As protesters vent their anger against Russia for its supportive stance of the Assads, the latter’s troops continue to comb the countryside of Homs and Idlib provinces, killing more children and sealing off Syria’s borders: Syria has effectively become one giant concentration camp. The Auschwitzization of Syria is complete.
As a results of the tragic developments that took place in Syria in the late 1970s and early 1980s, human rights organizations in Syria estimate that 17,000 people went missing. Yet, by the time Bashar Al-Assad came to power in 2000, Syrian prisons reportedly held only 2,000 political prisoners (i.e. before Bashar filled them up again by opponents to his rule). So, what happened to the missing? The answer is obvious of course: they are buried in a variety of mass graves scattered throughout the country.
Recent events in Syria left over 3,500 dead and around the same number classified as missing. Could today’s missing have met the same fate as those of yesterday? Well, what do YOU think dear objective reader? Do you think that the death toll from the early August crackdown in Hama City, which had at one point fielded demonstrations with over 500,000 participants and people were willing to face up tanks to stay in the streets, is only 400 people? No. The figure of 400 and 3,500 tell you about the cases that we can actually document despite the information blockades imposed by the Assads. They give an idea, but they don’t tell the entire story or capture the reality of the situation.
The real death toll in Syria since March 15 is probably closer to 10,000, making it one of the bloodiest murders the region has witnessed in a long time, and it happened even as the world watched. By imposing an information blockade, playing it in slow-motion and relying on the bureaucratic standards and procedures followed by international organizations in these situations, the Assads have probably managed to sneak in a massacre almost twice the size of Srebrenica’s own under our noses.
But while the world has to do some math and comparative analysis in order to get to the truth, the protesters don’t. They know all too well what happened to them, they know it’s much more horrendous that what gets reported, which ads to their frustration. They believe that the international response to the current developments in Syria is premised on inaccurate assumptions and information, and that world leaders need to get a better grasp of the realities on the ground in Syria in order to adopt the proper stance. While the causes of international dithering are far more complex than this, an inability to form an accurate impression of what’s happening in Syria is definitely a contributing factor here. International observers seem to believe that the YouTubes we’re getting on a daily basis tell the whole story. But they don’t. For all we know, the Assads could be running a dozen Auschwitzes throughout Syria as we speak, and we wouldn’t even know it. Syria is still a police state, the Assads are still calling the shots, and the facts are still quite hard to suss out.