A probe supported by a British advocacy group into attacks by Syrian government forces that left 700 people dead in Darayya, Syria 10 years ago has revealed Iranian and Hezbollah militias’ involvement.
A team of investigators from Syria, or of Syrian descent, backed by the Syrian British Consortium (SBC) advocacy group, tracked down survivors and witnesses from around the world to analyze their testimonies, and published their findings on Thursday, hoping that UN bodies and other legal institutions use the report to prosecute some of those responsible.
The report said investigators were able to identify government forces and Iranian and Hezbollah militias involved in the attacks by their uniforms, insignia and weaponry, including types of tanks, as well as how members of the units addressed each other.
The team also identified some individuals responsible. “This investigation reveals that the Assad Government and supporting Hezbollah and Iranian militias engaged in a systematic attack against the civilian population of Darayya from August 20 to 26, 2012”, as they advanced against the town from multiple directions and indiscriminately attacked neighborhoods by shelling and airstrikes, and deliberately targeted hospitals.
Reports regarding the involvement of Iranian troops grew after August 5, 2012 (two weeks before the Darayya massacre), when a Free Syrian Army brigade captured 48 active-duty members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the southeastern part of Damascus, a few kilometers away from Darayya.
One witness told researchers that the scene at the hospital after one attack was “horrific, like doomsday”. “Everyone was looking for their loved ones, trying to get them treatment. People were running and hiding.”