Chère Madame Asma al-Assad, First Lady of Syria: what do you have to say for yourself now?
You’re still hiding in London, while tens of dozens more Syrian mothers grieve for their children, who are missing, injured, or dead simply because they and their families asked your husband for freedom.
Remember on June 6, I published the Syria’s Mother-in-Chief: 70 Names We’ll Never Let You Forget? Even at that time, there were more children than that who had died and, for various reasons, were not included on activists’ lists, or were listed but unnamed.
Fast-forward 2 1/2 months… Your husband and his forces had killed over 100 children before Ramadan had even begun and took advantage of the month of August not for religious contemplation, but to send his militia to lie in wait and shoot children as they walk out of mosques after evening prayers.
The Syrian Coordination Committees told Al-Arabiya on August 15 that 260 people had been killed just since the beginning of Ramadan, including 14 women and 33 children. Activist Wissam Tarif told Anderson Cooper on CNN on August 19 that 148 Syrian children had been murdered since the uprising began on March 15. Other estimates swing wildly between 120 and 170 dead.
But starting from 148 and counting names of children from Daraa, Homs, and Hama it seems aren’t accounted for on 19 August, that means 155 are dead. 155 innocent Syrian children lost, Asma. Because of you.
That’s more than twice as many dead children as when we last spoke! Others are missing, imprisoned, or injured, or whose details haven’t yet been confirmed by the standard activists require: verification by 2 sources who don’t know each other.
Asma, you need to cancel that shopping trip and READ EVERY WORD of the descriptions that follow. View every photo. Watch every gruesome video, some of which left Syrian activists, who sadly have to sort through dozens of gruesome videos every day, speechless.
Remember that each of these children were loved, and are missed. Some weren’t even old enough to walk. Some were their parents’ only children. Some were refugees already, living in crushing poverty.
Your husband’s army has even deprived some of these parents of places to bury their precious children, or have dug up their children’s graves and stolen the bodies, taking photos of them first, so they could lay the blame on these non-existent “armed gangs.”
(One activist asked: have you ever heard of armed gangs who risk their lives to bury their victims, and bury them in the back gardens of their own homes if they can’t get to the cemetery? Who bury the dead in individual coffins? Mark the graves with names and dates of the deceased? Regularly put flowers on the graves?)
These are some of their stories, so that we don’t forget:
On Ramadan Eve, Gadeer Mousa Alhamdel was killed in Soran.
At the beginning of this video, baby Layal Askar is crawling around after her cat, petting him. By the end, she is wrapped in her burial shroud, dead.
A young man was killed in Hama while he was crossing the street bringing water to some men there. Bystanders didn’t dare go into the street to get his body, because of snipers, so they pulled him toward them with a long wire.
Idlib: look, these are the live bullets that were fired, and the bombs that were thrown at protesters by security forces. 2 died and women and children were also hit.
Child shot and killed by security forces in Talbesah, Homs after Al-Taraweeh prayers.
After the army occupied al-Horani hospital in Hama, the electricity was cut off. When the generators ran out, the army refused to give the hospital gasoline to run them, so all the premature babies in incubators died. The power generator at the adjacent al-Raiyes hospital, which specializes in obstetrics and premature infants, was shelled by the army and caused the death of all the babies in incubators there, too.
16-year-old Nada Ahmed Raslan (girl) and 10-year-old Ali Hassan Al Nimr died in the barbaric attack on the village of Al-Houleh, Homs, in the morning.
Deir ez-Zour: according to an eyewitness, a woman carrying her child was killed in cold blood right in front Al Furat Hospital and is now in the hospital morgue.
Deir ez-Zour: Yahya al-Shaher (girl) was killed by regime forces in the al-Huwaiqa neighborhood. She was buried in al-Mahtal park.
Soran, north of Hama: the military fired on a car filled with women and children, killing a daughter Yara Alfares, age 2, and her mother Yumna Abdilsattar Haj Mahmoud.
Luay Umar and 13-year-old Ahmed Abara disappeared from Hawla, Homs.
Funerals were held for 5 children from the same family in Taybat al-Imam, rural Hama; security forces shot them at random while they were playing.
(Of the 34 people killed in rural Idleb, Arbeen, Hawla, Homs, Deir ez-Zour, Halfaya, Soran, Taybat al-Imam, Hama, and Latakia so far this week, 11 were children.)
4-year-old child kidnapped and held for ransom so his father would surrender himself to police. The family home was also robbed.
16-year-old from Douma was killed.
17-year-old Amer Hammash was killed in the al-Ramel neighborhood of Latakia.
Muhammad al-Tarn, an orphan from a poor family in al-Mashaa, Hama, was shot 3 times, twice in the head and once in the neck. If he lives, he’ll be disabled for life.
Homs: 9-year-old Yahia Sulaiman was killed by armed militia. He was nipped and killed by a single bullet in the head.
Yihiya Kleb, age 6, was shot dead as he was leaving the mosque. The narrator of this video says, “These are your achievements, Bashar.”
Ola Yaser Jablawi, age 2 1/2, was shot in the eye and killed. Her parents, who live next to the Alkilab mosque, Bustan Alsamaka neighborhood, Latakia, had tried to conceive for 8 years before she was born. Her parents had been warned to escape an attack, but their car was fired upon at a security checkpoint. Ola’s father was shot in the shoulder. He was later kidnapped and his whereabouts are unknown. If you watch this video, you will break down; the father is crying out to God as his little daughter lies in the street, dead.
Two boys, ages 6 and 9, were also killed in Latakia, as army tanks attacked from the seaport.
A very small boy, Mohamed Yasser Khalaf was murdered.
Homs: an injured boy was shot by security forces. I think we are viewing his last breaths here.
A young boy was brutally murdered in Homs as he was leaving the mosque after night prayers.
Regime forces were targeting and killing women and children as they fled the Latakia massacre. Terrible, terrible injuries.
Mohammad Jobar Shohan, age 13, was shot at noon by a sniper in Al-Raml, Latakia, at the Palestinian refugee camp.
Nada Hassan Saad was also killed in the brutal attack on Al-Raml, Latakia. She was a Palestinian mother of 2 children.
A woman and her 2 children were killed in the shelling of Suran, Hama late in the evening.
Boy in Saraqeb, Idlib shot and injured by security forces.
Abdurahman Hajar, age 2, from Bab eSba’a, was shot in his right side. The bullet passed through his penis and cut it off.
This video is of the funeral of Jalal Muhamed Bassem and a tiny baby.
Sana Kanas (girl) was killed.
Homs, al-Baiada: a young boy was shot by Shabiha (regime-sponsored gangs).
Boy shot by Shabiha and security forces during the demonstration in Hama.
3-year-old girl shot during the protest in Hauran. She was among 18 people killed that day.
3 children were among those killed by security forces in Ghabagheb, Daraa: Muhammad Bader Najem, age 15, Muhammad Omar Sharaf, age 11, and a 3-year-old girl.
Another teenager, Haitham Rifae Wazir, age 18, was killed by regime forces in Jubar, Homs.
Avaaz citizen journalist reported from Deir ez-Zor that of 17 arrests today, 4 of them were children: two children age 15, one child age 13, and one child age 12. The Shabiha and the army forced them to remove their clothes and paraded them all down the street, naked.
Homs, Tadmur: 2 children, Mohammad Adnan Al-Faris, age 12, and Hya Zoghby, age 17, were killed by sniper fire from atop the Vila Tadmur Hotel.
Asma, I’m updating this list every day and know I’m not keeping up with the tragic stories of children pouring out of Syria.
One of my friends is from Homs, your ancestral city. She’s your age and a mother of young children, too. You know what she said about you? “Asma knows if she says anything (against the regime), she will be killed, so she’s content.” Content to do what? I ask. Her reply was the worst indictment one mother can ever give to another.
“Content not to be brave.”
Not 24 hours after I wrote this post, Assad security forces kicked the UN humanitarian delegation out of Homs for “safety reasons,” so they don’t know Homs had 5 child victims (3 killed, 2 injured) today, 22 August. 5-year-old Majid and his father were killed when security forces fired at the Fatima mosque after evening prayers. His sister, standing on a balcony nearby, was seriously injured, as was another young boy elsewhere in the city. Baby Alaa Abu Alaban was also lost. Another young boy was shot in the head and killed. You can clearly see and hear the sniper fire. Men are dragging the child’s body out of the street, leaving a smear of blood behind. Al Jazeera English reported 5 were killed and 80 wounded in Homs today, but those numbers have risen in recent hours. Shabiha also attacked and killed civilians in Assi Square, Hama. Clearly the UN visit has not stopped the regime’s brutality in the least. Even though Assad saved his worst violence for after the delegation left each city, the whole world, including the UN, sees the truth on YouTube.