On the “Buried Alive” Video
Yesterday a video was posted to the internet and claimed to be leaked by Syrian soldiers loyal to Bashar Al-Assad.
The video showed a man buried up to his neck. Soldiers speaking off camera are heard accusing him of trying to film footage and sell it to satellite TV channels. The soldiers identify the man as from the town of Qusair, in Homs. They are heard taunting him, ordering the man to say “I witness that there is no God but Bashar.” However, the man refuses and instead says “I witness that there is no God but God.” The commanding officer then issues an order and the soldiers continue covering the man’s head with soil, completing the burial. The video cuts off there and the fate of the man is not known.
Suspicions about the authenticity of the video arose immediately due to several factors. The video’s original publisher is not known and it was not carried by any of the known activist networks in Syria. The earliest copy of the video, which was traced back to a Facebook rather than YouTube post (which is the standard), has since been deleted.
Al-Ayyam has been in contact with activists and FSA officers throughout Homs. Activists in Qusair investigated the claim that the man is from their town. Unfortunately as the man’s face is covered in the video he could not be identified. However, the activists report that all their peers are accounted for. Their efforts included surveying refugees from Qusair in other towns, however, it is impossible to completely rule out that the man is in fact from their town.
Other activists and local news networks in Homs did not have any information about the publisher of the burial video either, nor any leads for us to follow. FSA officers operating within the Central Regions Command which encompasses Qusair said they could not even confirm that the video was filmed in Homs.
There is great interest in this video by the media and activists alike. However, given the circumstances in Syria any real investigation is impossible. This is something we would usually automatically file “controversial and unverifiable” but given its significance we will continue to monitor developments in hopes for a breakthrough. (Hopefully someone will do a frame-by-frame analysis).