Saturday, February 10, 2018

Syrian Crimes Against Humanity

U.S. Troops in Syria   AP
"We estimate more than one hundred Syrian pro-regime forces were killed while engaging SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] and coalition forces."
"The coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression."
U.S. military official

"There is a new massacre in eastern Ghouta and new violations against humanity. The planes are always in the skies of Ghouta, the markets and homes are being bombed, there are martyrs and wounded, and God is our only solace."
"There is no safe place in Ghouta. You can describe it with this saying we have: in addition to death, the graves are too small."
Raed Srewel, journalist, Douma, Syria

Western forces of the U.S.-led coalition carried out the largest strike of deliberation in the face of an "unprovoked attack" against the Syrian Democratic Forces rebels fighting ISIL in Syria, to date. This attack has been called "a war crime and a crime against humanity" by the Syrian regime. The appalling brutality of the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria in targeting its Syrian Sunni population resembles nothing so much as genocide in the numbers involved; close to a half million dead, truly "a war crime and a crime against humanity" perpetrated by Syria's Alawite Shiite regime.

The province of Deir Ezzor in the Euphrates River valley where ISIL remnants still hold some territory, under immense pressure from Syrian Forces and the SDF was the venue of the attack. There were greater numbers of casualties in this strike than any others mounted by the United States and its allies on government troops, though a similar number was killed in a strike characterized as accidental in 2016.

At that time, also in Deir Ezzor, U.S. forces thought they were targeting ISIL fighters, not Syrian troops. The simple fact is, Syrian troops use techniques very similar to those employed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and in the process of siege warfare, barrel bombing, chlorine gas attacks and the bombing of hospitals and schools, apartment houses and medical clinics have slaughtered more civilians than ISIL had ever undertaken to achieve. Not to mention the millions of displaced Syrians and those millions now refugees finding haven in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

The U.S. was brought to this deliberate attack against Syrian troops after an estimated 500 pro-regime troops, along with tanks and artillery, launched a coordinated attack on an SDF headquarters. According to the Pentagon, the United States was "not looking for conflict with the regime", merely opening fire in defence of the SDF. The message would be a trifle more commanding if the U.S. decided to once again bomb a Syrian airfield in response to Syrian use of chemical weapons on its civilians.

Through the "deconfliction channel" with Russia, allied with the Syrian regime, the U.S. informed Moscow of its intention, to ensure any accidental conflict would be avoided. Russia had responded by assuring its aircraft would not launch reactive strikes against the coalition in support of Syrian regime troops.

SDF fighters in Syria, file image
US-allied SDF fighters control territory east of the River Euphrates   Reuters

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