“Extinguishing” the crimes of the Assad regime against the Syrian people

Huffington Post GreeceSept. 20, 2017

During the seven years of the Syrian crisis, countless crimes have been committed to date. The documentation of these crimes was dangerous from the outset. Because of this danger, it was difficult for foreign reporters to enter the Syrian territory, since the Assad regime bans the entry of foreign media in the country and accepts the means that support it, i.e. from Russia and Iran. These two reasons were enough for Syrian unarmed citizens to take the initiative themselves using their own available means, their mobile phones, their cameras, and to post on YouTube the documents of events within Syria. On the other hand, the Assad militia soldiers, being proud of their achievements, were shooting their crimes in videos which leaked on the internet, showing the brutality of the regime and its pillars. There have also been foreign intelligence agencies and civil and human rights organizations that have stepped up the monitoring of crimes, collecting evidence and recording those responsible. Several Western countries have published a list of Assad officials accused of war crimes, particularly over 30 chemical attacks in eastern Ghouta, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1.500 civilians and injured 3.500, mainly children and women.

Assad regime is one of the most brutal regimes of the modern world. The massacres, the elimination of evidence and the concealment of the truth have been practiced long before the Syrian Revolution. In Lebanon, for almost 29 years under the Assad regime, incredible massacres were committed, such as Tel Zaatar in the mid-1980s [1], in which more than 6.000 civilians, most of them Palestinians, were killed. Also, massacres were committed against the Christian community of Lebanon to consolidate its power in the country. But the most important event in Lebanon was the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. All the evidence shows that behind this crime is the Assad regime [2] [3] [4]. To investigate the assassination, an international commission of inquiry was set up to examine one of the most important Syrian officers in Lebanon, General Ghazi Kanaan, whose inanimate body was found in his office. The Assad regime promoted the version of suicide. However, the information indicates that the cause of Kanaan’s death was two bullets in the head and one in the chest [5]. The second important person wanted for the murder of Hariri was General Rustom Ghazaleh, who died under mysterious conditions two years ago [6] [7].

This operation, organized by the Assad regime for the destruction of evidence and the extermination of witnesses to condemn it, continued in Syria during the Syrian Revolution. One example is the murder of Brigadier Ghassan Bilal, head of the office of General Maher al-Assad, brother of Bashar al-Assad. Ghassan Bilal was one of those wanted  for the investigation as responsible of the chemical slaughter in eastern Ghouta. Because of his sensitive position and his direct connection with Assad’s brother, it was necessary to get rid of him by putting an explosive device that destroyed his car on the outskirts of Damascus.

However, the concealment and extermination of Assad’s crimes did not stop at all, but it was expanded internationally. The YouTube website has deleted tens of thousands of Syrian citizens’ videos showing the crimes of this barbaric regime, using as a pretext that they contain violence, even though the site itself has not deleted many other videos containing violent scenes from different regions of the world. This is a clear proof of the international pressure on the site to take this dangerous and immoral move [8] [9]. Unfortunately, the problem is that many of the users who posted the deleted videos died during the ongoing war, so there are no copies. At the end of the article there is a sample of what is left on the internet [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17].

The UN commission responsible for investigating chemical attacks in Syria has issued its report. The report has made it clear that Assad is behind more than 90% of these attacks. The most important question is whether the international system will hold this criminal regime responsible or will it become its partner in the political solution to the Syrian crisis? I note that Security Council Resolution 2118, Article 18 [18], states that any transfer or use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic requires the imposition of measures in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. Any measures? Is there ever the possibility of seeing such action against the Assad regime or being selectively applied to some while others are protected by it?

[1] https://english.palinfo.com/news/2016/7/26/Tel-al-Zaatar-massacre%E2%80%A6-the-blood-won%E2%80%99t-be-in-vain-
[2] https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2015/3/25/assad-insulted-and-threatened-hariri-before-his-assassination
[3] https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/12/getting-away-with-murder/307149/
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Rafic_Hariri
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghazi_Kanaan
[6] https://www.ft.com/content/811ea916-edb3-11e4-987e-00144feab7de
[7] https://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2015/04/25/The-reasons-behind-the-murder-of-ex-Syrian-spy-chief-Rustom-Ghazaleh.html
[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/22/world/middleeast/syria-youtube-videos-isis.html
[9] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4307331/youtube-wouldnt-ban-jihadist-hate-videos-but-they-did-delete-evidence-of-syrian-war-crimes/
[10] https://twitter.com/RevolutionSyria/status/905920068529348608
[11] https://twitter.com/RevolutionSyria/status/907001142181232642
[12] https://twitter.com/RevolutionSyria/status/906532240309571584
[13] https://twitter.com/worldonalert/status/732266964220059649
[14] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_REMtSBJvM
[15] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ8Z12N5qYM 
[16] Hula, Homs, Assad Shabiha invade houses and stab people indiscriminately https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OW1FnNAZnc 
[17] Eastern Ghouta chemical massacre 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bne66vXI6eQ
[18] http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2118.pdf