"I saw one man—he was hit by three bullets, and fell on the ground. He was clearly dead. The security forces ran toward him, and, although he was already dead, started beating him with sticks on the face. Nobody could stop them, and when we finally managed to retrieve the body, it was unrecognizable—we could only identify the man because he had his civil identification card in his pocket." - "Ahmed", a Syrian protester
HRW compiled 50 interviews from eyewitnesses, who accounted horrific details of abuse and murder at the hands of the Syrian regime, including the Mukhabarat (secret police).
I encourage you to read the entire report. The eyewitness accounts are truly eye-opening, even for those who stay on top of news from Syria.
Below are a few excerpts.
On May 1, 20-26 men were executed in a football field in Daraa:
We were brought to the football field where I managed to take my blindfold off. There were about 2,000 detainees there. They brought me there at around 6 a.m., and several hours later the guards went around the field, randomly picking some detainees. I counted them—they picked 26 people, all young, physically fit men. As they picked them, they would say “we found weapons on you.” I knew one man, his name is Taleb, his wife is from our neighborhood.
[…] One of the soldiers, I think he was an officer, but I don’t know for sure, raised his hand, and waved, and they fired, without saying anything. It was automatic gun fire, and the 26 men immediately fell on the ground.
Due to no electricity in morgues and the lack of identification by relatives, many bodies were stored in refrigerators:
On the first day of the siege, we took one of the refrigerators and started using it to store the bodies. We parked it in the eastern cemetery and would bring the bodies there at night, secretly. On the first day of the siege, between 5 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., we put 14 bodies in this one truck. By the tenth day of the siege, there were about 50 bodies in there, including two women, a 14-year-old girl, and four soldiers who refused to shoot at the protesters and got killed by mukhabarat. From people in other neighborhoods we heard there were at least two other refrigerators like this one where they stored the bodies.
On April 22, security forces trapped 300-400 people on a bridge near Izraa and opened fire:
They let us through the first checkpoint and then trapped us on the bridge, not letting us through. We were about 300-400 people on the 70-meters-long, 9-meters-wide bridge. As we were trapped in the middle, security forces opened fire—not from the checkpoints; it came from the side. […] I saw a 7-year-old boy hit in the head right next to me (I later leant that he was from Namer, his name was Muhammad Ibrahim Hamoudeh), and three other young men—they were all hit in the head and died on the spot. About 20 people were wounded—we managed to carry them all away.
In a suburb of Daraa, the Mukhabarat shouted at a man to stop his motorcycle. They murdered him on the spot:
[23-year-old] Rateb stopped and started getting off his motorcycle. Mukhabarat, in camouflage uniforms, with green straps in their shoulders, were just two meters away from him—it was right in front of my house. They did not say anything. One of the agents just shot him in the head, right into his forehead, as he was getting off his bike. They shot him and simply walked away.
Syrian soldiers who refused to shoot protesters were shot:
Several days after Daraa came under siege, I was on Yarmuk street in the city. A group of people there were throwing stones at a sniper placed on one of the buildings. Security forces then sent an APC to stop them. The APC stopped near a local school, and six soldiers got out. But instead of shooting at the people, they immediately dropped their weapons, raised their hands, and said they were with the people. Snipers opened fire, and hit four of the soldiers in the back, while the remaining two managed to run away with the people.