suleiman, who urged Syria to “respect Lebanon's sovereignty and not to endanger its citizens."
Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said that two rockets targeted the house but only one exploded. The raid did not cause casualties.
The state-run National News Agency said three other rockets landed in the town's outskirts, causing material damage only."
Thank you Assad for not being satisfied with bombing your own cities from the air and starting to bomb other countries. I'm sure his defenders will still defend him though. And still no UN or NATO no fly zone over Syria.
XBL Gamertag: ckmlb, PSN ID: ckmlb