FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement on the Eighth Anniversary of the Syrian Regime’s Attack on Civilians in Al-Bayda and Baniyas
May 2nd and May 3rd mark the eighth anniversary of the Syrian regime’s attacks on al-Bayda and Baniyas respectively. On May 2 2013, pro-regime militias entered al-Bayda and began killing locals indiscriminately. Thousands sought to flee by any means necessary. Funneled into the town’s Mediterranean shoreline, hundreds decided they were safer in the water than on land. Most drowned as they fled the violence. On May 3 2013, a massacre along a similar pattern occurred in the larger city of Baniyas.
SETF has documented 313 civilians killed on these two days by the regime in Al-Bayda and Baniyas. The regime, backed by its Iranian and Russian allies, claims that the attacks were counter-terrorism operations. Russian state-backed media have led a campaign to discredit witnesses and victims. The campaign was an early chapter in the ongoing sectarian cleansing of Syria. Both Al-Bayda and Baniyas are predominantly Sunni Arab communities in an otherwise Shiite Alawite region of Syria. The regime has across Syria sought to remove Sunni Arabs from their homes by violence in an act of genocide.
Please join us in commemorating these tragedies in honor of the innocent victims. We urge the international community to hold the Assad regime accountable for its violence against Syrian civilians of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, while calling for an end to the killing in Syria. We continue to work tirelessly to document the numerous war crimes committed by the Assad regime.
“I have video of my father being killed and my mom recognized the murderers,” said Omar Alshogre, SETF’s Director for Detainee Affairs, who lost his father and many siblings in the attack on Al-Bayda. “It’s now time that the evidence of atrocities at Al-Bayda and Baniyas be used to bring those responsible for this indiscriminate killing to justice.”
Director of Communications Syrian Emergency Task Force