War crimes, even crimes against humanity perpetrated by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine relaunched surveys on systematic human rights violations by the Assad regime. The central question of the impunity of the executioners is again asked, with the priority issue of the documentation of such crimes, with a view to legal proceedings against performers as prosecutors. The parallel is essential, from Syria to Ukraine, between the techniques used by Moscow and its allies to terrorize the populations delivered to their arbitrariness. It is in this context that two researchers from the University of Amsterdam have just revealed the scale and the method of abuses perpetrated by the Assad diet In a suburb of Damascus.
Two years of investigation
Dutch professor Ugur ümit üngör and Syrian researcher Annsar Shahoud, both attached to the Center for Studies on the Genocide and Holocaust of the University of Amsterdam, recovered in June 2019 a video of an unbearable violence. Delivered by a Syrian dissident to a refugee opponent in Europe, it shows the execution of forty -one people, shot down one after the other, blindfolded, by a Syrian officer in uniform, then thrown into a common pit for Then be burned there. It is for the two researchers the beginning of a very long investigation, because only the date of April 2013 is indisputable. A patient reconstruction of data reconstruction and comparative geolocation makes it possible to finally locate the massacre in the Tadamone district (“Solidarité”), south of Damascus. This faubourg, where peaceful protests had been repressed in 2011, was then in the hands of the soldiers of Assad and their auxiliaries of the National Defense Forces (FDN).
Annsar Shahoud invents a dummy identity on social networks, where she presents herself as a pro-Assad Syrian exile, eager to encourage supporters and regime fighters. She thus establishes hundreds of contacts, managing to identify the main assassin of the video of 2013, then to win her confidence. Amjad Youssef is a military information officer, whose father had already followed the same career, in a family and unconditional allegiance to the Assad clan. From the popular uprising of 2011, he assumed command for the “security” of the Tadamone area, in fact sowing insecurity within a population deemed collectively suspicious. He is indeed the all-powerful local manager of the “branch 227” of military information, in charge of the capital and its suburbs, “branch” renowned for the sadism of its violence. Youssef boasts of being the executioner of the video, turned “in tribute” to his brother, who died under the uniform of Assad, and to have assassinated these dozens of civilians himself.
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