Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Khatirah Massacre which was carried out by Assad’s forces against a group of rebels from the town. In 23/02/2012, hundreds of Assad’s forces, who were accompanied by dozens of vehicles, raided the Kharitah town in search of some anti-Assad regime activists. They imposed a security corridor in the town and raided several homes.
Despite they searched several houses and threated the owners with severe punishments, Assad’s forces failed to capture any of those rebels. The failure led them to burn down a house belonging to ‘Shadi Mohamed Salih’, who was one of the local FSA commanders in the town.
Although the town was surrounded by Assad’s forces, a group of activists belonging to the Local Coordination Committees challenged the tense situation by attempting to document the crimes of Assad’s forces against the civilians and the rebels operating in it. However, this did not last long. As they were taking pictures of a burned home (by Assad’s forces) in the Kharitah, regime forces managed to detain the media cadres of the Kharitah committee, along with three prominent rebels in the region. Afterwards, they executed them in the Wadi Shalah area south of the town. Hussein Ali, the head of the committee in the town, was shot in his head. Abul Hamid Al-Ghafel, a revolutionary singer from the town, was shot in his neck by a pistol. Mohamed Khalf Ismail and Khalil Salem, rebels from the town, had their bodies tore apart with several bullets.
The fifth martyr was an FSA fighter named Bilal Kardush. He defected from the regime ranks and joined the rebel fations in the beginning of the Syrian Revolution. His house in the Kharitah town was also raided that day. He fought the raiding forces with his Kalashnikov until death.
After the incident, the locals in the town staged a massive protest across the streets and forced the regime forces to retreat from the town. Then they held a large funeral processions for those martyrs during which they buried them in the Martyrs Cemetery in the Kharitah.
Names of the martyrs of the massacre:
Hussein Ali: head of the Kharitah’s committee
Abl Hamid GHafel : A revolutionary singer
Mohamed Khalaf Ismail : a rebel from the town
Bilal Darkosh : An FSA commander
Khalil Salm: An FSA fighter