Tuesday 31 July 2012

Aleppo - Zaino Berri, Shabiha Leader, Captured And Executed

As reported by Sky News footage has emerged showing a violent execution of alleged shabiha in Aleppo.

Allegedly Liwaa Attawhid, Aleppo's Unification Brigade, were responsible for the killing, and I've spoken to a number of activists to gather more information on the situation surrounding the executions.

According to activists, the men killed belonged to the Berri clan, a notorious Aleppo based shabiha, with some estimating the clan has around 5000 members.  Activists allege the Berri clan were involved in various criminal activities, including drug dealing and arms dealing, as well as being used as militia by the Assad government, a role in which they are accused of rape, torture and murder.  One of the men killed was the leader of the Berri clan, Zaino Berri, and his brother, Hussein Berri, is reportedly a member of the Syrian Parliament.

According to reports from activists the FSA captured the Berri clan's HQ in Al Neirab (the same location where a police station was captured today) after a fierce gun battle that left several FSA members dead, leading to the capture of Zaino Berri and other members of his clan, among other prisoners

This video in Arabic was recently posted showing the commander in charge of Berri explaining the circumstances of the execution

Update August 1st The Guardian Middle East Live Blog has some additional information about the events surrounding the execution, including this quote
Today, the Barris killed one of the rebels in Al Marjah district. The FSA then entered the Barri's stronghold. They captured the clan’s leaders. They killed some of those who resisted, families and children were allowed to leave the neighbourhood.
I am sure that everyone in Aleppo, be pro-regime, anti-regime or those in the middle, are happy today with their demise.
Update August 1st The Angry Arab blog also has a piece on the execution, with details of the religious affiliation of the Berri clan, details of their activity, and the reason for the execution.

Update August 1st Ivan Watson of CNN Tweeted the following
Spokesman for rebel Tawheed brigade claims responsibility for execution of 10 suspected members of Berri Shabiha yesterday in Aleppo
Update August 1st The Guardian has spoken to Mustafa al-Sheikh, head of FSA supreme military, who says this about the incident
Regarding the video of the shabiha killed by the FSA, as far as I know these shabiha are from the "Berri" clan in Aleppo. They have a long history of being pro-regime shabiha and they have been involved in a lot of killing in Aleppo.

The regime used to provide them with light weapons and knives and gather them in schools to go and launch their attacks against civilians. Just before they left one of the schools they were caught by the FSA and killed.

In this war in which we left alone to fight such a vicious regime, everything is possible and legitimate and as long as the international community keeps looking at Syria in such carelessness, you will see more of that and even worse.
Update August 1st The Guardian has spoklen to Basheer al-Haji, "media speaker of the Tawheed ("Unity") Brigade in Aleppo"
We were in a truce with the Berri clan, which are shabiha clan. We asked them to stay at home and not to support any part of the fight but they did not comply to the truce.

We were attacking one of the police stations in the city and Berri clan began shooting against us from behind. They killed 15 members of the FSA. We were in big clashes with them and were able to kill 20 of them and arrest another 50.

Then we held a field trial for them. We have judges and lawyers who are in the opposition. They found that seven of the Berri clan were involved in killing and they decided to execute them. Others are kept for trial after the collapse of the regime.

We are keeping a lot of prisoners for trial after the collapse of the regime as long as their hands are clean of the Syrian people's blood, otherwise we kill them immediately.
Activists THE_47th also Tweeted the following
Chiefs of Baggara, Berri & other pro Assad Tribes in Aleppo met this morning and announce arming themselves for vengeance.
I'm being told that among the tribes that net are Hasasne & Zeido. Together with Baggara & Berry, they have no less than 20k fighters.
I think Aleppo is going to witness a major war: FSA against Assad Forces & Arab tribes who want retribution for death of Zaido Berri.
Update August 1st This video was Tweeted by J. David Goodman appearing to show the FSA inside Zaino Berri's home

Update August 1st J. David Goodman has put together a post on the New York Times covering the reaction to the execution and the story behind it.  The Syrian also has an article on the execution in Arabic.

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com


  1. Furthermore:
    The idea of a defense lawyer in a revolution is totally wrong.
    In a revolution, the only Justice System is the Revolution - the old system which was used to protect the status quo of the old order is demolished.
    Those captured in revolutionary struggle are prisoners of revolution and therefore 'de facto' subject to arbitrary revolutionary justice by the representatives of the revolution. In a revolution , it is suicide to empower the enemies of the revolution in any way. Any defense lawyer should be arrested for treason and executed alongside the tyrants.
    These men all had their trial, the revolution was the trial, the jury was a sea of martyrs. A revolution is not a civil dispute in a courtroom in which the tyrants are allowed to make trouble and create more destruction for the revolution.
    A revolution is the cleansing of a tyrant and a tyrant class with extreme immediacy and with extreme prejudice.The model of courtroom trials and defense layers belong to a static society in which the order is maintained. A revolution destroys the old order, therefore no process can be used that empowers the old order.
    Max Brenner

  2. Rebels are criminals, they don't deserve any support. Let our government see this atrocity before thinking about supporting these islamic terrorists.

    1. Unfortunately there are criminals in the opposition. As there are - erm: quite a few in the syrian government. For a few months I thought, Assad - having lived in the west and havin seen the other revolutions before - would be wise enough to negotiate. To "risk something": a peaceful solution. But from the start the killing of unarmed demonstrators raised the stakes, and only then the FSA came to life. Assad and his government did choose a bad way: they thought, they could keep the opposition down by means of repression as so many decades before. But the fear is gone. Maybe Assad did or does think, that IF he was to go, Syria should be destroyed. But this, sorry, is just mere Hitlerism.

    2. The opposition have a free license to kill, since they feel they are supported by the west. Expect the worst footage soon to come.

      What's even more worrying, the FSA seem to be allied with the islamist extremist. This war isn't a simple black and white issue.

    3. The FSA are accepting help from the extremists, it's not the same thing as being allied with them.
      Even the CIA does and did the same thing.
      That's the West's critical mistake, they all stood back and watched the Syrians be massacred and did nothing so the extremists stepped in to fill the void.

      On one side is tyranny and on the other is freedom, it's cut and dried. If the West doesn't want to force the revolution into the hands of Islam they had better get in there and help.
      The FSA and half of Aleppo may yet be massacred by Assad, ..but one thing is for sure - those evil torturers and murderers of the Berri clan will never walk the earth again.
      That's a grim satisfaction but a satisfaction of justice - the only justice that could be obtained in the current situation.
      Max Brenner

  3. " Chiefs of Baggara, Berri & other pro Assad Tribes in Aleppo met this morning and announce arming themselves for vengeance.
    I'm being told that among the tribes that net are Hasasne & Zeido. Together with Baggara & Berry, they have no less than 20k fighters."

    This is propagnda meant to terrorize the FSA. The truth is those Pro-Assad tribes are already fighting against the FSA and the Syrian people and they must be put downn and send to Hades along with the rest of the Assad criminals.

  4. Article fron 'the independent' newspaper british press

    1. Shows opinion from a member from the berre clan. Interesting read.

      What this incident has done is 1, incited more hatered and zeal from berre clan and its allies
      2, allowed world media another talking opportunity for at least a few days until the next 'massacre'

      Biggest mistake from FSA was releasing the videos immediately. The nature of the killing and the timing has backfired on FSA on this occasion.

      It also shows this conflict is quite complex and cant just be attributed to secterinism, as ultimately this was sunni vs sunni. I'm not down with the BS from syrian or iranian Media outlets, but also I think the pro FSA media and western media are over simplifying the problems here and only giving coverage from one perspective.

      A fact is, the revolution is not supported by many of the city folk pro regime or otherwise. No one in aleppo wants their home to tu

    2. "What this incident has done is 1, incited more hatred and zeal from Berri clan and its allies"

      That's an old bullying propaganda technique.
      "Don't fight back you'll make them mad".
      The Barri Clan and it's allies were already massacring and murdering Syrians for many years - they couldn't get more evil or have more hatred, the only problem now is to make them more dead and make sure none of them walk to earth to oppress humans ever again.
      May Assad and all his allies rot in Hades as soon as possible.

    3. i was talking more about releasing the video immediately.

      for example the young boy whowas tortured and returned to his family. if he wasn't returned

    4. for example the young boy tortured by the regime and the n returned to his family. if he wasnt returned or filmed after being returned, the world would not have been so shocked. same with massacres around homs, no one in the world would have heard of shabbiha.

      but the syrians who have suffered have always known about these things happening.

      likewise, not saying FSA were wrong to do what they did, just that to win a praganda war and get world media on side, they could have avoided releasing the video until later on in the conflict.

      from what ive read, the video made the already hostile clans who rely on the regime take up arms against FSA on a large scale. these are sunnis who are staunchly in favour of government and they will do anything to keep that status with regime.

  5. Within 60 days none of it will matter , Assad and his minions will be gone and all you Assad fans will have to find some other Hitler to worship.
    Your other heroes are in Iran and Lebanon, They'll be next.

  6. more news:

    zaid benjamin who has worked for arabiya andnaljazeera is saying. FSA are going to investifgate the barri killing, amd are putting the blame on an 'alqaeda' group futuh nusrah brigade. the group has been more in the spotlight recently with numerous western media mentioing them, known for their speciality in IEDs.

    anyway, this to me looks like US or the media is putting this pressure on FSA to try and distance themselves from alqaeda. imo unless they are getting something really good in return they should not shun help from this brigade and hang em out to dry - afterall its syrians and others offering their blood while others are just reporting in other countries. if Us have promised 'other assistance' if they can ensure terrorists are nit part of FSA then good but if they are not going to get any help, then is it worth losing an ally like futuh nusrah?

    reports have suggested Assad is getting assistance from men in hezbollah. Iran has provided 4000 of its ghulat shia who wish to kill sunnis. and you have russia and china providing massive and deadly Arms, helicopters and vehicles. So IMO, FSA who dont even have enough ak47 ammo need all the help they can get.