Fighting in Syria has been relentless for more than two years. During this time as many as 120,000 people have been killed, including many women, children, and other civilians who wanted nothing to do with any sort of fighting.
It’s news that’s gone on for so long, with so little response, that it’s become easier to glaze over each new atrocity than to pay attention to any of them.
Monday’s tally of up to 500 dead is the largest single day total of the entire war, and it should also be the one incident that makes everyone stop and ask what we can do to help these people. Opposition leaders confirm 109 dead with up to 400 more suspected fatalities as the body count continues to climb.
Nearly five days ago, Assad’s forces surrounded a small suburb west of his Damascus stronghold, where some rebels had taken refuge among civilians. His forces shut off all power and water before shelling the town with artillery and sending in loyalist forces to do what they would, according to the Washington Post.
Amid the shooting and the mayhem, Assad’s troops took time to loot stores and systematically execute the few opposition members who found medical care in the makeshift hospital, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based activist group. Once the town was fully in their grasp, Assad’s forces allegedly paraded dead bodies on open trucks through the western part of the capital.
The massacre took place in a working class suburb called Jdeidet al-Fadel that has the misfortune of sitting beneath the hilltop base of Assad’s elite sect of Alawite forces.
Assad’s family belongs to the Alawite sect, along with just about 12 per cent of Syria’s 3 million citizens. A small number of people who’ve ruled the country for 50 years and will not let go of power until someone takes it from them.
Perhaps the time is coming when we’ll see who that might be.
The U.S. has 200 troops en route to the Syrian border in Jordan, and could bump that number up to 20,000 if it decides to intervene. It’s the first official American move toward direct Syrian involvement.
With Israel’s Tuesday announcement that Assad is increasing his use of nerve gas on the rebels, there’s no doubt officials there are increasingly concerned at what may become of Syria’s massive chemical stockpiles.
It’s a concern that has prompted Israel to ask for and receive use of Jordanian airspace for its drone operations into Syria.
Armed, but geared for surveillance, the UAV’s could be a genuine asset should the world finally decide to intervene in a long and bloody conflict most people just want to ignore.
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