The latest massacre of Karm al-Zaytun in Homs is both distressing and shameful; it was a massacre of both Syrian women and children carried out by the al-Assad regime in front of the eyes of the international community, which remains silent and powerless. The massacre confirms that the cost of international inactivity will be very high in Syria and the region as a whole and the international community will not be isolated from the repercussions.
The details of the latest massacre are disgraceful in every sense of the word, and they show the al-Assad regime’s desire to enact revenge on the Syrians and abuse them in a savage, barbaric manner, with tactics including rape, mutilation, and killing children in grotesque fashion. Of course, nothing justifies these crimes, but the latest massacre clearly shows that events in Syria have taken a dangerous sectarian turn, at least on the part of the al-Assad regime. The nature of the killings does not suggest battle combat; rather the killings are strategic operations indicative of hatred, and a strong desire for murder and revenge, with no sanctity for women or children.
All of the above not only fuels the emotions of Syria alone, but the whole region. The al-Assad regime is undertaking brutal acts against the Syrians who do not have any means to defend themselves; the confrontation is not equal, and we are facing a regime that uses its entire arsenal to kill unarmed civilians in front of the eyes of the international community. Furthermore, the latest massacre took place after [UN-Arab League peace envoy] Kofi Annan had released statements expressing optimism for his mission in Syria, after his meeting with Bashar al-Assad. Here perhaps Mr. Annan – and others like him who are optimistic of reaching a diplomatic solution in Syria – should read what was published in Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday, citing the Turkish Foreign Minister, who said that he has visited Syria 62 times since becoming an advisor to the Turkish Prime Minister, and of course throughout those visits Bashar al-Assad has never fulfilled a single promise he made, or that his regime made, to the Turks. So what are Annan and others waiting for from a regime that has never abided by a promise it has made in the last ten years or more?
The al-Assad regime has decided to stay in power even if this means killing Syrians and today events in Syria have taken a dangerous sectarian curve. If the international community does not act with effective intervention to change the rules of the whole process in Syria, then the costs will increase day by day, and they will be paid by everyone, not just the Syrians or the people of the region. The al-Assad regime is counting on the sectarian dimension and acting accordingly, and here we see Iran, following the massacre of women and children in Homs, shamelessly declaring Tehran’s full support for Bashar al-Assad and his regime, so what is the international community waiting for? The story does not end with the UN Security Council, for protecting civilians is part of the international community’s duty, and this can be achieved outside the Security Council as long as the goal of this council is to protect the child killer in Damascus.
Therefore, there must be military intervention now, and we must see the mobilization of an international coalition of those willing to save the Syrians. Every day that passes without a decisive international stance means that the Syrian crisis will be prolonged, and its consequences will be catastrophic for the region. The international community and those influential within it must remember that what is happening in Syria will not expose al-Assad alone, but it will also expose all those who were able to do something to save the unarmed civilians but did not make a move.