Initial report of judicial investigation Committee on al-Houla massacre: Victims belonged to peaceful families who refused to stand up against state
DAMASCUS_ The initial report of the judicial committee investigating al-Houla massacre affirmed that all the victims belonged to peaceful families who wouldn't stand up to the state and had never joined protests or held up arms, who also had opposed the armed terrorist groups.
The initial findings indicated that the victims were killed by fire at close distance and sharp tools, not by shellfire.
The initial report added that the armed terrorist groups who gathered in al-Houla liquidated the victims in the process of an attack on the law-enforcement members who hadn't entered the area where the massacre occurred, adding that most of the bodies are of terrorists who were killed in the clash with the law-enforcement members.
Brigadier General Qassem Jamal Suleiman, head of the investigation committee, said in a press conference at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday that the investigation is in its initial stages and is still underway.
He added that the investigation committee depended on testimonies of eyewitnesses who saw the massacre happen that can be directly verified, adding that some of them will appear on TVs, indicating that the initial report was based on evidences and facts in relation to the armed attack that targeted the law-enforcement members in the town.
Gen. Suleiman said that law-enforcement members were positioned at five points in al-Houla, adding that the armed attack was aimed at turning the place into an area outside the state's control.
Suleiman said that the armed men gathered inside the village after Friday prayers and started an onslaught simultaneously with other gunmen numbered between 600-800 who came from neighboring areas, namely al-Rastan, al-Sa'an, Burjka'I, al-Sam'alin and others, where mortars, machineguns and anti-tank missiles were used, targeting two law-enforcement points as the main target of the attack, one near Taldao and the second near al-Sa'a Roundabout.
Suleiman said that the terrorist groups came from outside the town and simultaneously liquidated peaceful families during the attack on the law-enforcement members.
He indicated that the place where the massacre happened is in an area where there are armed terrorist groups, and no law-enforcement members entered the area neither before nor after the massacre, indicating that the area is located far from the law-enforcement members' posts.
He added that the law-enforcement members hadn't left their positions but defended themselves against the terrorist groups, which can be verified through the victims' images aired by satellite channels, showing that the massacre happened due to close fire and sharp tools, not shellfire as the images showed no signs of mashing, burns or traces of shelling buildings, which means that what happened was direct liquidation.
Suleiman added that killing children does not serve the law-enforcement members or the state, but serves the armed terrorist groups who seek to incite sedition.
Gen. Suleiman said that all the victims belonged to peaceful families who wouldn't stand up to the state and had never joined protests or held up arms, who also had opposed the armed terrorist groups, indicating that the terrorist groups aimed to invite foreign and humanitarian intervention.
Suleiman said that the massacre targeted the relatives of the People's Assembly member Abdul-Moa'ti Mashlab whom they wanted to take revenge of before the events ran contrary to the plan and the massacre extended to slaughter other families.
He affirmed that the massacre perpetrated by armed terrorist groups is part of the scheme that seeks to give the impression that a civil war is close at hand in Syria as it coincided with the visit of the UN envoy Kofi Annan.
For his part, Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry, Dr. Jihad Makdissi, said "The report which came after three days is initial and the investigation is still underway as the massacre has political and criminal dimensions. The investigation faces difficulties due to the presence of gunmen in the area.''
''There are further details that were kept unannounced out of fear for the lives of the eyewitnesses. When the investigation ends, we will put the full conclusions to the international community, the UN Security Council and the UN observer mission,'' added Makdissi.
Answering a question on whether the international community and the humanitarian and international bodies would be convinced on the findings of the initial investigation, Makdissi said ''It is a complicated matter to identify the international community, as part of the international community is hostile to Syria and has an agenda against it. What we care for is public opinion and the citizens who back the state because the state doesn't commit such crimes and is in a state of self-defense as terrorists are being funded and armed.''
''It is a heinous crime that was condemned by the Syrian government for which we deny responsibility and stress that the Syrian army can never commit such a crime…The perpetrators sought to take revenge of a family of one of the People's Assembly members, but events got out of hand and a larger massacre was perpetrated.''
Makdissi said that neither statements have not accused the Syrian army but hinted at other elements, adding that the Syrian army protects citizens.
In reply to a question on not engaging the observer mission in the investigation, Makdissi said ''It was the Syrian side who contacted the head of the mission, Robert Mood, who was sent by the Syrian Foreign Ministry…There were gunmen killed in the clash and moved to the village's mosque and filmed for the massacre to appear larger. When the observers arrived, there was a flood of lies aired by media.''
Makdissi added that the Syrian government was acquitted of other massacres in Karm al-Zaitoun and Deir Baalbeh, adding that clues pertaining to the massacre are revealed.
''There is diligent work to incite sedition in Syria…There are 18 sects that have lived in harmony for years and the massacres are aimed at shattering this coexistence, but the Syrian fabric is impervious to sedition attempts,'' added Makdissi.