As Syrian refugees continue to stream into Turkish territory, and the Assads continue to massacre their own people, the international community and media seem more befuddled than ever.
By burning the flags of China and Russia and carrying banner criticizing international double standards regarding Libya and Syria, the protesters are attempting to send a message to the international community. They do have certain expectations, and delegitimizing Assad and issuing a UN resolution is clearly one of them. Leaders of the world, watch the videos, read the banners, listen to the slogans, the protesters are trying to communicate directly with you.
There was no major battle in Jisr Ashoughour and no major mutiny, despite the assertions of so many “experts” to the contrary. These “experts” are basing their analyses on regime reports and a singular testimony by a defecting soldier which contradicts testimonies provided by his colleagues as well as those provided by civilian eyewitnesses. No one denies the reality of defections and the occasional clashes between defectors and loyalists, in Jisr Ashoughour or elsewhere, but defections and clashes remain a pretty limited and inconsequential affair just as they had been in Deraa. What’s happening in Jisr Ashoughour today is exactly what happened in Rastan last week and Deraa a few weeks ago: a major military operation against a mostly unarmed population meant to sew terror in their midst, and throughout the country. It’s basically a cold-blooded massacre perpetrated using tanks and helicopters.
It should be pointed out a well that the “experts” had earlier dismissed all claims of defections regarding the events in Deraa in late April, only to be proven wrong when journalists finally acquired direct access to eyewitness reports in the form of refugees streaming into Jordan and Lebanon. The refugees provided one testimony after another attesting to the reality yet limited nature of the defections. Now, the selfsame “experts” are rushing headlong to assure the reality and large-scale mature of the defection: it’s an insurrection, they say, a mutiny, a well-organized armed rebellion, blah, blah, blah… But at a time when even our brave activists can’t get videos from that area region anymore, at least for now, and when all communications lines have been interrupted, on what are these “experts” exactly basing their assessments? State-run media of all stupid things, and a singular eyewitness testimony that has been contradicted by numerous others.
Once again, no one is denying the reality of defections in Jisr Ashoughour, and that some clashes seem to have taken place between defectors and loyalists, or that some defectors might have chosen to remain behind to defend the local population (as happened in Deraa), but we really need to put this matter in its proper scale. In order to kill 120 security officers supported with tanks and armored cars, we need an organized well-armed force of at least 500-1000 men, where is this mysterious force now? How come it was defeated after only 1 day of active combat? Where are the casualties? Why have the activists not been able to catch more than a couple of defectors on video encouraging their colleague to join them? If these officers wanted to encourage further defections, and get the attention of the international community, they wouldn’t they have taken pains to strut their relatively large size on camera? And where are those “official” videos showing the army conducting actual military operations against those armed gangs and those treasonous defectors? Where are the videos of charred dead bodies and embattled captives? After twelve weeks of battling terrorists, as the regime puts it, you’d expect to see numerous such videos instead of short clips of funerals of army officers, weapon caches laid out neatly on the ground, and a few hapless individuals “welcoming” the troops and speaking vaguely of the “horrors” they have seen before the army showed up? Compare these choice clips to the thousands of videos produced by activists who show actual killings by army troops, actual terror campaigns, actual dead bodies of protesters, actual painful testimonies, and actual funerals that easily turn into new protests and new occasions for violence on part of the authorities, and you’ll get a clearer idea, if you haven’t by now, of those who are manufacturing news and those who are actually reporting them, and of the nature of the events still developing on the grounds.
This is not a civil war yet, this is mass murder on a grand scale, but the world still has an opportunity to stop it, and prevent its devolution into civil mayhem.
Meanwhile, perhaps we should stop relying too much on experts’ testimonies, especially considering their failure to predict any of the revolutions currently sweeping the region, and depend more on established facts (Syria is a dictatorship, state-run media have zero possibility of reporting events as they are and have to report what they are told, etc.), the available evidence (activist videos and eyewitness testimonies) and, dare I say, our common sense.
Speaking of common sense, indeed by sending so many troops and equipment north, the Assads might be trying to prevent the creation of a Benghazi-like region there, which is exactly why they would exaggerate the size of the defections and losses in their ranks. The Assads might have had similar concerns in Deraa and Tal Kalakh as well. The interesting thing is that they might actually end up facilitating and expediting the very thing they are trying to prevent. The brutality of their crackdown and its sectarian nature are fueling local anger and extending the life-expectancy of the revolution, rather than cut it short. The unequal showdown is already generating a refugee crisis, right where the Assad regime can’t afford to have it.