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Assad forces dig up graves of revolution commanders

(Zaman Al Wasl)- On September 7, 2011, Syria lost one of its revolution’s icons, Bilal Al-Kin, who was the thorn in the regime's side, both dead and alive, mourning his loss but following in his footsteps. 

Activist Yaman Al-Homsi said that Al-Kin was a strong-willed young man who grew up in the Jourat Al-Shayah neighbourhood in the central city of Homs. He was conscripted between 1999 and 2000, and was convicted of burning a weapons warehouse and was sentenced to prison, which he left in 2010.

Bilal joined the rest of Homs’ youth in the revolution. On March 25, 2011, Security and Shabiha stormed the homes of the residents of Jourat Al-Shayah and assaulted them. Bilal had hit one of the Shabiha who arrested his mother, making him the most wanted in the whole city.

Bilal was one of the guardians of the protestors during their prayers until the day of the great sit-in, which transformed his life altogether. Bilal, then, decided to forcefully defend the innocent, taking up arms against the regime’s tyranny. The young rebel chose to leave his neighborhood to keep it safe from the regime’s attacks, as it was a passage for the injured to hospitals.   ilal moved between Khalidiya and Old Homs, and a fair share of other rebelling areas.

With the increased aggression and criminality of the regime against the people of the city, Al-Kin was able to gather a number of brave men, creating, according to Al-Homsi, one of the first fighting groups in the city, which he later called “Khalid Ibn Al-Walid”. The group started operating under cover of night, attacking Shabiha locations and barriers. Bilal’s name became a nightmare for Shabiha and branches of security, the losses of the regime increasing tenfold in Homs, with the city's release from its grip around the corner. The martyr’s friend said that he terrified the regime not only because of his prowess, but because people began to rally around him. Bilal expanded his resistance beyond the neighborhoods of Homs to the countryside, coordinating with activists and rebels to form a united brigade.

By September 2011, after 6 months of resistance in Homs, the reigme mobilized its ful forces to eliminate “the breeding ground of terrorism”, sending the Fourth Division with infantry and tank divisions to put an end to the revolution in Homs. War erupted in the streets with two days of one-sided battles between Shabiha and the revolutionaries, during which Bilal and his companions managed to take down dozens of regime forces, who, in turn increased the intensity of shelling and fire, burning down houses and foreshadowing a human catastrophe.

Their families and other people appealed Bilal and his companions to leave before they were besieged, which, according to Al-Homsi, Bilal refused to withdraw, vowing to either die a martyr or defeat the regime and liberate the people from its injustice.

With the regime forces’ advancement faltering, they switched to a new tactic, infiltrating the roofs of the buildings and deploying snipers on the towers surrounding Al-Warsha and Bustan Al-Diwan area, as well as the rest of the resistance areas throughout the city. Thus, casualties began to grow in numbers in the ranks of the resistance. Among them was the hero Louay, known as “Mimati”, who was shot in the leg.

While evacuating the wounded and moving for cover, one of the snipers managed to hit Bilal, with the bullet entering from the back of his head and lodging under his eye. Al-Homsi said that no one believed that Bilal had been martyred, that a mere shot might take his life, to them he was invincible, walking the ground like a tank and standing tall like a mountain. September 7, 2011 was a sad day, in which Homs and its revolutionaries wept. His death was announced the next morning after securing his burial in Nakhla Al-Omari mosque.

Al-Homsi revealed that the regime left no stone unturned searching for Bilal, arresting wounded people from Al-Bar Hospital that same day. And after discovering the location of Bilal’s body, along with his companions Ahmed Al-Nakdali and Omar Shtur, the regime extracted their bodies, circulating Bilal’s in loyalist neighborhoods to reassure Shabiha that the nightmare has ended, thinking that they had defeated Homs. His body was then returned to the military hospital, with the regime preventing everyone from attending his funeral except for his mother, two of his relatives and the guardian of the Nasr cemetery.

His martyrdom concluded a heroic life that was a symbol of his honor, his revolution, and the clarity of his goal, a true hero that was adored by many, an adoration which was the source of his strength and his symbolism. 

By Faris al-Rifai

Zaman Al Wasl
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