Arming the Armed Opposition in Syria - the realities and the risks

Apologists for the Syrian government’s crimes against humanity are experiencing a rare moment of vindication at the moment. Or so they are leading themselves to believe. The reason? Well articles about alleged Saudi/Qatari arming of armed opposition groups in Syria with the apparent cooperation or at least knowledge of the CIA are in the mainstream media. “At last” they gleefully pronounce, now finally the mainstream media are catching up with what they and the Syrian government have been saying since the beginning of the uprising early last year.

Two articles in particular have generated most comment, one in the New York Times and the other in the Guardian. Both offer an interesting insight into what many in some parts of the Syrian opposition view as a vital operation to help resist oppression and defend their villages and neighbourhoods from a government brutalising, terrorising and punishing civilians who have decided they want an end to the current regime. Indeed self defence is often cited as the reason many Syrians took up arms or many soldiers defected after seeing peaceful protest after peaceful protest fired upon by Syrian government security forces. 

The NYT article says “A small number of CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.”

It goes on to say the CIA are particularly (and unsurprisingly) interested in ensuring weapons are kept “out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups”.  

This is a genuine concern and not something to be dismissed. It is to be expected some governments are taking practical actions.

The Guardian article states “Saudi officials are preparing to pay the salaries of the Free Syria Army as a means of encouraging mass defections from the military” and goes on to say “Turkey has also allowed the establishment of a command centre in Istanbul which is co-ordinating supply lines in consultation with FSA leaders inside Syria.” 

As for Amnesty, we have been calling on the UN Security Council to request that any country considering supplying arms to the armed opposition should have in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure the material supplied is not used to commit human rights abuses and/or war crimes.

Such a mechanism should include a rigorous monitoring process, which would enable such arms transfers to be halted should evidence emerge that they are being used to carry out human rights abuses, or are being transferred or diverted to third parties. The mechanism should also include a system for limiting arms to only those weapons, munitions and related equipment which are not inherently indiscriminate (e.g. no use of anti-personnel land mines for instance), and importantly, a system for conveying to recipients practical knowledge and awareness of standards to respect international human rights and humanitarian law. I will come on to whether this is happening later.

Before that there is another reality which must be factored in and that is in the “new Syria”, when it does come around, an army, police force, security and intelligence services will still be needed. This inevitably generates questions such as is it really responsible to say to the Syrian opposition “OK – get on with it” when it is quite clear the knowledge to set up an effective security sector which respects & protects human rights is not there yet and is unlikely to be without advice and training from external parties who know about good practice in security sector reform?

Indeed the more proactive in the international community would suggest this demands active intervention sooner rather than later to ensure when a transition does occur, the security sector is on the way to being professionalised with an effective command structure which is responsible and accountable.

We have seen the problems in Libya where armed militias continue to act above and beyond “the law” with relative impunity – we have said that the same armed militias that fought against Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi's repressive regime now pose the greatest threat to human rights in Libya. Those mistakes should not and must not be repeated in Syria.

In fact the Guardian say diplomatic sources have told them “two US intelligence officers were in Syria's third city of Homs between December and early February, trying to establish command and control within rebel ranks.”

Given that poor command & control would be a contributory factor to an increased risk of human rights abuses by the armed opposition, some could say this is not an unwise thing to do. However up to now it is not clear whether countries are actually assisting with training and documentation for the armed opposition which would increase their understanding of the laws of war and human rights standards in general. This is not about mere academic lessons – this is about preventing abuses and saving lives.

This is a major issue as we at Amnesty have our own concerns about abuses by armed opposition groups in Syria. The scale of these abuses are in no way comparable to the Syrian authorities that is for sure but as our most recent report notes, the armed opposition have committed some human rights abuses.

We are looking into reports of killing and torture or other ill-treatment of captured soldiers and militia members; and abductions and killings of civilians accused of being "collaborators" with government forces.

We will always condemn without reservation such abuses and call on the leadership of all armed opposition groups in Syria to publicly state that such acts are prohibited and to do all within their power to ensure that opposition forces put an immediate end to such abuses. Furthermore those with influence and those in contact with these groups must do the same, whether it is the Saudis, the Qataris, Turkey or indeed the US.

Some may choose to condemn such “outside interference” in the “internal affairs of Syria” and others may choose to recognise countries are already involved and insist on proper safeguards so human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war are prevented. It is a matter of which approach will protect civilians more.

And it is civilian protection which must be paramount. The Syrians who rose up well over a year ago to peacefully demand an end to poverty, corruption and repression would be betrayed if “what comes next” is another regime which fails to respect and protect human rights. This is a point that has not been lost of most Syrian activists – whether in support of arming the armed opposition of not.

The education, training and organisation of opposition groups for a better Syria could in theory and practice start before transition and those states engaged with the armed opposition have this responsibility but as yet it is not clear if they are fulfilling it. 

For the sake of all those who have already lost their lives in this uprising, we must insist that those involved in the supplying of arms to the armed opposition should have in place the necessary mechanisms and safeguards to ensure the material supplied is not used to add to the already horrendous level of human rights abuses and war crimes committed during the course of this uprising.

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27 comments

Hi Krystian do you regard your self as a proud apologist for the US and the UK. Personally I regard apologist as aimed as an insult but I may be wrong. I want peace and equality, criticise Syria yes but for Gods sake you can't really believe that the CIA are interested in the safety of Syrian citizens. Look at the massive human rights violations to citizens in countries all around the world through their actions. Look at how they are threatening Equador for merely considering offering sanctuary to Julian Assuage who as Jemima Khan tweets "there is no doubt that Assange has a real fear of being extradited to the US nor that the US gov is out to get WikiLeaks."

robbrookes 4 years ago

The numerous complaints concerning your organization generally reflect upon the totally partisan narrative. The most appalling atrocities by the rebels are never reported upon by Amnesty. For example when the insurgents decided to execute POWs by dragging them to their deaths behind motor cars. The respective killings were filmed and posted as PR videos to the internet. Did the insurgents or their secretariat organize the Amnesty visit to Syria, is that the reason? I was wondering why Amnesty apparently only interviews or reports upon Sunni citizens of Syria.

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

Amnesty is not calling for an arms embargo on the rebels, not in this post, or in others why is that? Is it because they were your tour guides in Syria? Did they arrange entry for Amnesty? Your organization did not interview Christians or Alawites. I find that very odd. In Syria, village is killing village. Amnesty shouldn't be taking sides in a sectarian civil war. It is just not morally right to do that. The opposition groups have also carried out numerous massacres, they are killing oil workers, civil servants, they are beheading Christians, attacking Alawite villages, murdering most of their POWs, it is like Bosnia. https://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=20178

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

Hi Rob
The post is about the realities of countries getting involved in arming the armed opposition in Syria and /or countries facilitating or monitoring those processes and Amnesty’s views regarding the necessary safeguards which need to happen given that this is a reality. The driver is to ensure all Syrians human rights are respected and protected. I am stating it is not clear to us that human rights consideration have been or are being fully taken into consideration – and that they should be.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 4 years ago

Hi Gregory
Amnesty’s positions are laid out clearly here www.amnesty.org.uk/protest and as is stated in the post and as our most recent Syria report notes, the armed opposition have committed some human rights abuses. We are looking into these reports and will elaborate further on our concerns about opposition abuses in an upcoming document.
The most recent report does focus on violations by the Syrian state forces, who are committing the overwhelming majority of abuses. Gross violations by state forces include extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, indiscriminate attacks, and wanton destruction of homes; they have been committed over more than 15 months, with total impunity, as part of a widespread, as well as systematic, attack on the civilian population and constitute crimes against humanity and in some cases war crimes.
As for the term “civil war” – we don’t use this as it has no legal status – in some parts of Syria the situation is an internal armed conflict. It is important not to focus too much on words though, and instead concentrate on ending the grave and widespread violations in Syria.
Amnesty talks to a wide range of people inside and outside Syria concerning the current crisis – these people are from all the different grouping inside Syria. It should also be pointed out that the opposition groups inside Syria are far more diverse than you may realise with many people from the “minority groups” including Christians and Alawites taking an active part in opposition activities – whether they advocate the use of force or not.
I would also point out that in the vast majority of the country; the issue is still one of a government brutalising and punishing civilians and peaceful protesters for opposing the current government. Yes there is an internal armed conflict in other parts of the country but this is not the whole story.
It is also the case that since the beginning of the uprising, protesters have consistently chanted "One, one, one - the Syrian people are one" and challenged the governments attempts to frame the uprising in sectarian terms.More information on the campaign is at www.amnesty.org.uk/syria

Kristyan BenedictStaff 4 years ago

Has Amnesty interviewed any Alawites, even just one? According to testimony given to the UN panel, oddly enough by the Free Syrian Army, the armed opposition are immediately executing captured Alawites. The other prisoners are forced to fight against the regime or face execution, the captured Alawites and Christians, are killed out of hand. Amnesty's reportage is entirely one sided and doesn't seem to involve cross-ethnic research, strictly speaking your surveys appear to be invalid, because they exclude everybody except a single preferred victim group. I am right in saying that no POWs, or Alawites were interviewed by Amnesty?

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

I have decades of human rights work experience, my first campaign in Spain with the Franco regime. Amnesty did not interview a single Alawite or Christian in Syria. Nor did Amnesty ask the relevant local authority what had happened to the pro-regime POWs.

However, I can help. The FSA were holding so much territory they took large numbers of prisoners. As the FSA vacated real estate,. they murdered any POWs or hostages. Some of these groups of bodies became defectors murdered by the regime in the act of defecting. In Syria that is 'PR'.

The Alawites and Christians are inevitably tortured and executed more or less immediately except when briefly exploited for a video, but always eventually murdered.

Gregory Carlin

The commission said it had also received many reports of summary executions by antigovernment rebels, foreign fighters and people suspected of being informers or collaborators.

A Free Syrian Army soldier told the panel that captured soldiers from the Alawite sect, from which Mr. Assad draws strong support, are usually executed immediately, while soldiers from other sects are given the option of joining the opposition.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/world/middleeast/syrian-pro-government-television-station-attacked.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

Hi Gregory

Note what I said above:

“Amnesty talks to a wide range of people inside and outside Syria concerning the current crisis – these people are from all the different grouping inside Syria. It should also be pointed out that the opposition groups inside Syria are far more diverse than you may realise with many people from the “minority groups” including Christians and Alawites taking an active part in opposition activities – whether they advocate the use of force or not.”

So yes Amnesty has and do interview people and discuss issues with people who happen to be Alawite – these are both pro and anti-government. See here a clip from a demo we did back in October 2011 where one of our main speakers is a Syrian activist who happens to be Alawite http://vimeo.com/33971128 and here http://vimeo.com/31547994 .

So it is absolutely incorrect to say Amnesty have not interviewed “Alawites or Christians” – you are also wrong about our engagement with the Syrian authorities as we regularly write to them or contact them seeking further information on allegations and abuses.

As for the CoI report – please see our latest statement on it: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=20193

Kristyan BenedictStaff 4 years ago

Your statement on the TV station massacre I took to be entirely reprehensible, there was no need to brand murdered journalists as propagandists. Free speech is what it is. Amnesty did not, and I do stand by this because I know it to be true, conduct any interviews with any Alawites or Christians in Syria.

The Free Syrian Army has a policy of elimination of Alawites and Christians for security reasons. In other words it executes members of its own confederation who are Alawite or Christian. Similarly the pro-state militia have (to a lesser extent) murdered colleagues of the wrong faith. Ironically much of the funding for the pro-state militia is from mercantile Sunnis.

The Free Syrian Army in Homs for e.g. are virulently anti-Christian, which is why there are no Christians left.

http://static.prisonplanet.com/p/images/june2012/270612top.jpg

That FSA fighter didn't get his Catholic regalia in a fancy dress shop. Amnesty reports are often wildly off the mark. Nearly every Armenian I know in Syria, is fighting for the regime. I doubt if a single Armenian has supported the FSA. And if any did, they are surely marked for elimination.

Alawites and Christians are for FSA purposes 'a security risk'. So they kill all captured examples, and eliminate any security risks in their support or military structures.

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

Gregory - I don't recollect you being on any of our Amnesty missions to the region or being involved in the planning for them or any of the debrief sessions...yet you claim to know how these, including the most recent one to Syria, have been conducted...it's not exactly easy to have a conversation with somebody who makes such statements so far removed from reality.

ps I had another lengthy meeting with a Baath party member who happens to be an Alawite and government supporter just last week - this is quite normal but you claim to know more about how we do our work than those involved at Amnesty. Gregory - you don't. That is all.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 4 years ago

Kristyan

I can tell Amnesty has invested nothing in the Geneva convention aspects because there is a blank zero there in your reports.

For a hot war, with towns and cities being reduced to rubble, and vast tracts slipping in & out of govt control, to ignore the missing, and vanished POWs is a catastrophic oversight.

"I had another lengthy meeting with a Baath party member who happens to be an Alawite and government supporter just last week this is quite normal"

Did he pop over to see you or did you go to Syria for a chat? That's what I mean about your reports, they are so misleading.

I thought Amnesty were complaining the regime wasn't answering your letters? now I am invited to think Baath party members are EU sanction busting to have a chat... or you are going to them.

I rather think neither is the case. This is what I do know, Donatella Rovera didn't interview a single Alawi or Christian on her recent sojourn into Syria.

My first encounter with Amnesty related to the mission of Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women to the USA, and the last related to a sex industry entrepreneur who presided over a policy presentation at one of Amnesty's UK conferences.

So, I've see the reasonably straightforward and the strange.

Best

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

Gregory

if you read the report, especially the section on applicable international law you will see reference to the Geneva conventions.
Also note that this is not going to be the last report we ever do on Syria..there will be more.. which will look at abuses and violations in other parts of the country and including abuses by the armed opposition.

As for the Baath party chap - he is resident in the UK and came to see me - you presuming he was in Syria leads to you being misled.

As I have also said to you several times, you are incorrect about our researcher not interviewing people who happen to be Alawi or Christian - she did - I know this because she is a colleague of mine and unsurprisingly we talk about how the work has gone and questions raised about it (including yours when you initially asked it some time back).

So my advice - read the actual report and come back to me with anything which is factually incorrect.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 4 years ago

Shouldn't both sides not be supplied with weapons if human rights violations have occurred on either side ? An agreed diplomatic response to this issue through the UN has clearly hit the skids. However this organisation does have a chance to redeem itself if a strong ATT can come out of the present negotiations.

I don't think assurances are enough from any nation in relation to supplying arms. Amnesty were highly critical, quite rightly in my opinion, over UK reassurances that Abu Qutada would not be tortured if returned to Jordan. Nations will not be able to comply should violations occur. Assurances like these are thinner than the paper that they are written on and cannot take the place of a strongly regulated arms trade treaty.

Daveyboy 4 years ago

Hi Daveyboy - see our latest statement here http://amnesty.org/en/news/friends-syria-must-use-their-influence-stop-cycle-repression-and-violence-2012-07-05

this section in particular:

Amnesty International believes that any state considering the supply of arms to opposition fighters for the protection of civilians must carry out rigorous risk assessments based on objective information to ensure that there is not a substantial risk those arms would be used to commit or facilitate crimes under international law. If there is a substantial risk that arms will be used to commit war crimes or other serious abuses, those transfers must be stopped.

This criterion – called the ‘Golden Rule’ for regulating arms transfers – is at the core of UN negotiations on a comprehensive global Arms Trade Treaty, currently under way in New York.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 4 years ago

Kristyan,

At this point in time agencies of the official type are circulating very troubling and urgent warnings about the armed opposition. Even, UN architectural and heritage experts are comparing the Syrian opposition to the Taliban.

The UN issues are contemporary but also include mistaken attributions of who did what. The armed opposition, so I am told, are thought to have killed many more civilians than previously assigned to that side of the slate.

The Free Syrian Army are within a present day aspect, booby-trapping churches, hospitals schools, dead bodies, atrocity sites, and even ambulances.

I could also say, taking up position in the Crac des Chevaliers and inviting the Syrian military to use artillery or aviation to attack the historic edifice, is terribly not like a legal army, or lawful combatant. I know the pro-al-Qaeda fanzines think it is a fantastic idea, but of course they would. Because, that is what it is about.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay wants a total arms embargo on Syria, not just the regime, but as a matter of urgency also the rebels.

The armed opposition are insurgents, and do insurgency, they do not defend civilians.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

"Amnesty International believes that any state considering the supply of arms to opposition fighters for the protection of civilians"

In the Amnesty world view should the other ethnic groups in Syria be allowed to get weapons to protect themselves? What does Navi Pillay think is the problem?

UNITED NATIONS, July 2 (Reuters) - The Syrian government and the rebels are receiving more and more weapons, which is fueling violence in a 16-month conflict that the United Nations says has killed more than 10,000 people, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Monday.

What will make it better?


"The ongoing provision of arms to the Syrian government and to its opponents feeds additional violence," Pillay said in the written text of remarks she made to the U.N. Security Council. "Any further militarization of the conflict must be avoided at all costs."

Am embargo on all the combatants. Okay why?


Pillay reiterated her position that the 15-nation council should refer the issue of Syria's conflict to the International Criminal Court in The Hague because there crimes against humanity and other war crimes may have been committed. She said both sides appear to have committed war crimes.

Okay both sides are doing war crimes. What do we call this crisis?

Pillay said she was now calling the situation in Syria "a non-international internal armed conflict," the legal term for a civil war. Once that term is used, diplomats say, it means the Geneva Conventions on armed conflict apply.

I am astounded that Amnesty is not asking for an arms embargo. The primary criticism of Amnesty is that it is picking favourites in a civil war (which is what it is). So the Alawite militias are not to get guns, because they are enemies of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the dog's breakfast of Sunni insurgents can get weapons if....

'Amnesty International believes that any state considering the supply of arms to opposition fighters for the protection of civilians must carry out rigorous risk assessments based on objective information to ensure that there is not a substantial risk those arms would be used to commit or facilitate crimes under international law.'

Okay so Amnesty thinks possibly arming one side of a sectarian civil war (which is what it is officially @ Pillay's UN office) might be okay if the forms are filled in correctly?

Go figure!

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

Although I believe that the Golden Rule is a step in the right direction the crux is in the line "state..........must carry out rigorous risk assessments". As far as I'm aware the draft treaty does not include the incorporation of an outside agency which is supposedly not popular ? Interestingly nuclear weapons do, even though this type of weapon hasn't killed near as many people as conventional weapons have in their lifetimes. Therefore it will be the dreaded "self regulation" by states to decide if human rights abuses might occur. Also if you are going to have the Golden Rule then there must be some sort of accountability procedure attached should a violation occur. Naming and shaming which is already available isn't enough.

Daveyboy 4 years ago

The protection of civilians claim is a myth, the reality is that Free Syrian Army are insurgents, and they do insurgency.

Amnesty and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay have diametrically differing views on the subject of arming the opposition. The UNHCHR doesn't want arms to go to either side as both are involved in war crimes.

http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/06/22/427025.htm

That particular massacre in the same area and approximate time frame as Amnesty were claiming to have researched. It didn't make a late edition of any Amnesty report.


The TV station is as far as I can recall the only massacre referred to by Amnesty, they didn't seek to blame on the Syrian govt. In fact perhaps the only massacre of pro-govt people referred to since the Syrian civil war began.

So it should surprise nobody that the UN and Amnesty do not see eye to eye on a weapons embargo to opposition groups.

If a grouping is doing war crimes, and the FSA are, the UN and orthodox human rights sector's policy is not to supply weapons. Why Amnesty can't simply sign up to that is a puzzle.

Gregory














to

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

I can't believe I am reading this! Amnesty have now asked the UN Security Council to tell the opposition/armed groups/mercenaries that any weapons supplied to them are not to be used to commit human rights abuses and/or war crimes.

So, according to Amnesty, it's OK to supply weapons to the Syrians but only if the recipients promise that they will not do anything bad with them. What do they imagine people do with guns?

Kristyan makes the distinction between friendly bombing and kind killings of the opposition soldiers and the barbaric massacres and appalling murders by the Assad soldiers. How many years have we had to listen to this nonsense: our killings, good; their killings, evil.

Once, Amnesty would simply have said that no weapons of any kind should be supplied to either side in the conflict. It appears those days are long gone.


cbeech 4 years ago

With regard to the above article you people from Amnesty are living in cloud cuckoo land. The so called "atrocities" committed by Ghaddafi during his reign dont even amount to a fraction of the atrocities currently going on now in Libya after his overthrow and murder towards which I might add you at Amnesty contributed significantly.
Theres not much point now wringing your hands and bleating about "crimes against humanity" and "human rights" abuses now in Libya when you at the time were more than happy to see NATO over reach its UN mandate and actively take sides with the so called "freedom fighters" against Ghaddafis regime.
At least Ghaddafi never had a program of ethnic cleansing during his regime as is now being conducted against the 30,000 or so Tarwegans and anyone with black skin who are being killed and terrorised daily by your darling "freedom fighters". Ghaddafi was much loved and respected throughout Africa and he saw himself and his country as Africans which was why he was hated by the racist and fundamentalist islamist scumbags who subsequently killed him with the help of NATO and organisations such as yours beating the drum for regime change. These people owe more in allegiance to al-qaeda and the wahabi salafist regime in saudi arabia than they do to the west. Libya was a stable and prosperous country under Ghaddafi and Ghaddafis only crime was in stating that he wanted to be paid in gold for his countrys oil rather than in the useless US dollar which prompted his downfall. Organisations like Amnesty and the ICC are nothing but political tools and mouthpieces for the war mongering nations of the west. The ICC is only interested in trying African dictators while the one nation with an unquestionable record of constant human rights abuses and war crimes whos troops should be the ones standing in the Hague (america) doesnt even recognise the authority of the ICC and refuses to hand over its troops to be tried for war crimes. What does that tell you? You all make me sick.

omisore2 4 years ago

"Pillay said she believes President Bashar Assad's regime and opposition forces are both committing crimes against humanity and war crimes."

I gather the insurgents celebrated the capture of police outposts at Aleppo by murdering substantial numbers of captured police foolish enough to take the offer of quarter at face value. It was clear from the very beginning many of the warlords providing the military muscle to the peculiarly titled 'peaceful protesters' were homicidal maniacs. If Aleppo falls, it could be like Rwanda.

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

'A video posted on YouTube showed rebels with Kalashnikovs in Aleppo from "The Tawheed (monotheism) Brigade" guarding the detainees who were lined up in four groups on a school playground.'

The 'freedom fighters' use school kids as soldiers and schools and clinics as prisons and murder journalists they disagree with.

I asked Amnesty to review YouTube videos months ago and they refused, oddly enough at a time when Amnesty were relying on fabricated videos to support their hospital torture research.

Both sides in this civil war are involved in crimes against humanity.

The FSA are using schools, and hospitals as execution and torture sites. Amnesty is not shy of using dubious or fake videos to back up its research. So why are we still waiting for 'a report' on the videos which are genuine?

How many more months do we have to wait for Amnesty to call for an arms embargo on the "The Tawheed (monotheism) Brigade" and Free Syrian Army?

The FSA possibly murder more prisoners in a month than the regime has executed at its official prisons since the civil war began. So ad hoc killing on the grand scale versus something less from the ICC perspective, the official regime executions.

"For the sake of all those who have already lost their lives in this uprising, we must insist that those involved in the supplying of arms to the armed opposition should have in place the necessary mechanisms and safeguards to ensure the material supplied is not used to add to the already horrendous level of human rights abuses and war crimes committed during the course of this uprising."

If that is good enough, why don't we ask the Russians to do that, why call for an embargo?

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

AMMAN (Reuters) - Footage showing the apparent execution of four men loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and piles of bodies of government militiamen in a police station suggest that rebels are using the same tactics for which the Syrian leader's own forces have been condemned.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/48434869

The FSA are using schools to murder people, they are effortlessly out-killing the regime in the public execution category.

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

Hi Gregory Carlin

I completely understand your frustration seeing a once respected organisation like Amnesty taking on the role of NATO propagandists and appearing to support armed conflict. I have been reading these Amnesty Syria campaigns with utter disbelief at the level of ignorance of what is really happening in Syria. And really, there is no excuse: I realise that it is increasingly difficult to discover the truth today but it is still possible with detailed research. There are dozens of well-informed analysts who have an in-depth knowledge of the situation, for example, Sami Ramadani from London Met:

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8662

Of course, the Syrian people want democracy, human rights and freedom from oppression but for most Syrians, I believe the complete destruction of their country would be too high a price to pay. Amnesty seem to want a re-run of Iraq and Libya where once prosperous countries are utterly ruined and if I recall correctly, they were instrumental in causing this (remember the “babies torn from incubators by Iraqi troops” that Amnesty reported that later turned out to be a complete fabrication – very much like their coverage of the Houla massacre!)

To Krystian Benedict – Many dictatorships have been overthrown in the last 30 years by the people without resorting to armed conflict and without external intervention. Remember Aung San Suu Kyi, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
Try reading Gene Sharp’s book From Dictatorship to Democracy or listen to the peace activist, Scilla Elsworthy on how to successfully fight oppression using non-violence:

http://www.ted.com/talks/scilla_elworthy_fighting_with_non_violence.html

If you really wanted to help stop the violence rather than being a cheerleader for NATO intervention, you would be asking Amnesty members to email the British Foreign Minister or representatives from Turkey, France US, UK, Israel, Qatar or Saudi who are primarily responsible for escalating the conflict by arming, funding and transporting the huge numbers of foreign fighters who are now flooding into the country.



cbeech 4 years ago

Amnesty went to the killing fields of Syria and failed to notice the black flags of al Qaeda everywhere.

This war is unique. The FSA were killing at a rate because everybody they killed could be portrayed as victims of the regime. The more people they murdered the better the press reviews. In decades to come, this war will be studied, because of the number of agencies completely hoodwinked by sectarian criminals.

The FSA are not soldiers, they are death squads. They are using schools the same way the Khmer Rouge used schools, as prisons and killing grounds.

I was talking to colleagues in Paris, just about any deranged lunatic or fanatic with a mind to do killing in Syria, is on his way to a bag of money so long as the victims are Christians, Alawi or _anything_ promoting normality in the face of adversity, that means electricity, postal workers etc. To deliver the mail during this civil war is to be guilty of opposing the revolution.

Gregory Carlin 4 years ago

amnesty i feel sick at the sheer betrayal of what u should represent but instead exploit the need for real unbias and objective observers in a conflict packed with propaganda, brutal murders of women, children and elderly citizens, mounting war crimes and not by the syrian army.

did u learn nothin from libya, ur lies resulted in the huntin down and lynchin of many black libyans. money from the impe4ialists too good to refuse uh?

dale anderson was spot on, some so called antiwar orgs are just war profiteers too.

uvwill be held partly responsible for the rising death toll.

shame on u, ur a disgrace!

beciljones123 4 years ago

I was sorely disappointed when amnesty decided to go all out in favour of regime change in Libya regardless of the consequences. According to the current rulers of that country the toll of caualties is at least 80,000 with 30,000 dead and several thousand more missing. I got a call during that conflict from someone at AI asking if I would increase my contribution in order to support AI's work in that country. I was horrified by the change in attitude of AI in favour of one party in a tribal/sectarian conflict so I said no.

Now we see the same thing happening in Syria. Backing of one side and almost total demonisation of the other.

I was considering stopping all donations to AI as I wouldn't be able to answer to my conscience if I thought my donations were to be used to push a one sided policy that resulted in a deepening of the type of carnage that is occuring in Syria and that amnesty had promoted in Libya.

The only thing stopping me at the moment is the good work that has been done in other places. But I am wondering exactly who is running AI now and where have they gotten the idea that we must kill, or support the killers, in order to save/improve lives? It's getting Orwellian.

EmptyR 4 years ago