Little by little: Syria's sinister ploy to stop foreign intervention

Published September 20th, 2012 - 12:43 GMT
Hama massacre, 1982
Hama massacre, 1982

Another day, another slew of Syrian sniper victims. No one’s safe from the target line.  A recent report of a batch of 700 victims of snipers, shelling and summary executions has emerged out of Dariya since August. The victims are mostly men struck down neatly by Assad’s regime forces, but stray children and cats are not safe from the strikes or collateral damage of a protracted offensive, as reported incidents confirm.

And this village is not alone in losing multitudes of men over months. The campaign is widespread and insidiously paced-out. The LA Times reports on the phenomenon of a whole spate of Syrian towns falling pray to this nation-wide assault. Bashar al-Assad's mini-massacres are in stark contrast to the Hama all-out blitz of 1982. 

"They killed them in one sweep [in Hama]; with us, it's in stages," said Um Hussam, a mother of five who runs a small corner shop in an old neighborhood of Dariya. 

For a while it seemed that May's 'Houla'- where a massacre claimed 108 victims-  might be Syria’s modern time ‘Hama’.  But the brutality and bloodshed just seems to keep shifting along a trail of steady destruction.

Assad's killing sprees do not discriminate or linger at one site for long, but imposes its criminal intent evenly across the nation. Homs, Yalda or Qubair - no town is safe from the barbaric killings. Last week, activists said 36 civilians had been executed in Yalda, a Damascus suburb.

While these figures are shocking, they are still a far cry from the notorious massacre by government forces three decades earlier in the city of Hama, which left more than 20,000 dead in well under a month. The reported atrocities this time round have been spread over months of bloodshed in Syria, leading some to call the state campaign "a kind of slow-motion Hama.”

Interenet activists worried that Assad Junior was following in his father's footsteps in the case of Homs under an extended bloody siege, tweeting: "Homs 2011 = Hama 1982, but slowly, slowly." When it comes to how he kills his people, Syria's Bashar Al Assad could be undertaking a stealthy and sinister strategy of 'slowly but surely' that runs counter to the vein of 1982's Hama which took out tens of thousands of civilians in one 'raze-to-the-ground' attack.

Assad's calculated little-by-little campaign is designed to warn future generations off dissent as no person or district is safe from the regime's strategic slaughter. Muhammad Shihadeh, an activist from Dariya says that this slow and steady method could influence the response of the international community who are keen not to upset the balance unless a single staggering death toll forces their hand.

 

What do you think about the Syrian regime's strategy of nation-wide gradual destruction, dispersed throughout multiple massacres rather than one wide-scale razed-to-the ground attrocity similar to the still redolent Hama '82? Is this what Assad is up to? Is this more design than accident?

 


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