ISIS massacre in Sweida July 2018 – speaking to survivors one year later

“Imagine that this were your village, or your neighborhood! Imagine that one of those were your house! Imagine that the same thing happened to you! Imagine that you lost a family member, or maybe two, or maybe more! Imagine that your mother, sister, daughter or son is still kidnapped and now in the hands of … ISIS!” — Syrian, Wissam Sliman


Taken from my article at Mint Press News:


“The ISIS terrorists took all the men outside and executed them in cold blood. Among them were Hazem’s father, brothers, cousin and neighbor. The women and children were then forced outside to see the bodies of their fathers, sons and husbands before they were taken hostage and force-marched towards Tilal Al-Safa.

A few of those who had been kidnapped managed to evade their ISIS captors and returned to Shbeki, where they slept in an abandoned house just outside the village until dawn, when they were able to ascertain that the village was still under control of their friends and family. Among those who escaped were Hazem’s mother and sister-in-law. In total, 29 hostages were eventually abducted by ISIS mercenaries.


During the forced-march towards Tila Al-Safa, Hazem’s uncle’s wife, Ghosun Hasan Abo Ammar, had collapsed and had been unable to walk any further. The first group of ISIS fighters left her by the side of the road and refused permission for anyone to stay with her. Later, I was told that another team of ISIS terrorists had followed on behind and had executed her on the road. Her body was eventually retrieved, the next day, 6 km from the village.


Eight days after the attack, ISIS executed one of the few young men in the group of hostages. Twenty-year-old university student Mohannad Thokan Abo Ammar was brutally beheaded by ISIS according to his family in Shbeki.


On October 2, shortly after I left Syria, ISIS executed Tharwat Fazel Abo Ammar. They shot her in the head and filmed the gruesome ending of a young mother’s life to taunt the Sweida civilians and to warn them of further executions if any attempt was made by the SAA to pursue ISIS.”


July 2019 – Revisiting Shbeki and Shrehi.


During this visit I met with Ra’ed Fadel Abu Ammar whose parents had been murdered by the ISIS terrorists – his sister Tharwat was kidnapped and then executed on October 2nd 2018.


In this short interview Ra’ed describes the mental and emotional trauma that he suffered after these tragic, horrific events that ripped his family apart – events that were enabled and supported by the U.S Coalition and barely mentioned in Western media.


Ra’ed is a strong soul with a depth of emotion that is found within every Syrian who has endured this 8 year war waged against them. His words are simple but they convey the power of his trauma and the profound loss and shock that he is still experiencing. It was not easy for him to talk to me and I thank him for his trust and for opening his heart, still raw with grief.


“We believe that every human’s life has a start and an end, and the martyrdom of our families defending the land and dignity is honorable.


Tharwat was murdered, they murdered her. Our hearts were breaking, first over our family members – who were martyred and we put their bodies in the ground – and second, over our sister and our other sisters who were (abducted).


We say that “death is a glass that everyone will drink from”

Watch the full interview here:


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