Hammering Hama: Syria on the edge

Reports that people in the besieged city of Hama in Syria have been burying people in public gardens ought to be a wake-up call.

The Guardian’s correspondent in the country says the onslaught on Hama by Syria’s security forces in the past several days has been so ferocious that people have resorted to impromptu burials of those killed, as they feared a proper funeral would be too dangerous to hold. Desperate straits …

There’s a lot of hand wringing from the international community but – unbelievably – still no word from the United Nations. This is bitterly disappointing. The exiled Syrian dissident Ausama Monajed puts it in the following way (quoted in this Guardian piece, the paper having a run of good Syria coverage at the moment):

"The international community needs to act quickly to prevent further atrocities in Syria. What are they waiting for? A million Syrians to be killed? It is shameful by any standard to see human beings being shot and killed and not a single condemnation from the UN Security Council. What message does that send to brutal dictators?"

What message indeed? Amnesty is running a campaign to build a consensus on the UN Security Council for a referral of this crisis to the International Criminal Court. Please support that here.

The organisation’s not able to get into the country right now, but what Amnesty’s hearing – via human rights activists and others in Syria – is basically pointing to a repeated pattern (in Tell Kalakh, in Dera’a, in Hama, in Baniyas, and in Homs): Syrian government forces firing indiscriminately at predominantly unarmed protestors (and even people not protesting).

There are also numerous reports of people being very brutally treated as they are being detained and taken away. And of course there have been a deeply disturbing number of deaths in custody, where bodies have been returned to families bearing wounds which strongly indicate that they’ve been tortured. 

Meanwhile the hammering of Hama goes on. For one tragic example of what’s happening, read this story of what happened to Khaled al-Hamedh. He was shot in the back by the security forces in the Bab Qebli district of Hama on Sunday. He was trying to get medicine for his four-year-old brother. After being shot tanks ran over his body repeatedly …

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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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