Home Investigative Reports Masked Men Attack a Medical Staff Member in Eastern Ghouta

Masked Men Attack a Medical Staff Member in Eastern Ghouta

"Activists Attributed the Incident to the Doctor's Criticism of the Armed Opposition Factions in Eastern Ghouta"

by wael.m
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Veiled gunmen attacked Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal, from Duma city, while he was at his ranch on the outskirts of Duma that is held by the Army of Islam’s[1], at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, 9 November 2017. The attackers fired live bullets at him after beating him severely, necessitating his transfer to the intensive care unit in a city hospital. According to Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ reporter, the police station of the Army of Islam in Duma has ignored the case, arguing that the attacked person and his family have not submitted any formal report.
Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal, who hails from Duma city, studied Medicine at Damascus University, and specialized in orthopedic surgery. He was among the first doctors who have treated the wounded since the outbreak of public protests in Syria in March 2011.  The Syrian regular forces arrested him prior losing control over Eastern Ghouta, which then in late October 2012, fell under the control of the Syrian armed opposition factions. He continued his humanitarian action without being spared from harassment; the Army of Islam arrested him in August 2016, because of his repeated criticism to the factions’ practices, as many eyewitnesses and residents of the city confirmed to STJ.

Activists had attributed the attack against Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal to his Facebook post on Wednesday, 8 November 2017, just one day prior the attack; he had published a post in which he criticized Syrian armed opposition factions’ leaders in Eastern Ghouta and blamed them for the recent deterioration of the situation in Ghouta. Moreover, he stated clearly that leaders must admit failure and inability to manage the problems in Ghouta and leave positions to those most worthy of them.


Image shows of the post published by Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal on Facebook, just one day prior being attacked

 Photo credit: Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal’s Facebook account.


One of the paramedics,[2] who helped Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal, assured to STJ that the doctor could not identify the aggressors because they were veiled, in this regard he added:

"When we first rushed to help Dr. Nu’man, he said to us: "They beat me because I spoke ill of them”, we could not get more details because he was in critical condition; he was shot in the leg and the aggressors had beaten him up on his head and face until he almost lost consciousness. Immediately we took him to the hospital where he was placed in the intensive care unit. Nevertheless, his condition is more stable now."

The media activist (Amer.M)[3] had in turn emphasized the foregoing, as he had learned from the medical staff, who oversaw the treatment of Dr. Nu’man that the aggressors had said to him "That's what you get for abusing your masters". Amer noted that the doctor's ranch, where he was being attacked, is within the areas held by Army of Islam, and most territories there owned by its commanders, so no one dares to enter and hold a weapon there unless he was backed by them.


Image shows marks of beating that Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal had subjected to in the attack on Thursday 9 November 2017.

 Photo credit: Ghouta Media Centre’s Facebook page.


In turn, Mohammed Mustafa Aloush, director of the political office of the Army of Islam, denied these accusations, indirectly, through a post on his Telegram channel on 9 November 2017, specifically after an hour and a half of the assault on Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal. He said: “When we first fought the masked men and accused them of being spies since they entered the city, many of the compromise solutions advocates criticized our actions, and this is the result … etc.”


Image shows the post published by Mohammed Mustafa Aloush, director of the political office of the Army of Islam, on 9 November 2017, in which he indirectly denied accusing the Army of Islam of attacking
Dr. Nu’man al-Fawal

Photo credit: the director of the political office of the Army of Islam, Mohammed Mustafa Aloush’s Telegram channel.


STJ had earlier published a report highlighting attacks against medical personnel by Faylaq al-Rahman[4] faction in Madyara town on 13 May 2017.


[1] The Army of Islam: in September 2011, "Zahran Aloush", the former prisoner in Sednaya Prison, announced the formation of the opposition Battalion of Islam that later became, in mid-2012, Liwa al-Islam. On September 29, 2013, the brigade merged with a number of other factions to announce the formation of the "Army of Islam" and later joined Islamic Front, in the same year, including other Islamic brigades like al-Tawhid Brigade, Suqour al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya Movement, and Liwa al-Haqq, and Zahran was the commander. The army is now mainly active in the Eastern Ghouta area of Damascus countryside, but is also located in most areas out of control of the Syrian government except areas under ISIS and the Syrian Democratic Forces/SDF.

[2] He refused to disclose his identity for security purposes.

[3] An alias, for security purposes.

[4] At the beginning of August 2012, the formation of  al-Baraa Brigade, led by dissent  captain "Abdel Nasser Shammeir" who hails from Homs province, was announced and.  At the end of 2013, the brigade expanded after several brigades and factions joined it, including Abu Musa al-Ash’ari brigade, Liwa Shuhada al-Ghouta, Ahl al-Sham Brigades, al-Liwa al-Awal in Qaboun and Tishreen neighborhood, and al-Adiyat Battalion in Western Ghouta. According to several sources, this brigade has about 9,000 fighters. It gains influence from its areas in the neighborhoods of the east of the capital, such as Jobar, Zamalka and others, and is the second largest opposition military faction in Ghouta, after Army of Islam.

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