The slaughter of innocents in Syria is escalating in a near frenzy of cruelty and sadism. Even women and children have become targets of government forces. International observers estimate that more than 8,000 people have been killed by President Bashar Assad since he began defending and reasserting his total control over his police state against the clamouring from some of his people for some measures of democratic reform 15 months ago. Syrian rebel groups fighting Assad say the death toll has passed 14,000.
Last Sunday alone Syrian troops used heavy weapons in Homs. At least 35 civilians were killed. Dozens were killed over the weekend.
Despite wielding so heavy a blood-stained hand, Assad may in fact be losing control of parts of the country. Last weekend, for example, according to an Al-Arabiya report, rebel forces took control of a Syrian air force base near the city of Homs and with it, of course, control of the surface-to-air-missiles on the base.
Thus, not surprisingly, the deepening chaos and anarchy are causing great consternation in Israel. At a memorial event Sunday in Jerusalem honouring soldiers who fell in the first war in Lebanon, the IDF’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, warned against the possibility that Syria’s chemical arsenal, the world’s largest, might fall into the hands of Iran’s surrogates in Lebanon, Hezbollah, or other terrorist organizations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the situation in Syria as “a massacre of civilians, including of children and the elderly.”
Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said “a crime against humanity – genocide – is being conducted in Syria today. And the silence of the world powers is contrary to all human logic.”
President Shimon Peres added that the world was not doing enough to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
Along with his utter lack of conscience and penchant for prevarication, Assad has now also put on full display his heart of darkness, a sinister, evil place where the lives of people, let alone his own people, are dismissed like detritus thrown onto the streets. Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who had tried to broker an end to the intra-Syrian fighting and who put his faith in the Syrian dictator, is only the most recent witness to Assad’s smiling duplicity and murderous intentions.
Evan Zelikovitz, the Ottawa community activist writing this week in The CJN (See the Perspectives essay) is absolutely correct when he writes about the Assad regime, “We must take sides. The world simply has a moral obligation to do something.”
What the world must do is remove Bashar Assad.