Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Free Syrian Army just as hateful and bloodthirsty as Assad (CORRECTION - no, they aren't)

As with all things in the Arab world, the choice is usually between the terrible and the atrocious.

From a BBC reporter who made it into Homs:
One of the FSA fighters showed me a video he had filmed in December.

They had ambushed a convoy of armoured vehicles. Eight of the security forces were killed, 11 captured. The video showed the prisoners, in camouflage uniform, lined up facing a wall.

Some were still bleeding after the battle. Their arms were raised.

One turned to the camera, looking petrified. The man who'd taken the pictures said that despite their army uniforms, their ID cards showed they were Shabiha (or ghosts) - the hated government paramilitary force.

"We killed them," he told me.

"You killed your prisoners?"

"Yes, of course. They were executed later. That is the policy for Shabiha."

These were Sunni Shabiha, he added; the only Alawite had escaped.

I checked with an officer. While soldiers were released, he said, members of the Shabiha were "executed" after a hearing before a panel of FSA military judges.

To explain, they showed me a film taken from the mobile phone of a captured Shabiha. Prisoners lay face down on the ground, hands tied behind their backs. One-by-one, their heads were cut off.

The man wielding the knife said, tauntingly, to the first: "This is for freedom."

As his victim's neck opened, he went on: "This is for our martyrs. And this is for collaborating with Israel."
On the other hand...
In Homs, after we left, there were reports from human rights activists that the Shabiha, going house-to-house, had murdered three families, men, women and children.
It is an epic battle between evil and evil.

(h/t Yoel)

UPDATE/CORRECTION: It appears that I misread the article. While the FSA do execute the Shabiha, they do it because of the particular cruelty of the Shabiha themselves. The video of the beheadings and tauntings were done by the Shabiha of rebels, and taken from a Shabiha cell phone - not the way I read it and framed it here. The information I received confirms this; there are some nasties in the FSA but they do have a semi-judicial process before executing the Shabiha and their cruelty does not come close. (h/t anon)