The Syrian regime has carried out yet another atrocity in its long list of human rights violations with a new Damascus massacre.
Syrian government forces carried out air strikes on a marketplace – or souk – in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Sunday, with the death toll of this Damascus massacre exceeding 90, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The AFP, citing the Syrian Observatory, placed the death toll of the Damascus massacre at 96, with 240 wounded. The Syrian Observatory expects the death toll of the Damascus massacre to rise as a number of the “wounded are in critical condition,” according to an Arabic statement on the Observatory’s official website.
The carnage of yesterday's regime airstrikes in Douma, near Damascus, is shocking even after four years of war http://t.co/jLw0YFInPM
— Mike Giglio (@mike_giglio) August 17, 2015
Other reports suggest that the Damascus massacre’s death toll may have already exceeded 100.
“The Local Coordination Committee, a grassroots network of anti-regime activists, said overnight that at least 105 people had been killed in Douma,” the AFP report stated.
Al Jazeera, citing the civil defense in Douma, also placed the Damascus massacre death toll above 100.
The Syrian regime has been trying to regain the Damascus suburb for over two years by imposing a blockade on Douma and tightening it in recent months.
Sunday’s Damascus massacre seems to be the worst the suburb has suffered through.
UN humanitarian chief in Damascus – condemned attacks on civilians "appalled by reports of deaths in Douma. Attacks on civilians must stop"
— Zeina Khodr (@ZeinakhodrAljaz) August 17, 2015
The Daily Mail published a series of horrifying graphic photos and videos of the Damascus massacre and said that many other photos were “too graphic to show.”
“This is a documented massacre,” Syrian Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told the Daily Mail.
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) August 16, 2015
Numerous videos have been posted on YouTube showing the immediate bloody aftermath of the Damascus massacre. Some of the videos described below may be too graphic for some readers.
In one video, a cameraman is running to the scene of the Damascus massacre saying, “F16s, F16s,” in a probable reference to the type of warplanes that were used in the attack.
“God is great! Massacres!” he cries out as gets closer to where the bombs fell. (While “God is great” is known to be a battle cry among Muslims, it is also said when atrocities or oppression occurs, as a way of saying that God is greater than the oppressor.)
A horrid scene of destruction and large piles of rubble are then shown.
“Sixteenth of August, 2015. A massacre against the children and women of the city of Douma,” a man says as he appears in front of the camera, as he begins to describe the Damascus massacre and its context.
“The city of Douma has been under siege for four years. Its people have been killed by hunger and now those who remain alive are killed in a war of mass extermination as you can see. Tens of martyrs in this city.”
The camera then moves on to show the rest of the Damascus massacre aftermath.
“And the planes are still hovering above the city,” a man behind the camera says.
The cameraman then runs to another destroyed area of the demolished souk. Other people are seen running in the same direction to see exactly what happened. More piles of rubble and a major scene of destruction is seen on the other side of the souk.
In another, more graphic video of the Damascus massacre, an amateur reporter describes the atrocity and how far the souk is from the front-lines of the conflict.
“The regime is killing civilians in an abhorrent way.”
The scene is one of utter destruction with whole buildings demolished and transformed into piles of stone and rubble.
A puddle of blood is seen as the camera moves to other areas of the souk. A group of men are seen carrying a bloodied corpse of a man onto a blanket to carry him away from the scene. Others are seen running away from the area in fear that more strikes would follow.
Syrian civilians have suffered the most from the ongoing and increasingly complicated civil war that has ravaged the country since Syrian dictator responded to calls for regime change in 2011 by launching attacks at peaceful protests. As a result, several armed groups have been formed as a response to the regime’s atrocities. ISIS has also taken advantage of the chaos and managed to slice out a major portion of the country’s area.
Since then, Assad forces, Syrian army defectors, Islamist revolutionary forces, US-trained militias, Kurdish forces, and ISIS have been battling one another for control over the country.
As the latest Damascus massacre shows, civilians have been paying the highest price for the ongoing mayhem.
[Photo by Syria Freedom House]