The Syrian Nakba

The Syrian Nakba
Meteb was a civil servant, the head of the transportation department in Baba Amr. Homs became the epicenter of anti-regime protests, after protests in Daraa had been quelled by a large-scale military operation. A Free Syrian Army brigade formed by defecting regime army officers ambushed regime forces around Baba Amr in October 2011 and defended the neighborhood. When an Arab peace mission failed - the Assad army hid their tanks under fake sand dunes to conceal their presence from the monitors, witnesses said- the army launched an offensive in February 2012. 

"For six months there were no arms whatsoever. People only started using arms when they witnessed the brutality of the regime. The police would undress the women, force them to strip and put them on the tanks for people to watch," Meteb said.

Meteb’s life was saved by an officer commanding the operation: "They (the Assad Army) went through our village from house to house, arresting or shooting. They wanted to teach the area a lesson. I was one of 16 who were taken away by the commanding officer. I don’t know why I was spared. It was God’s will. All the rest were sprayed with machine gun fire. They shot people in their homes and left their bodies there to rot. Many of my cousins and the women in my family were killed. 1,661 people were massacred on that day."

Each refugee had a precise date etched in their mind. Meteb’s was February 2012. Anud’s was 6 December 2013. This is when she got out with her husband and eight children by moving at night from village to village. She remembered: "They put a man up against a fence and used him for target practice. The soldiers actually took bets on who would hit him." Mohammed recounted how two security guards were caught, strung up and dismembered with a chainsaw.

Anud said: "The army comes first followed by the Shabiha (sectarian militias paid by the regime). We have no army any more. We have Iranians with their machetes. They just slaughter. If you surrender to them, they just slaughter you. I saw it with my own eyes. They chop off your right arm, or your head. There is no longer a Syrian army. The Iranians are the ones who are doing this. They are alien. They steal our goods. If you are tempted to defend yourself, they kill you, after that they loot your house and set it on fire."

David Hearst- Middle East Eye

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