More than a month after Adra carnage, extremist killers still there

More than a month after Adra carnage, extremist killers still there
Tue Jan 28, 2014 19:52:50

Residents of Syria’s Adra are still suffering from occupation of their hometown by extremist militants who attacked their town more than one month ago and started killing people family by family.

The British daily Independent has published a report on the occupied town of Adra in Syria, written by Patrick Cockburn.

Militants from al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front and another feared extremist group, Jaysh al-Islam, attacked Adra on 11 December and started a brutal massacre in the industrial town.

According to the report, Khalal al-Helmi, a frail-looking 63-year-old retired employee of the oil ministry, said, “Three men came into our building and shouted ‘Go down to the basement’. We were down there three days.”

Survivors say at least 32 members of religious minorities – Alawi, Christians, Druze and Shia – were killed immediately or taken away by gunmen who went from house to house with lists of names.

They are also reported to have killed doctors and nurses in a clinic and workers in a bakery who were thrown into their own ovens.

Given that the extremists still hold this part of Adra, the exact details cannot be checked, but survivors who have taken refuge in an enormous cement plant three miles away have no doubt that a massacre took place.

Cockburn writes, “It is not easy to get to Adra, even though it is close to Damascus. We took a highway through the mountains west of the capital and then suddenly drove off it on to a precipitous earth track down which an enormous orange truck with a trailer carrying a bulldozer was driving in front of us. The bulldozer turned out to be one of several making tracks through the scrub and heaping banks of earth to offer some protection from rifle fire. ‘Drive fast because there are many snipers about,’ said an army officer escorting our small convoy.

Our destination was the giant cement plant which a former worker, now a refugee, said once employed 937 workers and produced 3,000 to 4,000 tons of cement a day. It now looks like an enormous, dead mechanical monster with pathetic clothes lines carrying refugees’ washing strung between big concrete columns. Nearby was a small party of displaced people from Adra looking bedraggled and depressed. They said the army brought them bread but they were short of everything else.”

Syrian Army officers thought there were some 500 rebels in the big new housing complex at Adra, but the report says it is doubtful if they really know because they also said the militants were digging tunnels so they could move without being fired on.

“They had local help, according to a former Adra resident, Hassan Kassim Mohammed, who said refugees from Douma and East Ghouta had been living in half-completed apartment blocks. These had acted as “sleeper cells” for the rebels and had given them lists of government employees. An employee of the information ministry, Heytham Mousa, has disappeared with his wife and daughter and his mobile phone is answered by a man who says he belongs to Jabhat al-Nusra.”

Cockburn continues in his report, “I asked several officers why they did not counter-attack and retake Adra. They answered that there were thousands of civilians there whom the rebels were using as ‘human shields’ and they denied an alternative explanation that they were short of soldiers. Even so, it was striking how few Syrian Army troops there were yesterday, either at the cement plant or in the front line, where there had been fighting around a bridge earlier in the week.”

The events in Adra are a further example of the shift that has taken place within the Syrian rebel forces which has lately been dominated by extremists.

Despite what people are suffering from a foreign-charged insurgency, led by numerous militant groups, the US congress has secretly authorized sending arms, an assorted variety of rockets, and financial backing to militants fighting against the Syrian army.

Syria sank into war in March 2011 when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.


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