Tuesday, 6 March 2012

SYRIA – the unfolding tragedy

The unfolding tragedy in Syria is now a daily feature on our television screens, in our newspapers and on the radio. The allegations of mass murder and torture are evidenced by horrific pictures which are no doubt authentic but which can’t be confirmed. Yesterday more pictures were shown which depicted victims of torture within a military hospital where it is alleged victims of the Syrian bombing have to be taken. An employee of the hospital said: "I have seen detainees being tortured by electrocution, whipping, beating with batons, and by breaking their legs. They twist the feet until the leg breaks"

Diplomatic efforts and condemnation by the United Nations have been blocked by China and Russia in the Security Council.So what action can be taken? According to an United Nations tally 9,000 people have been killed since the uprising began although this statistic has not yet been verified.

Amongst those summarily executed are a number of children.Click here to read a BBC report by Paul Wood  "A terrible fear has seized people here about what the government forces are doing now that they are back in control," writes the BBC's Paul Wood outside Homs.

Ahmed Ibrahim told me that 36 men and boys were taken away.  Among them were four members of his own family including his 12-year-old son, Hozaifa. All were dead now, he said.

He said he had seen everything, lying flat behind some trees.

He told me: "There is a major checkpoint near our house. Reinforcements arrived there. They brought Shabiha (the "ghosts" or paramilitaries). They began arresting all the men in the area so I crouched down in the orchards just beside my house.

"They started beating them up. Then they moved them into a street next to a school. They killed them all. I saw it. I was 50 to 100 metres away. Their hands were tied behind their backs. A soldier held each one still on the ground with his boot; another soldier came to cut their throats. I could hear their screams."


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