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Monday, August 12, 2013

Who is Really Killing Kurdish Civilians in Tal Abyad, Syria?

The claims being made by many pro-Assad forces that jhadists rebels of the al-Nusra Front have massacred 120 children and 330 adults are not being supported by Kurdish sources. These claims were often accompanied by a picture of children killed years ago in Afghanistan as fraudulent "proof" that this massacre happened. Now we have this report from the Berlin-based Kurd Watch Human Right Institute that sent investigators to the area and reported back that the alleged massacre never happened:
Contradictory reports on Syrian Kurds’ massacre / KURDWATCH BERLIN

12.8.2013 – Kurdpress – There are contradictory reports on the massacre of Syrian Kurds by al-Qaeda affiliated group of Jabhat al-Nusra Front. Berlin-based Kurd Watch Human Right Institute denied any massacre conducted in northern Syria Kurdish regions. “The reports over the killing of 450 defenseless women and children around Efrin (a Syrian Kurdish city) worried our colleagues. They visited the region to investigate the issue closely but the documents luckily denied any such massacre has been occurred in the region,” the secretary general of the institute Siamand Hajo told Rudaw.

“We have investigated all received documents and pictures and the final list of the dead and concluded only 30 people were killed in the region, among them both civilians and PYD (Democratic Union Party) members,” he added, accusing pro-Kurdish PYD of cooperating with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Hajo said PYD is trying to change northern Syria developments in line with its goals. PYD political and media sources, on the contrary, told Kurdpress that they have gathered enough documents and pictures which prove mass killings by Nusra rebels.
Earlier we had this preliminary investigation of Kurdish sources and they didn't find any confirmation for the story of the massacre of 450 Kurds by al Nusra Front either:
August 6, 2013

Militants set Syrian Kurds on fire, new video footage shows – PressTV, Aug 5, 2013 10:41PM GMT

A gruesome video has emerged on the Internet, showing foreign-backed militants in Syria setting three Syrian Kurds on fire.

The video, which was posted online on Monday, shows the al-Qaeda-affiliated group al-Nusra Front militants pouring a flammable liquid on the hand-cuffed, blind-folded men who appear to be Syrian Kurd soldiers.

The militants then push the three into a fire they have made.

Reports said that al-Nusra militants attacked Tal Abyad district of Raqqa governorate in northern Syria on Monday, killing 450 civilians. The victims were said to be women, children and the elderly.

Al-Nusra terrorists burn 3 Syrians alive – al Alam, August 06, 2013 8:10 AM

A gruesome video has emerged on the Internet, showing al-Qaeda-affiliated group al-Nusra Front terrorists setting three Syrians on fire.

Clay Claiborne shows this video is from Iraq from 2011. (No, 2007) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:33, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Kurdish sources

Kurdish sources: I made the round through the usual Kurdish outlets and while they're full of news about the escalating fights between YPG and the Takfiri Robots, there's nothing about that specific event so far, which is kind of odd. The 63 dead in fighting mentioned in the Sherzad Shekhani article quoted above show up, but no single event with 450 dead in Tal Abyad. Not on Rudaw, not on Firat, not on Die Kurden. --CE (talk) 13:46, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

I could not find anything either. Nothing on YouTube of the "videos posted online by the militant groups" supposedly showing hundreds of bodies. I collected videos on a playlist but all I have is fighting between Kurds and al-Nusra.

No mention of a Tell Abyad / Tal Abyad / Til Ebyed / Girê Spî ‪‎massacre‬ on this Kurdish PDY Info page.
While it increasingly seems unlikely that the massacre the pro-Assad propagandists have been babbling on about ever took place that doesn't mean civilians aren't dying in Tal Abyad. Today we have a report of Assad regime bombing around Tal Abyad.

Village in Tal Abyad Bombed by Assad Planes

Video of an aftermath of regime bombing in a village near Tel Abyaḍ. 5 civilians were killed. Interestingly, the official PYD website claimed Assad's bombing of targets in Raqqah in which dozens of civilians were killed didn't target ISIS, but only FSA. This is similar to secular FSA discourse that claims there are link between Al Qaida proxies and Assad. While the uploader of the Tel Ebyad video claims the bombing of the village shows YPG-Assad cooperation.
al-Raqqa: The death of four civilians from the village of al-Jalbeh has been verified; a man and his three sons, after their house has been targeted by regime airforces in the province of Tal Abyad. Regime airforces have carried out a strike on the village of al-Jalbeh where it has targeted homes with a number of shells, with reports of four civilian deaths.

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