Syrian rebels targeting gays

Gays are being targeted by Islamist elements within the Syrian Opposition forces, and refugees have spoken of being blackmailed, robbed and tortured and of friends being taken away and killed by foreign fighters

Syrian rebels targeting gays
13 November 2013

Islamist elements in the Syrian Uprising are targeting homosexuals in the country, according to a special report in Vice magazine, with foreign Jihadis often blamed by the refugees who spoke to the magazine.

Vice’s Hannah Lucinda Smith spoke to seven Syrian gay men who have fled the country and they told stories of torture, blackmail and of death threats and having gay friends disappear.

The refugees say that once militants find a homosexual they will then torture them to reveal all their gay friends and then round them up too.

‘Ram’ told Vice how he had been lured into a trap by militants.

‘I got a phone call from my friend,’ Ram said, ‘He asked me to come over to his house because he’d lost all his money and he needed my help.’

‘When I entered the house, a big guy was waiting—he had a beard and was holding a cattle prod. He told me to enter, and I was afraid that he would hit me with it, so I did as he told me. That house used to be a place of joy and happiness, but when I entered, it smelt of blood.’

Ram soon learned of the ordeal his friends had been put through before giving him up.

‘One said he had been raped with something and he was bleeding. He was crying because of the pain, but I think also because he was scared that they would do the same to me. Both had been hit on the testicles with the cattle prod.’

Three hours later a vehicle arrived to take them away and Ram knew he had to escape.

‘When they got me out to the entrance, I saw my chance,’ Ram said.

‘They hadn’t tied my hands properly and one of them had come loose. I kicked the man who was holding me in the balls and ran towards the souk. I knew that the [Syrian] army was there and so the kidnappers couldn’t come after me.’

Ram told Vice the men in the vehicle had not been Syrians and he believes they were Chechens.

‘They kept telling me to say that Allah is the only God, and they told me that killing me is halal [allowed] because I am a Druze,’ Ram said.

‘Shadi’ told of a similar ordeal at the hands of the Jabhat al-Nusra Islamist militia after a friend joined the group.

‘It started when one of my gay friends disappeared,’ he said.

‘When he reappeared two weeks later it was obvious that he’d been at a Nusra training camp, and he started blackmailing all of his gay friends, using the photos and videos that he had of us. He told us that he was simply able to kill us by presenting us to Nusra with the proof he has that we’re gay.’

Shadi said two of his friends who had refused to pay had been killed in cold blood.

‘He shot them with one bullet each,’ Shadi.said.

‘After that, rumors started going around the city that they had been shot because they were gay. We covered the rumors up at first by saying that they had been killed, because they were informants for the regime, but the Nusra guy kept trying to blackmail the rest of us.’

Shadi and Ram both fled Syria for neighboring Lebanon out of fear for their lives.

But unlike other Syrian refugees who arrive in Lebanon, few gay refugees have family support networks they can rely on to support them and many are ending up homeless on the streets.

Gay Syrians have also been used by the Syrian Government as pawns – with the pro-government Baladna newspaper claiming that homosexuals were prospering in Syria thanks to the uprising as the Mukhabarat Syrian secret intelligence service is too busy to round them up.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

Russia bans tribute to gay victims of Nazi Germany

Russia bans tribute to gay victims of Nazi Germany

Gay rights activists have accused the Moscow authorities of condoning Adolf Hitler's actions during the Holocaust by banning a peaceful protest
No thumbnail available

Parents of gay children lobby Chinese government for same-sex marriage

Over 100 parents send open letter to National People's Congress to ask for legalization of same-sex marriage in China
No thumbnail available

Facebook warned over 'third gender' option

Nepal's first openly gay politician Sunil Babu Pant warns Mark Zuckerberg after he failed to address gender concerns
No thumbnail available

Japanese star compares gay marriage to bestiality

Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano says gay marriage would be followed by marriage with beasts
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Gay disability film Morgan hopes to inspire

Gay film tells the story of an athlete who suffered a tragic sports accident, and has to start his life over again
No thumbnail available

Trans model Andreja Pejic wants your help to fund film about her life

‘From a refugee camp to the world’s biggest runways, from androgyny to womanhood,’ trans model and high fashion darling Andreja Pejic has a story she wants you to hear
No thumbnail available

Minnesota House of Reps passes gay marriage bill in 75-59 vote

If also passed by the senate,  Minnesota would become first legislature in Midwest to pass marriage equality
No thumbnail available

Iran gay report highlights isolation, abuse and fear

New report on LGBT people in Iran will be released next week in London
No thumbnail available

REVIEW: Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa, Sussex

Ultra-modern chic meets Elizabethan mystique at this stylish stopover, just 30 minutes from Brighton