- Horror stories-including the use of napalm and chemical
weapons by the US military during the siege of Fallujah-continue to trickle
out from the rubble of the demolished city, carried by weary refugees lucky
enough to have escaped their city.
- A cameraman with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation
(LBC) who witnessed the first eight days of the fighting told of what he
considered atrocities. Burhan Fasa'a has worked for LBC throughout the
occupation of Iraq.
- "I entered Fallujah near the Julan Quarter, which
is near the General Hospital," he said during an interview in Baghdad,
"There were American snipers on top of the hospital shooting everyone."
- He nervously smoked cigarettes throughout the interview,
still visibly shaken by what he saw.
- On November 8, the military was allowing women and children
to leave the city, but none of the men. He was not allowed to enter the
city through one of the main checkpoints, so he circumnavigated Fallujah
and managed to enter, precariously, by walking through a rural area near
the main hospital, then taking a small boat across the river in order to
film from inside the city.
- "Before I found the boat, I was 50 meters from the
hospital where the American snipers were shooting everyone in sight,"
he said, "But I managed to get in."
- He told of bombing so heavy and constant by US warplanes
that rarely a minute passed without the ground's shaking from the bombing
- "The Americans used very heavy bombs to break the
spirit of the fighters in Fallujah," he explained, then holding out
his arms added, "They bombed everything! I mean everything!"
- This went on for the first two days, he said, then on
the third day, columns of tanks and other armored vehicles made their move.
"Huge numbers of tanks and armored vehicles and troops attempted to
enter the north side of Fallujah," he said, "But I filmed at
least twelve US vehicles that were destroyed."
- The military wasn't yet able to push into Fallujah, and
the bombing resumed.
- "I saw at least 200 families who had their homes
collapsed on their heads by American bombs," Burhan said while looking
at the ground, a long ash dangling from his cigarette, "Fallujans
already needed everythingÉI mean they already had no food or medicine.
I saw a huge number of people killed in the northern part of the city,
and most of them were civilians."
- At this point he started to tell story after story of
what he saw during the first week of the siege.
- "The dead were buried in gardens because people
couldn't leave their homes. There were so many people wounded, and with
no medical supplies, people died from their wounds. Everyone in the street
was a target for the Americans; even I saw so many civilians shot by them."
- He looked out the window, taking several deep breaths.
By then, he said, most families had already run out of food. Families were
sneaking through nearby houses to scavenge for food. Water and electricity
had long since been cut.
- The military called over loudspeakers for families to
surrender and come out of their houses, but Burhan said everyone was too
afraid to leave their homes, so soldiers began blasting open the gates
to houses and conducting searches.
- "Americans did not have interpreters with them,
so they entered houses and killed people because they didn't speak English!
They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and shot people because
they didn't obey their orders, even just because the people couldn't understand
a word of English. Ninety-five percent of the people killed in the houses
that I saw were killed because they couldn't speak English."
- His eyes were tearing up, so he lit another cigarette
and continued talking.
- "Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their
orders, so they shot them. But the people just couldn't understand them!"
- He managed to keep filming battles and scenes from inside
the city, some of which he later managed to sell to Reuters, who showed
a few clips of his footage. LBC, he explained, would not show any of the
tapes he submitted to them. He had managed to smuggle most of his tapes
out of the city before his gear was taken from him.
- "The Americans took all of my camera equipment when
they found it. At that time I watched one soldier take money from a small
child in front of everyone in our house."
- Burhan said that when the troops learned he was a journalist,
he was treated worse than the other people in the home where they were
seeking refuge. He was detained, along with several other men, women, and
- "They beat me and cursed me because I work for LBC,
then they interrogated me. They were so angry at al-Jazeera and al-Arabia
- He was held for three days, sleeping on the ground with
no blankets, as did all of the prisoners in a detention camp inside a military
camp outside Fallujah.
- "They arrested over 100 from my area, including
women and kids. We had one toilet, which was in front of where we all were
kept, and everyone was shamed by having to use this in public. There was
no privacy, and the Americans made us use it with handcuffs on."
- He said he wanted to talk more about what he saw inside
Fallujah during the nine days he was there.
- "I saw cluster bombs everywhere, and so many bodies
that were burned, dead with no bullets in them. So they definitely used
fire weapons, especially in Julan district. I watched American snipers
shoot civilians so many times. I saw an American sniper in a minaret of
a mosque shooting everyone that moved."
- He also witnessed something which many refugees from
Fallujah have reported.
- "I saw civilians trying to swim the Euphrates to
escape, and they were all shot by American snipers on the other side of
- The home he was staying in before he was detained was
located near the mosque where the NBC cameraman filmed the execution of
an older, wounded Iraqi man.
- "The mosque where the wounded man was shot that
the NBC cameraman filmed-that is in the Jubail Quarter-I was in that quarter.
Wounded, unarmed people used that mosque for safetyÉI can tell you
there were no weapons in there of any kind because I was in that mosque.
People only hid there for safety. That is all."
- He personally witnessed another horrible event reported
by many of the refugees who reached Baghdad.
- "On Tuesday, November 16th, I saw tanks roll over
the wounded in the streets of the Jumariyah Quarter. There is a public
clinic there, so we call that the clinic street. There had been a heavy
battle in this street, so there were twenty bodies of dead fighters and
some wounded civilians in front of this clinic. I was there at the clinic,
and at 11 a.m. on the 16th I watched tanks roll over the wounded and dead
- After another long pause, he looked out the window for
awhile. Still looking out the window, he said, "During the nine days
I was in Fallujah, all of the wounded men, women, kids and old people,
none of them were evacuated. They either suffered to death, or somehow
- According to the Iraqi Red Crescent, which managed to
get three ambulances into the city on November 14, at least 150 families
remain trapped inside the city. One family was surviving by placing rice
in dirty water, letting it sit for two hours, then eating it. There has
been no power or running water for a month in Fallujah.
- People there are burying body parts from people blown
apart by bombs, as well as skeletons of the dead because their flesh had
been eaten by dogs.
- The military estimates that 2,000 people in Fallujah
were killed, but claims that most of them were fighters. Relief personnel
and locals, however, believe the vast majority of the dead were civilians.
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