Violence and Carnage in Syria Intensify

Liz De La Torre

Following in the spirit and footsteps of its brother countries, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia―which have all successfully ousted their

A photo of the United States in embassy in Syria that was closed due to the violence. (AP Photo)

respective dictators―Syria takes part in the fight against authoritarianism and social turmoil that has plagued much of the Arab world. Civil war broke out last year after protesters revolted against President Bashar al-Assad in an attempt to subvert the injustice and negligence, economic depravity, and increased censorship set in place by him and his regime. Since the riots began, the struggle for greater freedoms has only incited more uproar with the bloodshed ceasing to hold up. Indeed, the death toll in Syria has reached over 8, 000. But for those seeking an end to al-Assad’s regime, this is just the beginning. Unfortunately, details of volatile rampage and bloody suppression of civilians by the government is a daily occurrence. “Everyone’s becoming used to death here,” an activist in Homs says.

It seems the revolutionary efforts of Syrian activists has spiraled out of control and played right into the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s “iron grip” which has never hesitated to deal out swift elimination to those who defy al-Assad, and that now includes not just rebels but innocent lives as well. As a matter of fact, British Prime Minister David Cameron calls al-Assad’s forces a machine “hell-bent on killing, murdering, and maiming” its own citizens.

With Syria besieged and being struck by all sides, the nation suffers an impasse. Reports of beatings of peaceful protesters as well as people simply chanting for freedom are countless. With the latest massacre in Homs that has claimed over 200 lives, residents recount Syrian troops sniping civilians running for cover, unleashing bomb explosions, and leaving injured people die on the streets. As doctors and clinics are compromised, there is no immediate medical attention for the injured or dead which fill the streets, and food supply is extremely low.

Furthermore, regime forces are accused of suicide bombings, kidnapping and torturing civilians, setting off booby-trapped houses, and burning property. No one is spared in the Syrian violence, says Lois Whitman, children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch: “Children have not been spared the horror of Syria’s crackdown. Syrian security forces have killed, arrested, and tortured children in their homes, their schools, or on the streets. There is torture, but there is also rape for the boys. We would see them when the guards brought them back to the cell, it’s indescribable, and you can’t talk about it.” Actually, parents are pulling their children from schools because these institutions, as well as hospitals, are being targeted and currently being seized and utilized for detaining prisoners and easily picking off civilians. “It’s too much,” a Syrian resident named Zaidoun cries. “For God’s sake, this is too much.”

For Abu Ammar, the fear paralyzed him and his family: “We couldn’t leave the house to get food. We would hear women or children scream and cry, but I couldn’t help them. Even the bodies lying in the street; we were too scared to collect them.”  Some, with little or no supplies, have decided to leave Syria for Turkey and Jordan which have housed many refugees. Ammar says the decision came to life or death: “We can start again from zero. In Homs there is no life. The situation in Syria is not going to end anytime soon; maybe we will end up staying here for five years. But we had no choice. We didn’t want to be afraid any more. I want my children to live.”

Other areas that have been subjected to violence include Daraa, Latakia, Aleppo, Hama, Idlib, and Deir Ezzor. With Syrian state television footage of residents blaming the attacks on armed gangs, al-Assad insists that he has never administered attacks on civilians but, instead, blames terrorist gangs for the carnage as his troops are only “martyrs to the state’s effort to secure peace.” Even so, many speculate it is a cover-up as the media is under the control of the government and any information out of Syria is very limited. Still, the disclosure of the turbulence, slaughter, and unrest in Syria has stirred international outcry. However, Russia and China both vetoed against taking action against Syrian forces that would invariably force al-Assad to abdicate. As for the united front, Alexei Pushkov and He Wenping, representing Russia and China respectively, emphasized their reluctance to use military tactics or force in order to achieve democracy. As for now, Syria continues to battle for its independence.