Help stop the horror in Syria - support our evidence-gathering work

Update Wednesday 19 September Donatella has just returned from Syria where, in parts of the Idlib and North Hama regions, she again witnessed indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas with no apparent military target. As this video from her research trip shows, a large number of children are being killed or maimed in these attacks and families are being torn apart. Many have fled to the countryside to seek shelter in caves while others attempt to cross the border into Turkey. Donatella's report from her time there (pdf) documents the everyday horror confronted by those trying to live their lives amidst increasing violence. Please help us continue this important work and help us continue to document these war crimes and help bring perpetrators to justice.

“Why such attacks? There are no fighters here. Just ordinary residents. My sister and her husband had fled their home because of the fighting … They came here to be safe, but instead of safety they found death.”
Surviving member of the Hindi Family

Help us continue this important work

Two weeks ago, the Hindi family were woken in the night as a shell exploded in their home. Fragments sprayed across the courtyard, killing baby Sana' while she slept and injuring her two year-old brother Abdelsalam, who is now fighting for his life. The shell instantly killed their 85 year-old grandmother, their aunt and uncle, and seriously injured the children’s mother.

Sana' Hindi's father holds a piece of shrapnel from the shell that killed her

When our researcher Donatella Rovera visited the Hindis' home a few days later she found a fragment of the shell lodged in a mosquito net covering baby Sana’s cot. The bed in which toddler Abdelsalam had been sleeping was covered in blood.

“Why are we being bombed in our own homes? My baby daughter is gone, my boy and my wife may not survive, my mother was killed.”

There cannot be any consolation for the Hindi family’s grief.  But we need to make sure that their devastation is heard, and continue documenting the atrocities in Aleppo and across Syria. It is clear that families are being killed as they sleep and civilians are bearing the brunt of this conflict. Which is why we’re doing all we can to gather strong, reliable evidence to bring perpetrators of these war crimes to justice.

Donatella's visit to Aleppo was made possible by your generous donations. Please, help us continue building an evidence base to hold war criminals to account

Breaking the laws of war

During her ten days in Aleppo, Donatella witnessed a barrage of air and artillery strikes by Syrian government forces in different parts of the city.

She investigated 30 attacks in which 80 civilians were killed. Almost all of the attacks were on residential neighbourhoods. None of the victims were directly involved in the conflict. Donatella’s report on her time in Aleppo is full of the names of children killed. These attacks amount to war crimes

Nowhere left to shelter

Schools, hospitals, homes – all places of safety, destroyed by air strikes. And, as the city struggles with a shortage of bread, families have been killed queuing outside bakeries.

Two siblings – aged 13 and 11 – were killed when they were struck in the head after a bomb exploded as they queued to buy bread.

16-year-old Dalia Hamdun and her 17-year-old brother fled their home to seek shelter in a school, thinking they would be safe. On the 5 August they were killed when an aircraft swooped down and fired several rockets.

While the vast majority of civilian deaths are at the hands of government forces, Donatella also found evidence of abuses by the armed opposition. The summary execution-style killing of 14 members of the Berri clan, a video of which was posted on youtube, is the most well-known. Unfortunately it is not the only example.

You can help stop this horror

This is the true horror of life in Aleppo. So far, the international community has failed to take effective action to stop the bloodshed in Syria. Without evidence that such atrocities are happening, it can continue to disregard the scale and gravity of human rights abuses in the country. Which is why we must keep researching and documenting: as we continue to show the brutal reality of life in Syria, it will become increasingly difficult for the world to ignore it.

We are calling on the UN Security Council to bring the situation before the International Criminal Court. When that time comes, the evidence that you are helping us to collect will be vital in bringing those responsible for war crimes to justice. Your donations have helped us get this far: please help us continue this crucial work.

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What you've helped fund

In the last year, you've donated an incredible £30,000 to help with our work on Syria. It costs us over £70,000 a year to fund research like Donatella's. As well as help us cover these costs, your money has also been used to support a wide-range of activities including:

  • Campaign materials, website funding and event support for Syrian activists in the UK
  • Media, lobbying and communication training and travel for Syrian activists in the UK
  • Government lobbying encouraging the UK to do what's right over Syria
  • Bringing Syrians human rights defenders over to the UK to meet with government representatives and help us understand the situation on the ground, as well as consult on our campaign objectives
  • Practical advice for Syrian activists on human rights standards and the laws of war

It is because of you that we are able to do this work. Together, we can stop this bloodshed and get justice for the victims.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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30 comments

Nothing Amnesty collects in relation to Syria will be admissible, because there are too many doubts and questions about how it was collected. The ICC is not going to be invoked by Russia or China.

Aleppo is under siege by gangs of Sunni extremists. It is a sectarian assault on a city by sectarian savages. The exact same way the Bosnian Serbs bombarded cities and towns.

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

God, not him (Gregory Carlin) again! "Nothing Amnesty collects in relation to Syria will be admissible..." Admissible to what? "...because there are too many doubts and questions about how it was collected." No there aren't. It was collected via this website. What ARE you on about? Ask your Kremlin handlers to up the doseage. Of course Russia and China are not going to invoke the Interrnational Criminal Court. Assad's idea of "democracy" or "freedom" is right up their totalitarian street. In an ideal world we'd kick them both off the UN Security Council.
Again I have to ask, why do Amnesty allow this idiot to spread his Putinist propaganda on their own website, thus undermining their work? For Political Correctness reasons? Who lives by the PC dies by the PC, and they certainly would in Syria, Russia or China...

timfromchester 5 years ago

You need to remember that, as members of Amnesty, we all share a common goal, that is an end to the violence and bloodshed in Syria. Unfortunately, we disagree as to the means of achieving this.

I disagree with Donatella and Kristyan on a number of issues but it is not just me: many reputable journalists such as Robert Fisk (who is in Daraya as we speak) also disagree with Amnesty’s assessment. Three of the key areas of disagreement are as follows:

1. I believe that it is vital that Russia and China DO continue to veto these UN resolutions. We know from recent experience what UN resolutions and “humanitarian aid” achieved in Iraq and Libya: the utter destruction of two relatively prosperous and functioning countries and over a million dead.

2. The Syrian people simply wanted the end to a repressive regime but they wanted to and could have achieved this through PEACEFUL means (it has been done many time before!) not through violent insurrection. I don’t believe, as Donatella suggests, that the majority of Syrians do want foreign intervention as they realise this would lead to a descent into sectarian violence and chaos and the break-up of their country.

3. I believe that there should an end to ALL arms shipments to Syria including the regime AND the opposition. It is not Russia who is the problem here, they have already said that they are quite happy to do this. The real problem is Saudi, Qatar, Turkey, US, France and UK who have been ferrying vast amounts of arms, assistance and foreign mercenaries into the country over the past year. I think this must stop. Amnesty’s position on this is not clear but can be inferred by their giving money and support to the opposition.

It wold be interesting to hear your comments on this.

cbeech 5 years ago

Hi Timfromchester. I sympathise with your irritation, but Amnesty is right to allow Gregory to post. Freedom of speech is not just political correctness but a vital part of democracy. We could hardly criticise Mr Carlin's "Putanist propaganda" if we only allowed postings we agreed with.
It's useful to have our opinions challenged, just to make us think things through carefully. Gregory is correct that some of the opposition groups in Syria are behaving violently & should be condemned. Just not on the scale that the regime forces are misbehaving.
Anyway, think how boring the blog pages would be if we just all clicked a "like" button. Some of the anti-Amnesty postings have been so ridiculous they've made me laugh.

Ruth B 5 years ago

Hi, rubygirl. I agree, people having alternate opinions is good for debating purposes, and to gage whether the opinion you hold can withstand scrutiny.
I do not however think its fair to consistantly slander Amnesty, post on numerous blogs, preaching from the same page, in the same hymn book, over and over again, picking on other commenters for upholding an Amnesty view, and at times, really being a complete nuisance (Gregory Carlin) . It deters people who could have potentially good arguements, form giving their opinion. It's a little intimidating.
Having said all that, when people comment on blogs with alternative views to Amnesty but put it forward in a way in which cbeech has for instance, it makes for good conversation over such matters.
Nobody can argue that the atrocities in Syria need to come to a swift end, but how that will come about, and the methods used by the UN, Amnesty, countries with invested interest in Syria (Russia, US, UK, etc) etc, is still the lingering question.

...views?

Bobby Brown 5 years ago

Gregory – There may not be an ICC referral by the UNSC while the current Syrian Government is in place but we will continue to make the case for it. It is interesting that Russia have not proposed a referral for alleged crimes by all parties to the conflict. It is a non violent approach and would support the Russian Governments claims that they want accountability. They should think about putting the ball in the court of the US, UK and France maybe…up to now they have not even suggested an ICC referral.

However, when a new government comes around in Syria there will be hopes it will grant jurisdiction to the ICC – certainly that is being asked of a range of opposition actors. That way the UNSC will not need to be asked to refer the situation..so you see calls for accountability are not so far fetched..

As stated previously also – you need to get a better understanding of the opposition and its diversity. There is no one organised armed opposition..that you think there is rather shows your lack of understanding of the situation.

Timfromchester – what rubygirl said.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Cbeech - See above – why then do the Russians not propose a draft resolution which is purely focused on accountability ie an ICC referral?

The Syrians, opposition groups and ordinary people who rose up did want a peaceful revolution, that is correct….however peaceful protests were continuously shot at and shelled..it is hardly surprising some people decided to take up arms to defend themselves. This is not to agree or disagree with the use of force merely to reflect what was the reality. There is after all, a limit to the amount of protection a placard will give you….The question those who reject the militarisation of the "opposition" have to face is how do you stop the Syrian government killing civilians including peaceful protesters when they not only continuously reject in practice diplomatic initiatives and also immunity deals but justify their actions including the wide scale crimes against humanity already documented by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and the UNs Independent Commission of Inquiry. We have been clear that all parties (Syrian and international) must put respect for human rights central to their thinking, planning and actions and desist from anything which impacts negatively on civilians. You can read more on my blogs here https://www2.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/kristyan-benedict

So on a final point, what after all if more offensive - researching and documenting the killing of civilians or actually..the killing of civilians? Gregory may therefore want to spend some of his energy calling on the Syrian government to stop killing civilians..meanwhile we will carry on with our work.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Kristyan

Just to clarify my position. I don’t disagree with most of what you say but it’s a question of focus: documenting crimes for later referral to the ICC is a good idea but I prefer to focus on what would actually help the Syrian people who are suffering now. The key question for me is: “What can we do to help end the cycle of violence in Syria now?” And I think we need a different strategy that addresses this question.

For me, the first priority is to stop the fighting so we need a negotiated CEASEFIRE. I believe this is possible if sustained pressure were put on BOTH sides. If Russian, China and Iran were to put pressure on the Syrian government and at the same time the US, UK, France and Turkey were to do the same with the opposition then a truce could be achieved. At the same time ALL armaments and military aid to both sides needs to stop immediately. Only then can a political solution be achieved.

But this is the position of both Russia and China. Only yesterday the Russian foreign minister stated that: “Every international player should push for both sides of the Syrian conflict to cease violence.” Below is what the Russian Foreign minister said, (taken from the Interfax news agency):

"No unilateral ideas will work. Effective approaches can only be collective, and a fine example of collective actions is the document adopted at the Geneva conference on June 30, 2012," referring to the resolution signed by the UN, EU and Arab League stipulating that all sides in the Syrian conflict must cooperate with UN observers, allow humanitarian aid to be delivered, release detainees, grant journalists access and protect the right to peaceful demonstrations. The Russian foreign minister stressed the importance of the Geneva communiqué's calls for both the Syrian government and the opposition to end violence and start talks on the formation of a unity government.

So what do you disagree with there? In my opinion, Amnesty should be asking members to email the UK, US and French governments, rather than the Russians, insisting that the escalation of violence is no solution to the crisis in Syria and we demand that they take immediate steps to establish a ceasefire.

cbeech 5 years ago

Hi cbeech - Amnesty is lobbying lots of governments and other significant actors - not just the Russians. I'd say 90% of what we are doing on Syria right now is non public campaigning - that's pretty much standard with big campaigns like this.

I agree the killings need to be stopped - however the Syrian Government need to guarantee they will not open fire or suppress ordinary peoples right to demonstrate peacefully during any ceasefire..even if people are calling for the "fall of the regime"..that is their right.

You see the problem is this current government in Syria does not respect the right to peaceful protest..however if it did, more and more people would call for an end to the Assad regime..all roads lead to Assad no longer being President, it is just a matter of when he himself realises this and stops punishing, humiliating and terrorising civilians for wanting a better life..a life which does not involve him as their President.

So sure a ceasefire between the armed opposition and the Syrian gov is one thing (even if the international community could get all the different armed groups to agree which in itself will be very difficult......) but will the Syrian gov cease firing on peaceful protesters who want Assad removed? There are no guarantees for this and right now there are no monitors in the country to monitor such a proposed ceasefire.





Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

ps just seen this - pretty much what I've been saying :

What the UN Security Council Can Do to Reduce Killing in Syria
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-johansen/un-security-council-syria_b_1848194.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Kristyan

The Free Syrian Army allows pro-Assad protests? Of course they don't and they never will, so that is that.

The diversity of the opposition, which you feel I don't understand, is not reflected in Alawites, Armenians etc. fighting for the FSA. That's a plain fact.

What one has in Syria is a sectarian civil war. You have argued against the proposition from the beginning. I don't see any reason to change an analysis that has the merit of having just about everybody else agreeing with me.

There is no way the massively fragmented armed opposition (diverse as they are) can or will ever honor the Geneva convention. So, it was a serious mistake for you to circulate the FSA's bogus claims. Because it was propaganda, and Amnesty shouldn't be doing that.

Speaking of propaganda, the list of vanished or missing prisoners, Amnesty has produced, none of them are apparently held by the diverse opposition, FSA, al-Qaeda etc.

Why is that, is Amnesty only doing regime prisoners in this very sectarian civil war?

"Robert Fisk: How a failed Syrian prisoner swap turned into a massacre in devastated Daraya ..."

The other side has so many prisoners, it can afford to murder them in batches, when they have a temper tantrum, so maybe Amnesty should have made room for the odd Iranian, Armenian etc. on that 'have you seen etc' thing you are doing.

Everybody has human rights, that's the mistake Amnesty has made from the beginning, your lobbying was and is partisan. For e.g. and it is relevant to you personally,

"The man, identified as pilot Colonel Mufid Mohammed Sleiman, was described as “a staunch enemy of the revolution” by the FSA spokesman, who said he had served with him for years before his own defection."

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/08/14/232187.html

Kristyan, you were waffling about FSA compliance documents, you swere being quite silly really, Amnesty should try to get one thing right, and try to find out if the freedom fighters have murdered that Alawite pilot, the diverse HQ for the FSA, ruminated on his religion at length.

Is it too much to ask, for Amnesty to take an interest in ONE single prisoner taken by the other side, even if the opposition are impossibly diverse?

'FSA spokesman Kassem Saadeddine said the plane was a MiG-23BN and that the pilot was from Zahraa, an Alawite district of the city of Homs.'

Colonel Mufid Mohammed Sleiman's religion matters to the FSA.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Gregory - I'll respond in several parts as there are space limitations:

re FSA” allowing Pro Assad” protests – ask them – if Syrians want to demonstrate in favour of Assad then they should be allowed to. Unlike you I am not a fortune teller so can’t say what they will do if such protests occur. What we do insist on with opposition actors is that they respect and protect human rights including freedom of expression, assembly and association – unlike you though we are not fortune tellers who know what will happen in the future so need to ensure we are taking practical measures now to ensure opposition elements and the new Syrian government in transition does respect basic human rights and ensure other governments are also insisting on this and making clear what the consequences are of restricting peoples rights to peaceful protest....

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Gregory - regarding the diversity of the opposition – yes it is very diverse. I just spent 20 seconds searching online to give you this – maybe you could spend a minute of your time and see what you find….:

Armenians for Justice in Syria - https://www.facebook.com/SyrianArmenians
Towards a Secular Syria - https://www.facebook.com/SecularSyria?ref=pb
Syrian Christians for Democracy - https://www.facebook.com/SyrianChristiansForDemocracy
Alawites in the Syrian revolution - https://www.facebook.com/AlawitesInTheSyrianRevolutionlwywnFyAlthwrtAlswryt
Here is another document you may want to review http://www.usip.org/the-day-after-project

I post these not to endorse them or for propaganda but to highlight in a very, very quick way how little you are aware of what is actually happening in Syria or how diverse the opposition actually is. I also know this because I know personally many, let’s just say “non sunni” people who are actively part of the many opposition strands – some are Armenians and some are Alawite and some are Kurdish and some are atheist and I can go on and go on…your attempts to frame the situation as purely sectarian shows a poor understanding of events on the ground.


Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Gregory - As for the FSA “Code of Conduct” – it is a good start – there is still way more to do like awareness, acceptance, training, organisation, monitoring and continuous improvement. There will need to be a new army in the new Syria – better to start ensuring it abides by IHL now rather than later or never. Doing nothing or more fortune telling/conspiracy theorising will not help protect civilians in Syria.

I’m also likely to engage less with you if your arguments are spurious and either through ignorance or not, based on false information. Want to talk seriously then do your research.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Kristyan,


Are you actually saying 'Armenians for Justice in Syria' is a real organization with a real Armenian membership?

Amnesty's vanished prisoner campaign is _entirely_ one sided and that's the general problem with AI's Syrian campaign. So, I would leave the propaganda to one side, and do human rights. That's my advice.

I would certainly urge you not to applaud FSA propaganda relating to the Geneva convention, because there is not a shred of evidence that any of the militants using the FSA franchise name are complying with the treaty.

The US state dept. funds a covert group of Syrians meeting in Germany under the guise of USIP, it is a regime change project. I am surprised you recommended that document, is that where the Amnesty philosophy is coming from?

There are clandestine people working on the 'day before' funded by the US govt. and other folks working on the 'day after' also funded by the US govt. In truth it is a one part prospectus, the US govt, assisted by a NATO ally, Germany, want to overthrow, President Assad.

What it doesn't mean, is that thousands of Alawites and Christians want it to happen. It is James Bond stuff.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Kristyan

Syria has a sectarian civil war, and if Amnesty thinks it does not, then your organization has lost the plot. The sectarianism is spreading regionally.

Gregory



Sectarian clashes kill 3 more in Lebanon's Tripoli ‎
Jerusalem Post - 24 Aug 2012
The Lebanese government has distanced itself from the unrest in Syria for fear it might spill over because Lebanon's sectarian divisions are ...
+Video: Syria War: Lebanon At Risk As Violence Flares YouTubeSectarian clashes kill three more in Lebanon's Tripoli‎ Chicago Tribune
New Sectarian Clashes Break Out in Lebanon‎ Voice of America
Aljazeera.com
all 1077 news articles »

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Gregory

I know this will blow your mind but there are actually many Armenians who believe in human rights, who want a better Syria and who want a Syria without the current government. Many are actively engaged in the civilian and armed opposition. It is also true that many Armenians are with the government and it is also true that many Armenians are staying out of matters or fleeing the country, many never to return. There is no one Armenian community in Syria just as there is no one set of political beliefs for Armenians in Syria. Again..another diverse community. Taking a simplistic approach only undermines everything else you are saying (regardless of the fact you have never shown a shred of concern for the civilians killed by Assads forces..)

And.....given that you think Amnesty is some kind of proxy of "US Imperialism" why are you so surprised I post a link to the USIP website..? Why wouldn't I if we were such a proxy...?

Ps you are reacting as expected…”clandestine people”, “James Bond stuff”…it’s really quite imaginative..carry on.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Kristyan

I have just returned from meeting Syrian Armenians in person, they're apprehensive of the attacks on Aleppo by sectarian elements from outside the city. The FSA have no Armenian, or Alawite soldiers.

The regime also has considerable Sunni support,those who have done well, or who want stability. When the FSA capture a group of regime soldiers, they _always_ separate them by religion, that's a sectarian and sinister procedure.

"And.....given that you think Amnesty is some kind of proxy of "US Imperialism" why are you so surprised I post a link to the USIP website..? Why wouldn't I if we were such a proxy...?"

I never even suggested such a thing, that's your red herring because your arguments are implausible.

However, the US state dept. funds a covert group of Syrians meeting in Germany under the guise of USIP, were you not aware of that circumstance?

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

'The prominence of Alawites in positions of power in the Syrian government since the mid-1960s has given an enduring sectarian aspect to the abuses committed by the regime, including during the extended conflict with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. This culminated in February 1982 with a massacre in Hama in which tens of thousands of civilians were killed by government forces. Sectarian identity is also a significant factor in abuses committed by the regime’s opponents against Syrian Alawites.'

Kristyan

That's the USIP document you asked me to read, so I did read it, what we have today is the same deal as 1982, it's sectarian.

There are no Armenians whatsoever fighting for the FSA, and if anybody said such was the case, they're mistaken.

Syria is a land of pervasive abductions and captive exchanges, everybody knows that. That too is spilling over into other countries.

Gregory

Lebanon-Syria hostage crisis sparks fears of sectarian violence ‎
FRANCE 24 - 15 Aug 2012
Lebanese Shiite gunmen took more than 20 Syrians hostage on Wednesday in revenge for the kidnapping of one of their kinsmen in ...
More than 20 kidnapped in Lebanon‎ TVNZ
Syrians kidnapped in Lebanon amid regional tensions‎ ABC Online
Gulf States warn citizens to leave Lebanon‎ Jerusalem Post
San Francisco Chronicle - The Independent
all 2209 news articles »

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

I'm glad you managed to read all 122 pages of the document in the past few hours - impressive..I'm presuming you didn't also meet all 100,000 + Syrian Armenians when you met those Syrian Armenians...?

The formation of this "secret group" (so secret their names are at the beginning of the document and so secret I and many others were aware this was in the works months ago) is an attempt to plot out the transition phase in an open and honest way - it accepts there is discrimination and the possibility of increased sectarianism and wants to address and challenge that...also ever since Amnesty started working on the uprising in Syria the call for "No sectarianism" has been key to our conditional engagement and assistance with opposition groups.

Anyway as said, we carry on with this campaign with our eyes open and with a vision for the new Syria based on full respect for human rights..you can carry on doing what you are doing..it isn't having any influence on us though...sorry about that.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Did I read it? Yes i did, all of it. I am quite good with reports.

I've been working with Armenian groups since the Nagorno-Karabakh war. The struggle in Syria is five wars for the price of one, the engine driving it generally is sectarianism,

I will give you 'the' key aspect on Armenia, anything which is to have an office in Istanbul, as with this Transition Support Network, US State dept. client govt in exile project, or whatever you want to call it, isn't going to have any Armenians attached to it, because of the genocide. So ergo no Armenians.

'The Prior of Halki immediately brought to the attention of the Turkish authorities that these kinds of episodes will provoke international disapproval, including that of the European Union. The Authorities response was stark: “Don’t dare to threaten us!”.'

http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=10827&size=A

I suggest you read that, the Turks are very anti-Christian and the few surviving Armenians in Turkey fare even worse, their ancient churches were used ( and possibly still are) by Turkish tank regiments for target practice. That's modern Turkey, so no Armenians in revolutionary govt. in exiles etc.

Where has Amnesty failed?

Amnesty failed to condemn the attacks by the FSA on the Red Crescent, your members were left in the dark about the FSA's humanitarian blockade of Homs. The Red Crescent were merely another govt. target, and the FSA said so at the time. The murder of pro-regime politicians ditto, your organisation couldn't even condemn the murder of oil, postal, and electricity workers. The FSA set their sights low in their war with the govt.

The State Dept. are using Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and USIP trying to establish a corporate opposition which is not cutting each other's throats. They're not really winning with that.

Also as a default, supporters of Assad are excluded, so a minority is trying to build a govt. in exile, to take over. Amnesty is supporting a minority (agitating for regime change) against the majority of Syrians who just want peace.

Amnesty _only_ campaigns for vanished prisoners if they are of a certain persuasion. That's sectarian and racist. Human rights are for everybody, including that Alawite pilot, the one who was used for the FSA's Geneva convention propaganda.

It would be typical of the opposition if the colonel was murdered within hours of that piece of hypocrisy.

Best wishes

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

"Anyway as said, we carry on with this campaign with our eyes open and with a vision for the new Syria based on full respect for human rights..you can carry on doing what you are doing..it isn't having any influence on us though...sorry about that."

That is Amnesty for you, my position which is generic, is middle of the road, and hat is I think that an NGO claiming to be in the human rights biz, should campaign for human rights of _everybody_ rather than cherry pick victims. Which is what your NGO does.

The FSA for e.g. is extensively involved in the abduction and kidnapping for politics, profit and murder line of endeavor, and your organization could not find the time to put one Iranian or etc. name in with the many on your vanished list! That's both racist and sectarian.

'Citing acquaintances in Daraya, Sallum's son Mohammed said his mother was kidnapped by the rebel Free Syrian Army on Saturday alongside her husband and several other residents of the town. The rebels, he said, promised they would set them free the next day.
"The rebels were getting ready for a prisoner exchange with the army, but the operation went wrong," said Mohammed. "There was bombing and fighting, and the rebels killed their hostages."

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Sep-02/186418-lebanese-learn-of-mothers-slaying-in-syria-on-tv.ashx#axzz25M6cW5An

That supports the Fisk account. These peculiar massacres seem to follow hand in glove with the FSA's hostage taking and abduction tactics. Kristyan, If you have no sense of what's right, I can't give you one.

By the way, there really are no Armenians fighting for the FSA. Not even a single one. Some of Amnesty's claims are preposterous.

Best

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

It must be so satisfying to know the truth.. the whole truth Gregory..carry on.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Kristyan

The Syrian civil war is a cauldron of lies from both sides.

“We will treat this prisoner according to what is required of us by our religion, our morals and the protocols in the Geneva convention related to prisoners of war,”

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/08/14/232187.html

I would guess the pilot used for the Geneva convention propaganda speech, was dead within 24 hours, if you find out different, be sure to let the world know.

The rifle pointing at the pilot, it looks like an Austrian StG 77 and will have cost a lot of money, so I would say Qatar.

The more sectarian a person is, the better his rifle.

That may be the truth.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Gregory

It is true there is spin, misinformation and lies emanating from some civilian and armed opposition elements and in a much larger and more organised way, from the Syrian government and many of their supporters..no doubt – this is hardly a revelation though.

However you can sit on the sidelines and comment, snipe, criticise or whatever it is you are doing or you can engage in the issue with open eyes to try and have a positive impact for Syria and Syrians (and the rest of us) through effective and well researched campaigning – Amnesty chooses to campaign – we are a campaigning organisation after all (and that is the subject of this blog post also).

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Propaganda? The average Syrian has to stay confused why an army of 280,000 is struggling to beat a few thousand militants.

the Christians and Alawi I spoke to are content to fight alone, their enemies are not numerous, and a more representative combat force may shrink from the task at hand, they will win or lose by engaging the enemy, in other words, they are only offering quarter when it suits them. Assad's best soldiers intend to fix the problem by killing it. That's the only solution for them.

The regime therefore has to be careful to protect the lives of the small number of soldiers who are actually doing the fighting, if you like Assad doesn't want to run out of his combat hardened Armenians, Christians, Alawi etc. So, Assad also has units that can out-kill the rest of his army, and they are obviously not 80% Sunni.

The strategic propaganda item for Assad is to hide the fact that 40,000 troops are off the establishment's books. A quarter of that would be switched sides. Quite a few murdered or vanished in the sticks. Most, the Vietnam equivalent of heading for Canada or staying at home.

Assad really thinks he is fighting a sectarian war created by Qatar etc. with al Qaeda and an encroaching neo-Ottoman element and there is enough truth with that to make sense.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

A car bomb ripped through Jaramana, a mainly Christian and Druze suburb of Damascus. (Reuters)

“There is an increase of the use of car bombs in Syria,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Observatory, told AFP.

“At the same time, men in Jaramana –most of whose residents are pro-regime –have taken up arms to defend their district. This means that the regime has really lost control and the capacity to defend even its supporters.”


http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/03/235825.html

Note the lack of irony, the insurgents are targeting Christians to provoke the manifestation of Lebanon style defenders.

At that point, they can do openly what they are already doing with a tongue in cheek. Which is waging a sectarian war against Christian civilians.

The FSA want to see the creation of Christian militia.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Comment deleted as it broke our <a href="https://www2.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/digital-amnesty/blogs-house-rules">house rules</a>

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

UN chief: Both sides in Syria violating rights
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press – 11 minutes ago
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused both the Syrian government and the opposition Tuesday of large-scale human rights violations, including torturing and reportedly executing prisoners and failing to protect civilians fleeing the war-ravaged country in record numbers.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gV6gvnIvDmypZ0v1jrVz9OZyrLOw?docId=ba0d06d6280543b7abab71b0610d3beb


Given that the rebels are barely ten percent of their opponents in numbers, and without an air force, they're more than holding their own in the atrocity stakes.



Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

On Monday, August 28, 2012, in Brussels, NATO military leaders met to discuss Syria. A vote on the authorization of force was passed unanimously and they came to a combined decision to act against Syria. Thus far, Russia and China have been vetoing all resolutions for military intervention. The NATO alliance is now looking for a real or manufactured excuse to attack without a UN resolution. I don’t understand why you fail to see this.

The media, as usual, are used for propaganda: news stories throughout North America and Europe are filled with tales of mass killings by the Syrian Army and the “systematic execution of hundreds of civilians.” Usually, these claims are simply based upon reports from “rebel forces.” It is rarely clear who is really responsible for these killings as there are usually conflicting accounts but the point is that only one version of events is ever allowed to be heard. I believe that you are NOT being impartial here but simply assisting the propaganda war.

You should know that war is dehumanising and atrocities are always committed by both sides. And it is always civilians who suffer the most. This is the nature of war that probably only ex-soldiers truly appreciate and why they set up organisations such as VeteransToday to promote peaceful resolutions of conflicts.

I am alarmed at how Amnesty steadfastly refuses to comprehend what is really occurring in Syria and the Middle-East. Their view of the situation still appears fixated upon a narrative of a popular revolution and the Syrian regime shooting peaceful protestors. Although that was certainly true, events have long since moved on from there.

I believe Amnesty has to support a peaceful resolution to the conflict. For that to occur, NATO has to back off. We need to campaign for no military intervention and instead promote something like Morsi’s idea of a regional group (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Iran?) to resolve the Syrian crisis through peaceful means, discussion and reconciliation. That way Assad would leave power and a democratic state established.

I’m not pro-Assad or in favour of the murder of innocents. I’m simply aware that an escalation of this conflict will inevitably lead to massive increase in suffering for the civilian population. We have a duty to try to prevent that.

cbeech 5 years ago