Disturbing report alleges killings of 450 Kurds in Syria

August 07, 2013

Unconfirmed reports have emerged detailing a new massacre in which 450 Kurds - including 120 children - were allegedly slaughtered by al-Qaeda-linked rebels fighting against the Syrian government. The report has sparked international concern.

According to Iranian TV channel Al-Alam, militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra Front attacked the town of Tal Abyad on Monday, killing 120 children and 330 women and elderly near the Turkish border. 

The channel also ran horrific uncensored footage from the scene - the authenticity of which can’t be independently verified at this moment. For ethical reasons, RT will refrain from airing the video. 

Neither the Syrian government nor the opposition has confirmed the report. RT contacted a number of sources, including several Kurdish interviewees, who testified that increased fighting has been taking place in their areas. 

“The al-Nusra militants and other rebel forces surrounded the village,” Yasin Tarbush, the relative of one of the Kurdish attack victims, told RT. “They started going door to door, entering every house. If there were any men, they killed them and took the women and children hostage.” 

Commenting on the reports, the UN Human Rights office in Geneva said they are investigating and if it confirms them, would consider it a war crime and seek that perpetrators are brought to justice. 

“Armed groups also have responsibilities under international law and should not think that they are immune from prosecution,” Navi Pillay said in a statement. 

Russia called on the UN Security Council to condemn acts of terrorism in Syria in unambiguous terms.

“We saw before some Security Council members reluctant to condemn terror attacks in Syria on the grounds that – as cynical as it sounds – those attacks are being carried out by people fighting against an obsolete regime,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. “This position is absolutely unacceptable. No double standards can be applied to terrorism.”

Islamists on offensive

RT’s Irina Galushko spoke to Kurdish journalist Barzan Iso, who confirmed that “Al-Qaeda started attacking Kurdish villages on the 19th of July. After these attacks they kidnapped many Kurds. We don’t have a specific statistic,” he said, alluding to the fact that many of the areas are dominated by Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda-linked militants who do not allow Kurds to gain access and investigate. 

Iso explained the Kurds’ non-allegiance to either side of the Syrian conflict: “Since the beginning of the events in Syria, the Kurds tried not to be a part of the civil conflict…there are non-Muslim Kurds, as well as Alawite Kurds – that’s why they tried to be away from [it]. But now, some of the opposition groups are using al-Qaeda and al-Nusra to attack Kurds. The main cause is that they have the mentality of radical nationalists. That’s why they are using al-Qaeda as an umbrella to attack the Kurdish people.” 

Iso claims that when he spoke to members of the Syrian National Coalition, the political component of the West-backed opposition forces, they readily blamed the Islamist attacks against Kurds on the Kurdish drive for independence. Al-Nusra Front, an offshoot of an Iraq-based Al-Qaeda branch, is seeking to claim Kurdish territories for an Islamist state encompassing parts of Iraq and Syria, which the group wants to create.

The report follows other instances of heavy strife between ethnic Kurds and al-Qaeda-linked militants in historically Kurdish-settled northern and north-eastern Syria.

Kurdish neutrality stance strained

The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a state of their own. They currently live in the bordering territories of Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. The idea of carving an independent Kurdish state has numerous supporters among Kurds, with host countries trying for years to oppose secessionism.

In pre-war Syria, the Kurdish population was denied some of the rights that other ethnic groups enjoyed. However in the early months of the conflict the government of President Bashar Assad gave a number of concessions to the Kurds, including granting citizenship to thousands of them.

Since then, Kurds have been trying to distance themselves from the focus of the civil war, forming militias to defend their territory, but otherwise not supporting any side. In recent months radical anti-Assad groups have been increasingly attacking Kurdish towns, which, according to some reports, has given Kurds an incentive to side more with the Syrian government.

On July 30, a Kurdish militia has announced its mobilization against al-Qaeda-linked militants in north-eastern Syria after the assassination of Kurdish opposition leader Isa Huso. 

“We call on the Kurdish people…to step forward…anyone fit to bear arms should join the ranks of the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) and to face the assaults of these armed groups,” the YPG statement reads.

The Suriya al-Ain news portal claims that the terrorists are executing Kurdish prisoners as “revenge on the Kurds, for defeats inflicted on them.” One week ago, al-Nusra militants attacked two Syrian towns, taking around 200 civilians hostage. It was reported that all of those abducted came from the families of soldiers of the Kurdish Brigades who were previously part of the opposition Free Syrian Army, but later defected to the Kurdish Self-Defense forces. 

Arming Al-Qaeda

The reality on the ground is that Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists, including Al-Nusra Front, are dominating the rebels.

The latest example is the takeover of a crucial military airport in northern Syria on Tuesday by Islamists-spearheaded forces. The airport, which had been locked down since October, was taken in a two-day assault by a coalition of nine rebel groups, including some supported by the West, according to a McClatchy report.

“The victory again underlines the leading strategic impact being played by militant Islamists, particularly in northern Syria,” Charles Lister, who is monitoring the fight for the London-based military analysis group IHS Janes, said. “Every major offensive in northern Syria this year has been announced, led and coordinated by Islamists.”

On numerous occasions, Western politicians have emphasized that they do not want extremists running rampant across the Middle East and gaining access to foreign arms supplies as they did in Libya and other recent conflicts. However, this is what is happening in Syria, Colin Cavell, a political science academic at Bluefield State College in West Virginia, told RT.

“Right now most of the American people are very unclear about exactly what is going on. Our media kind of keeps it down low on one end, and on the other end it says we are supporting moderate democratic opposition, which is hilarious to anybody who is following this. We are supporting Al-Qaeda-linked Jihadists, who are massacring people,” he stated.

Despite calls by the West to arm Syrian rebels in their fight against Assad’s government, there is still no accurate way of distinguishing non-radicalized opposition forces from Islamist militants determined to create their own sovereign state in the Middle East.


Syria: US Supported Rebels Carry Out Another Massacre of Civilians

By Andy Dilks | Global Research, August 07, 2013

Syrian “rebels” have allegedly carried out another massacre of civilians, all in the name of “freeing” civilians from the yoke of Bashar al-Assad. The Al-Alam News Network reported that mercenaries from the al-Nusra Front – a ruthless group believed to have ties to the CIA and Turkish intelligence – murdered 120 Kurdish children and 330 men and women in the town of Tal Abyad located in a district of northern Syria.

It is the latest in a string of atrocities carried out by groups opposing the Syrian government, which include dozens of civilian massacres, beheadings (including an incident in which opposition forces cheered on as a 14 year old boy beheaded a Syrian soldier) and a gruesome incident with a rebel cutting out and eating a soldier’s heart (who was kind enough to grant the BBC an interview).

That these violent mercenaries and extremists are backed by the West should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed events in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya (indeed, many of the mercenaries currently carrying out atrocities in Syria were involved in the proxy war to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi).

The British government is currently weighing up the efficacy of arming the rebels, with mixed signals emerging from Parliament over whether or not weapons should be send to the conflict zone. Prime Minister David Cameron suggested he had ruled out such a possibility, but foreign secretary William Hague – “arch-warmonger” of the Conservatives – indicated clearly that arming the rebels is still very much an option. Such debates seem more concerned with the legal and diplomatic ramifications than they are with the disastrous moral/humanitarian consequences – the Iraq War demonstrated clearly the penchant for slaughter held by the vast majority of British politicians.

The US government is considerably more brazen. Having invaded Afghanistan on the pretext of eliminating al-Qaeda, 12 years on the very same terrorist groups have been receiving US military contracts. American officials are citing “due process rights” as a reason not to cancel the agreements, a statement of galling irony in light of the hundreds of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay held without any consideration for their rights, many of whom were rounded up in the early years of the Afghanistan War for the cash bounties offered by the US.

Following a ‘secret order’ in 2012, the Obama administration and the CIA have been arming the Syrian militants, including anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles. Intelligence insiders have recently revealed that the Benghazi attack, in which the US ambassador and others were murdered by jihadists, was in fact a staged event conducted by the State Department for the transfer of arms to al-Qaeda in Syria. It is yet another instance of US covert gun-running which echoes the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal, in which the US government shipped thousands of weapons across the Mexican border and into the hands of drug cartels.

All of which makes the recent Middle East terror alerts absurd, to say the least. Coming soon after the Edward Snowden revelations regarding the NSA’s surveillance program and the public backlash against spying on such an unprecedented scope, it’s not hard to see why many view this alleged terror threat as a political stunt to vindicate the government’s snooping. And as embassies across the “Muslim world” shut down, the mainstream media is once again repeating the “terrorism” mantra in wall to wall coverage designed to ratchet up the tension and fear.

But perhaps far more troubling is the recent involvement of Israel, who entered the conflict with a bang when they bombed the Qassioun Mountain Research Site back in May. In alliance with Turkey, Israeli attacks on Syria have been met with hollow denials and a mute response from the mainstream media. But the most recent attacks in Homs and Qasyoon earlier this month should give any sane person cause for concern.

The size of the explosions were initially attributed to the ammunition dump which had been targeted. But a recent report from Channel 4′s Jon Snow has suggested another disturbing possibility: Israel is using nuclear weapons. Greg Thielmann, an expert on arms control policy, told Snow:
“The fact of the matter is, what we are seeing in both these cases is a tactical nuclear strike, probably by cruise missiles launched from aircrafts near the borders of Syria or right off the coast in the Mediterranean.”
Horrific as this may sound, Snow went on to describe this as “a remarkably delicious possibility of removing the tyrant Assad using all tools available,” advocating the use of nuclear and chemical weapons in the name of human rights and freedom in the world. To Snow, the prospect is simply “awfully ironic” rather than plain and simple “awful”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Snow’s piece has since been pulled from Channel 4′s blog pages (but can be found here.)

It is clear that the world currently faces the slippery slope to nuclear war and that further escalation of violence in Syria may well develop into a proxy war between the US and Russia or something much worse. As we commemorate the use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the threat of nuclear war looms over the planet. Perhaps now more than ever men of violence need to be opposed by men of peace.

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