Rise to Peace blog

Harrowing Death, Calls For Action: The Syrian Genocide Persists

The Assad regime has been conducting airstrikes on its own citizens for six years now. To date, more than a quarter million civilians have perished. Hundreds of thousands more have been burned, dismembered, or otherwise scarred physically and psychologically.

Diana Semaan, a Syria researcher at Amnesty International, commented on the matter saying, “For six years, the international community has stood by as the Syrian government has committed crimes against humanity and war crimes with total impunity” [1]. Dispiritingly, all the international community can do now, it seems, is help the victims as best they can.

The cry for help is at its latest peak as more than 500 Syrians have been killed this week in the suburbs of Eastern Ghouta. More than 1,000 have been injured. [2] Russian-backed Syrian forces claim they are trying to uproot rebels, but civilians comprise the majority of the casualties. “Nearly 400,000 people live in Eastern Ghouta. They account for 94% of all currently besieged Syrians.” The airstrikes, suffice it to say, are ineffective at targeting so-called rebels.

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© Amar Al Bushy/Al Jazeera – Survivors of the latest bombings in Eastern Ghouta struggle with horrific destruction and loss of life

On Friday, February 23rd, 2018 the United Nations will be voting on a “30-day truce in Syria to allow [much needed] aid deliveries and medical evacuations” [3]. Medical supplies could be delivered and those who are critically wounded could be evacuated to receive life-saving treatment. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has demanded before the U.N. that there be, “An immediate end to ‘war activities’ there.” [3] The resolution might sound like progress. But Russia, Bashar al-Assad’s key backer, is a U.N. Security Council member and is likely to veto the resolution. It has already, “…cast 11 vetoes on possible Security Council action on Syria since its civil war began in 2011,” [3].

So many images, tweets, news reports, and videos have emerged from Syria over what has already been so many years revealing devastation and disarray. It sometimes seems there is little that can be done. The U.N. tries to step in, but Syria has become a frenzy over power, religion, and territory. Russia, Iran, Turkey and the United States all have equities in Syria, making it all but impossible to give precedence to the Syrian people’s needs.

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© Dominic Waghorn/Sky News – Balkanization makes Syrians’ homeland a self-perpetuating warzone

“Ghouta will fall,” says Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the online British newspaper The Independent, and once it does, “Idlib must surely be next” [4]. The carnage will not end anytime soon. All we can do is help those who suffer the brutal consequences of the war, day after day, especially the children. They should remain central to what is fought for in Syria.

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© Ghouta Media Center- Syrian children flee a kindergarten bombing in Eastern Ghouta


Sources:

  1. https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/20/middleeast/syria-eastern-ghouta-deadliest-day-intl/index.html
  2. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/rights-group-turkey-avoiding-civilians-syria-strikes-53297707
  3. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-un/u-n-security-council-to-vote-on-friday-on-demand-for-syria-truce-idUSKCN1G70E8
  4. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-civil-war-eastern-ghouta-assad-regime-rebels-talks-artillery-air-strikes-a8224701.html     

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