Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reporter sneaks into Syria; deserters tell of rapes

From CBS:
Martin Fletcher, of The Times of London, posed a tourist to sneak into Syria, where foreign journalists are banned. He traveled for 6 days before being caught before being caught in the city of Homs, a focal point of the uprising.

Meanwhile, some Syrian army deserters are speaking out about the horrors they participated in:

Syrian army deserters who fled to Turkey have told of atrocities committed by soldiers in suppressing anti-government protests, under threat of execution if they disobeyed orders.

Four conscripts interviewed by AFP recounted instances of rape and wanton murder as President Bashar al-Assad's forces combat demonstrations against his regime across the country.

With a blank stare in his eyes, Tahal al-Lush said the "cleansing" in Ar-Rastan, a town of 50 000 residents in the Syrian province of Homs, prompted him to desert.

"We were told that people were armed there. But when we arrived, we saw that they were ordinary civilians. We were ordered to shoot them," said Lush, who showed his military passbook and other papers as proof of his identity.

"When we entered the houses, we opened fire on everyone, the young, the old... Women were raped in front of their husbands and children," he said, giving the number of deaths as some 700, difficult to verify as journalists are not allowed to circulate freely in Syria.

(h/t Israel Muse)