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When Will Justice Win in Syria?

The Syrian people hold international leaders responsible for failing to prevent their suffering, and demand that they use all measures available to stop the attacks.

As I write this piece, the assault on eastern Gouhta,  at the outskirts of Damascus in Syria, is already in its second week. TV footage shows hospitals being bombed and children being unearthed out of the rubble. “At least in heaven there’s food,” sobs a mother at seeing her child dying in the debris of a hospital bed. Her home was hit on the roof that collapsed over the child. 

It is heartbreaking seeing children covered with dust and blood being carried by Syrian Civil Defence personnel (known as “White Helmets”) into crumbling hospitals with no medical supplies. Thanks to the admirable humanity of doctors and nurses many of the wounded are still saved.  

Pope Francis appealed for “the beloved and tormented Syria.” “All of this is inhumane. One cannot fight evil with another evil,” he said.

Besieged since 2013 by government forces and now under a relentless bombardment campaign, eastern Goutha is a town controlled by various rebel factions opposed to the Syrian regime. 

Already been termed “the worst massacre of this century,” its civilian population of about 400,000 inhabitants are trapped inside the city lacking food, medicine and other essential commodities. 

The head of the Syrian Civil Defence or “White Helmets”, Raed Al Saleh, points the finger to the international community and the world in general for their inability to act to stop the carnage. “The Syrian people hold international leaders responsible for failing to prevent their suffering, and demand that they use all measures available to stop the aerial attacks, break the siege and immediately evacuate the hundreds of people in need of urgent medical attention.”

So far the human cost of the military operations to flush out the so called “terrorists” has been 400 civilians killed, countless wounded, health facilities destroyed and houses demolished. Is it worthwhile? Or rather, are we not in the presence of a systematic targeting and killing of civilians that amounts to war crimes and genocide? 

The evidence implicating President Assad in war crimes and genocide is mounting but so far no charges have been brought against him. How many more people have to die, especially children, until justice can prevail against evil? His political allies are too powerful, defending and helping him to perpetuate himself in the chair of power. 

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