Liz Sly writes for the Washington Post on Syria. Her newest piece is headlined Gruesome killings mark escalation of violence in Syrian capital.
It opening graph states:
ANTAKYA, Turkey — Scores of mutilated, bloodied bodies have been found dumped on the streets and on waste ground on the outskirts of Damascus in recent days, apparently the victims of a surge of extrajudicial killings by Syrian security forces seeking to drive rebel fighters out of the capital and its suburbs.
Apparently Antakya in Turkey is just the right place to report on what happens in Damascus, Syria and to conclude who “apparently” kills.
But here are the sources of Sly’s reporting:
Activists say …
Videos posted online and accounts from residents …
According to the Center for the Documentation of Violations in Syria …
… activists say
… a graphic video posted on YouTube
… according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
… Nadim Houry, a researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch, speaking from Beirut
… according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees
… Activists say
… Tariq Saleh, an activist with the Damascus Revolutionary Leadership Council.
… according to rebel commanders
… Abu Aasi, an activist there with the Local Coordination Committees
… captured on another graphic video
None of Sly’s sources is an eyewitness to the killings that apparently took place. None of them is neutral or on the government side.
Her conclusion at the top of her piece that the dead are “apparently the victims of a surge of extrajudicial killings by Syrian security forces” is derived from mixing together various hearsay from her sources and from watching gruel videos of dead people on Youtube. this while all of Sly’s sources have an apparent interest to make the Syrian government look bad
But as Sly herself writes, some of the dead were found “with the throats slit”. Is it typical for the Syrian government forces to slit throats? Or is that a more typical way of killing for violent Jihadists of the Al Qaeda type who are known to be fighting on the insurgency’s side?
Deep down into the piece Sly also writes:
The details of the killings are impossible to confirm, and activists and human rights groups say they are finding it difficult to verify the circumstances of the grisly deaths being recorded daily on videos posted online.
Shelling and raids by government forces have hindered researchers’ access to the sites where bodies are being found
Houry also acknowledged that firsthand accounts of killings are rare.
Activists say the latest wave of killings has taken place in residential areas that earlier were under rebel control.
And as they withdraw, the killings occur.
So there were Al Qaeda style killings in areas that were held by the rebels and the killings are said to have somehow taken place while the insurgents retreated.
How does this support the conclusion that “apparently the victims of a surge of extrajudicial killings by Syrian security forces”? And what does the Syrian government say about these killings. Apparently Liz Sly was unable to report on that.
To me it seems that these dead people are either the victims of Al Qaeda style killing by the sectarian insurgents or victims of legitimate fighting that occurred while the government forces drove the insurgents out.
Nowhere in the piece do I find any fact that supports the conclusion it is starting with. How is that supposed to be reporting?
Source: B from Moon of Alabama