Saturday, July 23, 2011

Assad's Crackdown Continues

Bashar Assad's regime continues to brutally crack down against protesters throughout Syria. Much of what the world knows about the ongoing suppression of protests comes from videos and reports smuggled out; the state-run media is a propaganda outlet for Assad.

Yet, we're learning that there may be cracks in the facade of the Syrian military or the opposition has moved into a new phase of fighting the regime with actual force. Reports indicate that there were a series of explosions at the Syrian War College in Homs. Homs has been an epicenter of protests against the regime, so this could be opposition groups taking up arms against the military. At the same time, other reports indicated that unknown individuals sabotaged a train that derailed. Assad's regime blames the protesters.

The UN has come out with its harshest assessment of the situation in Syria; fearing that Assad's regime has carried out crimes against humanity in the brutal crackdown.
The UN concerns were expressed in a statement late Friday by Francis Deng, special adviser to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the prevention of genocide, and Edward Luck, the special adviser on the responsibility to protect.

"Based on available information, the special advisers consider that the scale and gravity of the violations indicate a serious possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed and continue to be committed in Syria," the joint statement said.

The two called for an "independent, thorough, and objective investigation" of the events in Syria.

They echoed calls by Ban to the Syrian government to allow humanitarian access to areas affected by the unrest and to facilitate the visit of the UN Human Rights Council-mandated fact-finding mission to the country.

"Without these steps, it will be very difficult to defuse existing tensions and to prevent the escalation of violence," they said.

"All actors involved in the current crisis in Syria are urged to refrain from the use of force, from acts of violence, or from incitement to violence."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 1,483 civilians have been killed in four months of protests, and thousands more have been arrested.
I know that's not much, but it's a recognition of the seriousness of the situation. As I've said in the past, if the opposition in Syria gets its act together and forms a group that the international community can recognize as a legitimate opposition, the UN and Western leaders may devote more resources to toppling Assad's regime.

Protesters continue to be murdered by pro-regime militias, who are taking the fight to the protesters all over the country.

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