Bayda and Baniyas massacres

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Bayda and Baniyas massacres
Part of the Syrian civil war
Location Bayda and Baniyas, Tartus Governorate, Syria
Date 2–3 May 2013
Attack type
Massacre
Deaths 51–100 (Bayda), 77–145 (Baniyas)
Perpetrators Syrian Army
National Defense Force
Shabiha[1]

The Bayda and Baniyas massacres were two widely reported on massacres that occurred in May 2013 in the village of Bayda and the city of Baniyas, in Tartus Governorate, Syria, where pro-Assad troops, supported by paramilitaries, killed civilians in the Sunni village and the Sunni part of the city. The killings were supposedly in retaliation for an earlier rebel attack near the town that left at least half a dozen soldiers dead.[2] There were reports of whole families being killed in the two massacres 2–3 May, and thousands were attempting to flee the area.[3] At least 100 people were killed, while others say that number exceeds 400.[4] Human Rights Watch put the number of dead at 248[5] in mass summary executions.[6] According to a UN report between 300 and 450 people were killed.[7] Survivors have testified that it was regular troops, backed by the paramilitary National Defence Force (NDF), that entered the village and began "a murderous attack: burning, looting and killing".[1]

Events[edit]

Soldiers killed[edit]

Early on 2 May 2013, rebels fought with government troops near Bayda.[8] Activists said a bus carrying pro-government militants, known as Shabiha, was attacked, killing seven and wounding 20-30.[9][10] Syrian forces and Shabiha militiamen from the surrounding area returned in the afternoon and stormed the village.[8]

Village raided[edit]

Syrian troops backed by the pro-government gunmen swept into the village in the mountains near the Mediterranean coast killing dozens of people, including women and children, and torching homes.[11] Before the militia entered the village, the military bombarded Bayda from the sea with rockets.[12]

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 50 people – and possibly as many as 100 – were killed in the violence. Witnesses said some of the dead were killed with knives or blunt objects and that dozens of villagers were still missing.[13] Later, SOHR stated they were able to document the deaths of 51 people.[14] Another activist report documented 72 deaths.[15] Opposition activists said that, although Bayda was rebel-held, only 14 rebel fighters were in the village. One opposition activist stated that the attack was in fact retaliation for another attack in a neighbouring area four days previously that had resulted in the death of several soldiers.[2]

Victims included Bayda's former village imam of 30 years, Sheikh Biyasi, described as "a government loyalist who alienated local people with his political views before resigning two years ago." According to one survivor, "even though he always opposed the protests, they still killed him." The Biyasi family was described by Reuters as suffering "some of the worst losses, with 36 documented deaths".[16]

Baniyas massacre[edit]

On 3 May,[17] another massacre was, according to SOHR, perpetrated in the Ras al-Nabaa district of Baniyas causing hundreds of Sunni residents to flee their homes.[18] According to one opposition report, a total of 77 civilians, including 14 children, were killed.[15] Another two opposition groups documented, by name, 96-145 people who are thought to have been executed in the district.[19][20] Four pro-government militiamen and two soldiers were also killed in the area in clashes with rebel fighters.[21]

State media, for its part, stated their forces were seeking only to clear the area of "terrorists".[12] Mihrac Ural, a pro-government militia commander spoke of the necessity to besiege and "cleanse" Baniyas from what he called "traitors".[22] In all, the military claimed that they killed 40 "terrorists" in Bayda and Baniyas.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pannell, Ian (2013-05-28). "BBC News - Syrian activists document al-Bayda and Baniyas 'massacre'". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  2. ^ a b Sherlock, Ruth (2013-05-03). "Syria: Sunni village 'massacred' in Alawaite heartland". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  3. ^ Peter Beaumont. "The Guardian, 4 May 2013". Guardian. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  4. ^ Stay informed today and every day (2013-05-11). "Syria’s civil war: The bloody stalemate persists". Economist.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  5. ^ By AFP (2013-09-13). "Syrian forces executed 248 in two villages in May: HRW". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  6. ^ HRW [1]
  7. ^ Nebehay, Stephanie (2013-09-11). "Syrian forces responsible for Banias massacres: U.N. report". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  8. ^ a b Sectarian killings reported in Syrian village[dead link]
  9. ^ "Syrian troops storm "massacre" village". En.trend.az. 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  10. ^ "Dozens killed in Syria's Banias". Globalpost.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  11. ^ Lucas, Ryan (05/02/13). "Dozens Killed By Assad Troops In Bayda Massacre, Syrian Activists Say". Huffington Post. 
  12. ^ a b "Sectarian violence reported in Syrian city of Baniyas". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  13. ^ "Syrian dictator Assad 'massacres up to 100 men, women and children' with knives and guns as U.S says arming rebels is now an option". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  14. ^ Fielding, Abigail (2013-05-03). "Opposition accuses Syria regime of massacre in coastal region". Ft.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  15. ^ a b Jim Muir (2013-05-04). "Syrians flee 'massacres' in Baniyas and al-Bayda". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  16. ^ Reuters, 28 May 2013, Insight: Syrian village gives up secrets after dawn killings
  17. ^ "At least 62 bodies found in Syria's Banias: watchdog". Bangkokpost.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  18. ^ "Syrians flee coastal town after mass killings". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  19. ^ The Violations Documenting Center in Syria. "VDC Martyrs". Vdc-sy.info. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  20. ^ "145 civilians (34 children, 40 women, 71 men) killed in the Banias massacre". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  21. ^ "Death toll for Friday 3/5/2013: More than 130 people killed yesterday in Syria". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  22. ^ "Pro-regime militant speaks of “cleansing” Banias". Now.mmedia.me. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  23. ^ Pannell, Ian (2013-05-28). "Syrian activists document al-Bayda and Baniyas 'massacre'". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 

External Links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°07′30″N 35°56′55″E / 35.125°N 35.9486°E / 35.125; 35.9486