Assad’s "Human Slaughterhouse": Still, no punishment

Yunus Paksoy 2017-02-16 12:49:00

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The brutal dictator Bashar Assad has been oppressing the people of Syria and committing massacres across the country for years, to which the world has turned a blind eye. Six years into Assad’s daunting and bloody war campaign against Syrians. 

We have been already witnessing the aerial bombardment of Assad’s “air forces” across Syria. In addition, the dismaying condition of besieged people in different parts of the country has saddened many.

Recently, a human rights group published a detailed report with regards to Assad’s serious human rights violations over the last years. The report, published by Amnesty International, contended that up to 13,000 people have been secretly hanged in Assad’s secret prison, labelled “Human Slaughterhouse”.

Saydnaya Prison, located to the north of Damascus, has been Assad’s main place for torturing and slaughtering the people of Syria. Several human rights organizations have already shared that around 20,000 people across Syria have been subjected to torture and indiscriminate killings in Saydnaya Prison.

A former detainee, Omar Alshogre, told media outlets that guards would come to his cell, sometimes three times a week, and call out detainees by name.  He said that a torture session would begin before midnight in nearby chambers that he could hear.

The United States which introducted the Guantanamo prison to the world has never uttered a word about Assad’s illegal and inhuman acts. Similar to Guantanamo’s prison camps, an American shame in the history of humankind, Saydnaya will go down in history as another embarrassment.

Even though Bashar Assad should be tried before judges on the charges of war crimes today, he is sitting in his palace to watch more innocent Syrians die on Syrian soil. The former U.S. President Barack Obama and the Kremlin could be held responsible for this.

Obama who has set red lines in Syria failed to intervene when necessary. The former president failed to keep his promises and looked on while Assad dropped barrel bombs and launched chemical attacks against Syrian civilians.

Recently, peace talks between the Syrian opposition and the Assad regime were held in the Kazakh capital, Astana. Even though both parties agreed to respect the ceasefire, which was established before the New Year’s Eve, Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Assad’s troops clash on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of al-Bab.

The two sides were expected to gather again in Geneva at the end of February to jump start peace negotiations. However, one could easily tell that the two sides cannot kick off peace negotiations unless the conflict on the ground is solved.

Joint efforts by Ankara and the Kremlin gave a glimpse of hope to reach a solution in Syria. As it stands now, it seems like a daydream to contend that a peace will be reached in short time.

Whether or not the Syrian opposition and the Assad regime begin peace talks, one fact stands out: Bashar Assad, who has committed numerous war crimes and human rights violations, should stand down in the near future, if not now. A permanent peace in Syria, which would give millions of Syrians a sigh of relief, is only possible if Assad is gone.

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Yunus Paksoy is the chief reporter of the Istanbul-based Turkish newspaper DAILY SABAH. Paksoy has covered Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria and the Mosul Operation in Iraq and focuses on developments in Syria, the Middle East and Turkey’s southeast.

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