Speaking to Jeremy Bowen in Damascus, the Deputy UN Envoy to Syria, Mokhtar Lamani, has said that in Syria we are “not only talking about the humanitarian situation which is almost a catastrophe” but sectarianism which is frightening with “the possibility of having a large genocide, it’s there.”
As arms and fighters have been flooding into Syria from neighbouring countries to support the sectarian Sunni insurgency, large numbers of people have had to flee their homes, often due to fear of being murdered by fighters aligned with Al Qaeda.
Material from YouTube and Facebook channels suggests a genocide of Alawite, Christian, Kurdish and secular communities may already be underway in rebel-held areas of Syria. This material includes statements of genocidal intent by rebels, the filming of genocidal propaganda aimed at young people and children and footage of the shooting of civilians on the basis of their cultural identity or just failure to prove they share the religious ideology of their murderers.
Regular readers of this site will be familiar with some of this material. Here are two recent examples, demonstrating the pattern of sectarian murder. These videos show militants of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) the banner under which many of the jihadists now operate (Having previously operated under the Jabhat al Nusrah label) engaging in war crimes.
The first video shows civilians described as “Bashar’s helpers” and “apostates” being executed in al Raqqa, (for similar previous footage see here).
The second video shows truck drivers being stopped by jihadists and interrogated to determine if they are Sunni – when they fail to pass the test they too are executed.
Many Syrians, (including Eretz Zen a secular Syrian who translated these videos), see the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) as a non-sectarian force standing between them and the genocidal ISIL. If Congress votes for the US military to attack the SAA, the consequences are likely to include a further escalation of genocidal violence as Al Qaeda, who have been suffering some set-backs on the ground, are given renewed hope of expanding their pure Sunni state, imposing their final solution on Syria’s people and ironically, given the purported justification for the intervention, getting their hands on chemical weapons.
Oxfam International has tweeted today:
Human RIghts Investigations (HRI) strongly supports this call and we call on our US readers to contact their representatives to urge the US government to focus on a diplomatic settlement in Syria and supports the Syrian people by sending food parcels and medical aid, not Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Human rights investigations, September 3, 2013
evidence-based, independent and rigorous investigation of human rights abuses