Friday, March 16, 2018

Desperation in Syria

"More than five thousand people are at risk of annihilation. Please get our voice out to the world, this might be the last message I'm able to send."
"The wounded are in the streets and the planes are targeting anything that moves."
"The regime forces came from the east side. I tried to escape but I couldn't. I witnessed an entire family getting killed by an air strike in front of me."
"I'm by a basement now trying to send this to you."
Syrian doctor, Hammouriyeh, Eastern Ghouta

"The tragedy just repeats and repeats on an endless loop and each time we lost a bit more of our humanity."
"And what will be left by the end [when the civil war finally concludes]?"
"Absolutely nothing."
Jawad Abu Hatab, prime minister, opposition Syrian Interim Government 
Syrian civilians evacuated from the Eastern Ghouta enclave pass with belongings through the corridor opened by government forces in Hawsh al-Ashaari, east of the enclave town of Hamouria on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on March 15, 2018
Syrian civilians fleeing Thursday from the Eastern Ghouta enclave pass with belongings through the regime controlled "humanitarian" corridor opened by government forces in Hawsh al-Ashaari, on the outskirts of Damascus. Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images
"Most of the children who die have been shelled in the head or have injuries in their abdomen or bowels. And I have seen some cases of penetrating wounds directly in the heart."
"These children need specialist surgeons and seven or 14 days in intensive care. Many could be saved. In London they could be saved. In Ghouta we cannot do anything. We try to stop the bleeding and make it OK for them, then we allow them to die."
"We do not know in the future if she [18-month old child] will walk or if her leg will be only a picture of a leg. But she is alive." 
"When we are dealing with children, we hope God will look to them. I'm sorry, words cannot express this."
Dr. Hamid, 50, Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus
A Syrian girl receives treatment in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on March 7, 2018.
A Syrian girl receives treatment at a hospital in the city of Douma in the Eastern Ghouta  AFP
The Syrian civil war is extending now into its eighth year of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad coping with the "terrorists" that are in fact his Syrian Sunni citizens and whom he has been laying starvation siege to, chemical bombing, barrel bombing, strafing, arresting, torturing and killing since they had the unmitigated gall in 2011 to launch peaceful demonstrations asking for equal treatment from the Baathist Alawite government. An appeal that immediately identified them as terrorists and which targeted them for obliteration.

Of the pre-war population of 22-million people, fully half are refugees; half displaced within Syria, another half outside Syria, many of whom are desperate to be anywhere but Syria where they no longer have a future and will forever mourn all that they have lost, wherever they end up. It's hard to say whether they're the fortunate ones, who have escaped with their lives, or unfortunate that they still have their lives and nothing else, taking them into a bleak future.
A massive escalation of force that began last month has devastated towns and cities in the Eastern Ghouta
A massive escalation of force that began last month has devastated towns and cities in the Eastern Ghouta EPA

The Syrian Sunnis represented the majority Syrian population. Their militias gained a firm handle on opposing the Syrian military despite the military's superior grade weaponry that a state acquires. But it wasn't just the Syrian regime that was arrayed against them, but the al-Quds branch of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps, and their proxy suicide military, Hezbollah, later joined by Shiite militias all of whom hate Sunnis and are glad for the opportunity to clash with and liquidate them. Even then, the opposition was holding its own, until the entry of Russia.

Russian air cover was instrumental entirely in turning the tide. Russian pilots of warplanes instructed not to spare schools, markets and above all hospitals. While the world watched aghast as Assad unleashed hell on his civilian population, the Security Council was ineffective with Russia vetoing any sanctions against Syria, seconded by China. When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant came on the scene, eclipsing all the other jihadist groups that had infiltrated Syria, Western nations refocused and identified it as the dire enemy of civilization.
An injured child receives first aid in hospital after a bombing in Douma, eastern Ghouta, Syria, 08 February 2018
An injured child lies in hospital after a bombing in Douma, Eastern Ghouta  EPA

ISIL, as depraved and repugnant as it is in its love of committing unspeakable atrocities, never at any time, despite their numbers and the geography they eventually overtook -- and the horrors inflicted in the helpless Yazidi population -- managed to destroy, maim and slaughter as many people wholesale as did the Syrian regime. Assad warned the West in the early days of the conflict that the entire Mideast region would be roiled, and this is pretty much what has happened, but would not have, had NATO and particularly the U.S. and the Arab League taken steps to stop the Syrian carnage.

Now Syrian civilians are streaming out of East Ghouta as a "humanitarian" courtesy compliments of Syria and Russia, just as a "humanitarian" corridor has been opened in Afrin by Turkey to allow residents to escape the constant mortar bombardment killing civilians there in aid of Erdogan's pledge to rid the region of the presence of Syrian Kurds who in his opinion have taken land belonging to Arabs, even while Turkey remains in firm possession of land historically and by heritage right belonging to Kurds.

BBC map


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