The Massacre of the Syrians by Assad and the Unacceptable Silence of the West

Αssociated Press

FILE- In this Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 photo, Turkey-backed Syrian fighters enter Ras al-Yan, Syria.(AP Photo)

On the one hand, I wish I had never seen it, because I lost sleep over it. On the other hand, if I had not seen it, I would have missed one of the most important – from a tragic point of view – stories of our time.

As I have usually done for years, I watched ‘60 Minutes’ on CBS this past Sunday night. They usually have the best, most original programs on American television.

However, I did not expect to see what I saw. And I will never forget what I saw. And how could I?

In fact, for the first time, presenter Scott Pelley warned parents to remove their children from the room.

And what did they show?

Horrible photographs of masses of corpses, such as the ones we have seen of Jewish concentration camps, only these are in color, due to the evolution of technology.

Dozens, hundreds of corpses of children, women, adults, piled on top of each other.

People, living their lives once upon a time, like all of us, died tragically from the use of chemical weapons. From the relentless bombing of Syrian and Russian warplanes.

These scenes are not easy to look at. Nor are they easily described. No description could do them justice.

How do you describe corpses with the most obvious signs of incessant torture? How can one depict the horrific expressions on their faces? Their bony bodies…

An interesting question is, where were these thousands of photos found?

Who obtained them? How were they taken out of the country?

The answer is that the Assad regime had commissioned its ‘own’ photographer to take pictures of the bodies.

But this man must have bent under the weight of the tragedy he lived through every day. Once a staunch supporter of Assad, he became an opponent.

He gave the photos he took every day to a good friend who transferred them to his own computer. And somehow – they did not explain the details – they were taken out of Syria.

Of course, this was done at the risk of their lives.

And their families.

Thus, the evidence of the genocide of the Syrian people has been preserved in horrific detail.

Assad's trial – and conviction – will be based on that at some point. Do not doubt it.

In the ten years of civil war in Syria, following an uprising against the Assad regime, 500,000 people lost their lives (out of a population of almost 17 million) and 5,000,000 fled and became refugees in various countries, including Greece.

The al-Assad family that has ruled the country since the coup in 1970 might have been overthrown after the 2011 uprising, without the help of Russia and Iran.

The other tragedy is that all these years the West has been watching the massacre of the Syrians with indifference.

It monitored with indifference the government’s use of chemical weapons, despite their ban, against their population.

President Barack Obama had drawn a ‘red line’ over their use, warning Assad that this would lead to retaliation from the United States.

Eventually, when Assad used chemical weapons, and while everything was ready for an attack by the U.S., Obama backed down at the last minute.

That was a big mistake.

This made Assad even more ruthless.

I do not think that after these indisputable facts of the genocide of the Syrians by their own regime that the West can continue to stand aloof with folded arms.

What human rights would we then be able to talk about?

And I do not think that Europe can continue to treat Syrian refugees and any other political refugees harshly.