(Zaman Al Wasl)- The Syrian revolution has broken many records when considering the record that this the revolutions of the Arab Spring. Syria, unlike other Arab Spring countries, holds the record for the highest number of detainees killed by the regime intelligence and its mercenaries.
Detainees were not only tortured to death in detention centers, but also civilian institutions such as hospitals, schools and governmental directorates. These spaces were transformed into headquarters to execute innocent civilians based on the regime’s need and whim.
The regime’s brutality is well documented in many reports published by Zaman al-Wasl, but beyond our media outlet are the 55,000 images leaked by Cesare for over 11,000 victims who died under torture. These 55,000 images emerged from one branch alone, the 215 Intelligence Branch. Recently, a new Cesare arrived in Holland with 28,000 other images of victims of regime intelligence torture. The new Cesare wants to deliver those images to the International Justice Court in La Hage to add to the case against the regime. His ambition raises the hope that active states, associations, and rights organizations across the world will act beyond writing reports and issuing statistics.
Syrians and those interested in the Syrian revolution have memorized the statistics and numbers anyway. Numbers about the hundreds of thousands of killed, the millions of injured and disabled, and the millions of refugees and internally displaced whose numbers continue to rise. The latest victims of forced migrations are a testament to the non-static nature of statistics and numbers about Syria.
These latest additions to international and regional statistics are the tens of thousands forcefully displaced from iconic and revolutionary Syrian towns. They migrated after they were forced to sign deals under Russian, and at time Iranian, sponsorship or under the pressure of siege. The regime and its allies appreciate these statistics as representing the success of their attempt to change Syria’s demography.
Despite the variety of weapons used by the al-Assad regime, siege and starving civilians were key weapons that enabled the regime with the help of its allies and the disregard of the international community and the UN organizations to defeat many areas that were outside of its control.
In the year 2016, Syria witnessed once again a season of migration to the north in the auspicious green buses. Thousands of new internally displaced persons arrived in Idlib from towns south of Idlib, from Aleppo’s eastern neighborhoods, and from towns and cities in Damascus Suburbs. Their arrival signaled new future scenarios for the green province, as it is known in Syria, as it became the headquarters for everyone refusing to “reconcile” with the al-Assad regime.
The Assad and Russia's warplanes use the active presence of factions included on the international terror list as grounds to perpetrate more massacres in the province. The most recent massacre was on February 15, 2016, when Russian warplanes killed 11 civilians while sponsoring the ceasefire that is being discussed in Astana, Kazakhstan. The most notable change from previous years is the active Russian participation in crimes against Syrians following the lead of its Iranian ally.
The images of the green buses carrying hundreds of civilians forced to leave their homes would not have passed before the eyes the Syrian people if not for the international community supporting the al-Assad regime. The support is not declared but appears in the international community’s disregard for regime actions and its supposed friendship with the Syrian people.
To return to the number game, we mention that the al-Assad forces used chemical weapons to kill over one thousand civilians in the Eastern and Western al-Ghouta in Damascus Suburbs. The regime exterminated entire families in the attacks, and the international response to the crime was an American-Russian deal for the regime to hand over its chemical weapons. Not only was the regime not punished, but the regime as the perpetrator of this heinous crime was brought into question to the point the question of who perpetrated the crimes was debated and discussed in various meetings.
In addition to the famous chemical massacres, the al-Assad forces and its sectarian allies committed hundreds of massacres killing thousands of Syrian civilians across the geography of the revolution. They used all weapons imaginable in these massacres including knives and blades. Thousands of innocent lives were lost in aerial bombardment, explosive barrel bombs, and the regime use of internationally banned cluster bombs. The regime’s use of these various weapons, including chemical weapons, was recording in international organization’s reports including United Nations reports.
Other than the material weapons the regime used against civilians, the regime forces relied on other weapons such as the arbitrary arrest of hundreds of thousands of civilians where the fate of many of those detained remains unknown. Other than detention, the regime resorts to torturing and starving those detained as recorded in international human rights reports. Amnesty International published a report about the regime killing over 13,000 detainees in Sadnaya prison alone since the start of the Syrian revolution; how many other detentions are there like or even worse than Sadnaya? How many thousands of political detainees other than the ‘disappeared’?
The regime unlike other regimes of the countries of the Arab Spring did not stop at using these weapons despite their physically and psychologically destructive effects. The regime relied on using the strategy developed by Hafez al-Assad and used against the Syrian people, terrorism. The regime was the main contributor in inventing the Islamic State to destroy the revolution and distract the international community from the regime crimes. The Islamic State’s crimes and terrorism became the focus for “fighting terrorism” to take precedence over getting rid of the regime which killed, displaced and detained over half the Syrian people.
Al-Assad may have succeeded temporarily in recycling the regime with Russian and Iranian support and American and Gulf disarray, but many of the indicators highlight that the phase after the end of the Islamic State will bring changes that may touch upon the al-Assad regime. The coming phase hints that the regime’s role set out in agreements between the two major players may come to an end achieving part of the aims of the revolution. However, through the revolution, the Syrian people revealed much of the pretenses of international relations and humanitarian values other than the implicit blessings for the sectarian forces of resistance and prevention.
The Syrian revolution shamed the regime which is now an embarrassment for other dictatorships across the world through its claims of sovereignty.
The regime’s claims fall hollow as it sells land and subterranean resources to foreign allies while warplanes of all types and nationalities fill the sky above Syria.
The revolution has struggled due to many associations which diverged from their original paths, due to conspirators among their enemies and within them. However, the revolution will overcome these stumbling blocks and succeed in ending the hereditary rule of the al-Assad family, and Syria’s silence in the face of all these harsh numbers especially in the revolution’s sixth year.