I’m sure that we all remember or know of the Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian war. In 1995, Bosnian Serb forces of the Republika Srpska under the control of General Ratko Mladic overran the Bosnian Muslim town of Srebrenica, brushing aside the small UN force sent to protect the area. Then then expelled many refugees from the area, massacring 8000 of the Muslim men and boys in calculated, brutal execution sprees.
Bodies of those killed by Mladic’s forces at Srebrenica.
On Friday the 25th May in the small Syrian town of Houla, shelling started at 12:30 and lasted for two hours, apparently in response to protests. After that, Assad’s Shabiha thugs moved into the town and started to massacre many innocents in a terrible manner, using knives, guns and all manner of weaponry. These killings apparently went on for hours and family-to-family were targeted and killed. Well over 90 people have been left dead. What makes it worse is the fact that 49-32 of the dead were children, and 34 women. The total may be 109 and 300 injured, dead or more.
Bodies of those massacred in Houla, are buried. Note the
According to Hadi al-Abdallah, an Al Jazeera journalist, the area had become a hub for the militants of the Free Syrian Army and the government had been unable to enter the town as a result, prompting shelling from a distance.
Even Syria’s greatest ally, Russia, expressed revulsion about the attack. The deputy foreign minister himself while not blaming any side directly, stated that “There are substantial grounds to believe that the majority of those who were killed were either slashed, cut by knives, or executed at point blank distance.” Bassma Kodmani, the head of foreign relations for the Syrian National Council, stated that “Some of the victims were hit by heavy artillery while others, entire families, were massacred.” The Local Co-ordination Committee activist network said that the government thugs shelled the town before “armed militias slaughtered entire families in cold blood” which corroborates other accounts of the shelling and subsequent assault. Horrific.
Of course the Assad fiefdom had to come up with a pathetic response, one official stating that: “Women, children and old men were shot dead. This is not the hallmark of the heroic Syrian army.”
You may have noticed that this massacre was on a much smaller scale than Maldic’s horror at Srebrenica. But this is not so. This whole uprising has been composed of a long drawn-out, massacre of thousands of innocents by their own government. Brutal, horrific and inescapable. All because people want to use their voices for what they should be used for. Speaking. So far, over 13,000 have died over the past year. That is at least 5000 more than at Srebrenica.
However the methods are always the same. Brutal military assault, round-up of detainees (or moving from house to house and killing all in your path), cold-blooded massacres with all manner of horrendous weapons, followed by the departure of the perpetrators and the leaving of the evidence for horrified friends and relatives to discover. The Srebrenica script is being played over and over again by the Syrian government. Instead of one large atrocity, small scale Srebrenica’s are happening all over Syria; from the Ramadan Massacre of late-July/early August 2011 (in which around 100 were killed) or the massacre in Homs which took place in March 2012.
The methods and brutal, ruthless approach are the same. So is another tragic similarity. Furthermore, it doesn’t look like this horrific event will move any foreign government any closer towards intervention either. Nobody is doing anything, aside from sending in the rather fittingly-branded ”UN tourists” (as female protesters in Damascus) to wander around the county and take a good look at the bloody obvious.
However, I’m hearing that 10 UN-peacekeepers have recently been withdrawn into Jordan. In the short-term Syrians will again be exposed to the brute force of their government if these peacekeepers withdraw as a whole. But in the long-term, the UN will perhaps realise that negotiating with this myopic regime is useless.