Notes on Current Developments in Syria: January 13, 2014

For long activists have contended that the one true concept that captures the essence of what’s really happening in Syria is: Genocide. They referred to regime prisons as concentration camps dedicated to the liquidation of prisoners, most of who civilians, relatives of activists and rebels, and the peaceful pro-democracy activists themselves, the overwhelming majority of whom hail from an Arab Sunni background. Now, this horrific image currently making round on social media sites seem to capture this truth: the numbers on the rotten cadavers, denote the security branch responsible for this massacre. In this case, it’s the infamous Section 215 of the military intelligence apparatus. The emaciated bodies of the dead underscore the living conditions prevailing in the camps. The picture was reportedly smuggled out by a defector, and while its authenticity is yet to be confirmed, it’s consistent with the myriad eyewitness accounts given to Human Rights Watch, among other organizations.  


This is what the world is choosing to ignore. Bear this in mind as you read through the idiotic statements made by Secretary Kerry and Minister Lavrov during their most recent meeting and which seem to equate both sides, and emphasizing more the growing extremis among certain rebel groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, while ignoring the genocide being actively perpetrated by the Assad regime.

All is indeed lost in Syria. The willingness by Kerry and the Obama Administration to deal with the unfolding genocide in such a callous and offhanded manner leaves no room for doubt. During their meeting, Kerry literally passed on the hot potato to Lavrov in exchange for a hat, a pink Russian Shapka. But the Russians got more than a potato in the deal, and they busy gloating about it, as this Russia Today report indicates: Syria attraction: Russia moving into Eastern Mediterranean oil bonanza.

Meanwhile, the genocide in Syria continues, with besieged towns getting under continuous bombardment from the air, as this video shows, and this Time report elaborates. The regime-led starvation campaigns keep the death toll in the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp in Damascus rising. A recent attempt to deliver aid to the camp was thwarted by pro-Assad militias who opened fire on the convoy carrying aid and the demonstrators who had gone out to receive it, killing two children and wounding dozens.

This is the story of the 65 rebels who lost their lives trying to deliver aid to the besieged families in Old Homs. To avenge their deaths, rebels hit back with mortar attacks on loyalist neighborhoods that left 19 people dead.

And women continue to pay a heavy price with a recent UN report claiming that over 38,000 women have been physically and sexually abused, a figure hailed as marking only the tip of the ice-berg.

And the suffering of one particular minority group is completely underreported, even though thousands have been displaced by the fighting. But then, being ignored is nothing new for the world’s gypsies, in this case, a subgroup known as the Dom.  Their plight has been recently highlighted by this video featuring a unique take on national anthem of the Roma people.

International neglect and regime policies have left the room wide open for the emergence of Al-Qaeda in Syria, the recent pushback by other rebel groups against the Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has experienced the same fate: it too met with international indifference and lack of support. As a result, ISIS has regained control of Raqqah province, and of many towns it has recently lost in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, including the town of Elbab where activists report that main streets are now lined with the bodies of dead anti-ISIS rebels.

In Deir Ezzor Province, activists on the ground report that ISIS troops withdrew from most major towns, and relocated to their strongholds in rural areas. They have also established checkpoints and roadblocks all over the main roads making movement between towns difficult if not untenable. Their adversaries are now avoiding direct confrontation, knowing their supply routes have been compromised.

The unfolding battles in Elbab and Raqqa illustrate the ongoing collaboration between the Assad regime and ISIS, as regime bombardments over the last few days have targeted the positions of Anti-ISIS fighters. Naturally, this aspect of the unfolding mayhem was completely ignored by Kerry and Lavrov who called in their statements on both the regime and the opposition to cooperate in the fight against terrorism!

And combatants from all sides, including ISIS fighters, seem to rely on amphetamines to keep going.

Back to the beginning, one of the bravest chroniclers of Assad’s genocide is Qusai Zakarya, an activist from the town of Moadamiya in Damascus, a town that has been besieged for close to a year, where bombardments is constant and people are literally starving to death. In late 2013, specifically from November 26 to December 28, Qusai led an international hunger strike campaign that was joined by many sympathizers and activists from around the globe. This earned him a special place in the minds of Assad’s security officers. A recent letter sent by Qusai’s media team in Moadamiya indicates that they now fear that he has become a main target for liquidation by pro-Assad militias. Would this be another death foretold? But then, almost every death in Syria was foretold. What difference did it make?


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