"About 1,500 protesters came.....They requested the release of an injured protester who was inside the hospital. They held olive branches. They had no arms. There were 35 army soldiers and about 50 mukhabarat personnel at the checkpoint. We also had a jeep with a mounted machine-gun. When the protesters were less than 100 meters away, we opened fire."Human Rights Watch has compiled the accounts and it shows that this isn't merely some undertaking by rogue agents within the Syrian security apparatus, but a concerted effort to silence the protesters by any means necessary. These are actions ordered from the regime's highest levels and again exposes the lies that Assad makes on a near daily basis about the ongoing violence in his country.
These statements are part of the testimony of two Syrian soldiers who say they deserted after being ordered by officers to fire on unarmed protesters.
They are among 63 who have fled to neighboring countries and told Human Rights Watch of their experiences. The organization has documented incidents where soldiers say they were ordered to kill or torture protestors, went on looting rampages or witnessed other soldiers being shot or tortured for disobeying orders or desertion.
The report, released Thursday, is titled, "By All Means Necessary," borrows the language allegedly used by officers as they issued orders to soldiers to put down protests. It identifies 74 commanders and officials accused of ordering attacks on unarmed protesters.
The violence is being perpetrated by Assad against the Syrian people, and the Syrians' only crime is that they've raised their voices against a corrupt and unjust regime. In fact, the regime's actions constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes under the applicable international law and treaties.
That China and Russia continue protecting Assad by thwarting action at the UN that might force Assad into stopping the crackdown is also quite troublesome and shows the limits on protecting human rights.