In April 2022, a leaked six-minute video showed the massacre of 41 people in Damascus. The perpetrators have been identified to be Assad forces.
The video was first published by the UK-based newspaper, The Guardian. The footage was unsteady at first, before it closed in on a freshly dug pit in the ground between the bullet-pocked shells of two buildings. An intelligence officer he knew was knelt near the hole’s edge in military fatigues and a fishing hat, brandishing an assault rifle and barking orders.
The rookie militiaman froze in horror as the scene unfolded: a blindfolded man was led by the elbow and told to run towards the giant hole that he did not know lay in front of him. Nor did he anticipate the thud of bullets into his flailing body as he tumbled on to a pile of dead men beneath him. One by one, more unsuspecting detainees followed; some were told they were running from a nearby sniper, others were mocked and abused in their last moments of life. Many seemed to believe their killers were somehow leading them to safety.
When the killing was done, at least 41 men lay dead in the mass grave in the Damascus suburb of Tadamun, a battlefront at the time in the conflict between the Syrian leader and insurrectionists lined up against him. Alongside piled heaps of dirt that would soon be used to finish the job, the killers poured fuel on the remains and ignited them, laughing as they literally covered up a war crime just several miles from Syria’s seat of power. The video was date-stamped 16 April 2013.
Three months later, the Syrian government denied that it was behind the massacre of scores of civilians, which sparked outrage among world leaders. The Syrian government claimed the video as fabricated and lacks credibility.
Since the outbreak of the 2011 Syrian revolution, the regime and its state-run media have consistently denied and refused to acknowledge the anti-regime protests that swept the country over the past years.
The Syrian regime, led by President Bashar al-Assad, also refused more than once to acknowledge the massacres or chemical attacks documented by international human rights organizations.
Head of the Syrian Network for Human Rights Fadel Abdel Ghani said that the Syrian regime’s position is not surprising as it is directed to its supporters after the international outrage over the massacre.
The Syrian regime is fully aware that his statement has no legal value, he added, pointing out that no information was released over the people appeared in the leaked recording.
In this regard, we stress the need to reveal the circumstances of the Tadamun massacre and to bring those responsible for it to justice for committing war crimes.