In the wake of President Obama's warning to the Assad regime that using "a whole bunch of chemical weapons" would be a "redline" that might cause him to rethink his approach of not interfering with the on-going carnage in Syria, the regime has slaughtered 630 civilians in Daraya, Syria this week without using any chemical weapons at all, according to a reports from the Local Coordinating Committee.
Daraya had been known for its peaceful resistance to the regime. Things didn't descend into chaos after the regime completely withdrew its security forces from the community several months ago. Instead, community activists and volunteers started running this community of 200,000 in the shadow of Damascus with a quiet efficiency that completely unnerved the regime. Without the regime forces, there were no ethnic clashes and very little crime. This was the regime's response to their non-violent opposition. All men found of "fighting age" were slaughtered but women and children weren't spared. They too were killed in large numbers.
These murders were predicted. They could have been prevented.
This is a massacre that the world let happen!
Obama's Treasury and Commerce departments are denying the opposition security software that is a matter of life and death to them!
Obama's CIA is even stopping the opposition from getting effective anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons from anyone!
Not a single condemnation of the— The Revolting Syrian (@YallaIr7al) August 27, 2012
#Daraya Massacre yet by any country ...
We can't say we weren't warned!
We saw it coming. We just didn't do anything,
We watched it happen on Twitter and YouTube.
I can hear the bombing.. i can see the smoke.. and i can't help— Free Didi (@kdana64) August 25, 2012
God have mercy on the souls of those being butchered in— The Revolting Syrian (@YallaIr7al) August 25, 2012
#Daraya as I type this. And no mercy on those who witness this massacre in silence.
and elsewhere in Syria, the carnage goes on!
THEIR SCREAMS OF PAIN AND FEAR ARE DEAFENING AND HEARTBREAKING … BUT IS ANYONE LISTENING? Aleppo (Qady Al Asker): Aug 26, 2012 - Is anyone willing to help these children? Or are they resigned to a fate of more shelling only to end up dead or severely injured and back in dirty, understaffed and undersupplied make-shift clinics?
**HORRIFYING & EXTREMELY GRAPHIC** THIS IS THE FINAL IMAGE HIS PARENTS WILL HAVE OF HIM. Daraa (Busr Al Sham): Aug 26 2012 - Words cannot describe this scene. It’s not out of a horror moive. It’s not your imagination. The first boy in the opening scenes is a real human. He was horrifically killed when a Russian made and supplied helicopter fired rockets into his home, tearing the top part of his skull off and covering him in dust, thus making this little child appear out of some horror movie.If we, working collectively, can not stop the carnage that is going on in Syria, or if we refuse to, we have signed our own Death Warrant as a species on this planet.
But this is not a horror movie. This child was a son to loving parents. He went to school. He had dreams. He used to play in the streets like all kids. Yet this is how he will be remembered by his family. This is how the world (that cares to look) will see him.
The Christian Science Monitor is reporting today:
'Atrocity on a new scale'? Syrians piece together story of Daraya massacreThe Economist has this report:
The Syrian opposition is disseminating video footage from the town of Daraya this weekend that tells of a government massacre that may have left more than 600 people dead.
By Arthur Bright, Staff writer / August 27, 2012
New video footage has provided graphic evidence of a massacre reportedly committed by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Damascus suburb of Daraya. If reports from the London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights of more than 300 dead are confirmed, "it would be an atrocity of a new scale" in the Syrian conflict, a British diplomat warned.
Over the weekend, activists posted multiple bloody videos of the victims of what they say was a coordinated massacre of citizens of Daraya – mostly young men of fighting age, although women and children were killed as well – that began on Friday.
“The Assad forces killed them in cold blood,” Abu Ahmad, a resident of Daraya, told The New York Times. “I saw dozens of dead people, killed by the knives at the end of Kalashnikovs, or by gunfire. The regime finished off whole families, a father, mother and their children. They just killed them without any pretext.”
The Local Coordination Committees activist group said that some 150 bodies were found Saturday night in the basement of a mosque in what seems to be the largest single killing site, though additional sites continue to be found – another 15 bodies were found in the basement of a home on Sunday. The LCC puts the death toll for the week in Daraya at more than 630.
“Daraya, a city of dignity, has paid a heavy price for demanding freedom,” the group said in a statement, adding: “The death toll has doubled in the past few days due to field executions and revenge killings.” More...
The devastation of DarayaFrom the National we have this very important report:
Aug 27th 2012, 13:20
IT IS difficult to distinguish one gruesome day from the next in Syria until the devastation of a town is so great that it earns itself a place on the conflict’s increasingly bloody timeline: the assault in February on Homs’s Baba Amr district, the Houla massacre in May, and now Daraya.
The small town on the southwestern edge of the capital Damascus was shelled for several days last week before President Bashar Assad’s forces stormed in on August 25th, carrying out house-to-house raids and executing men on the spot. At least 200 bodies were found on Saturday, often in basements of houses; more than 350 were killed over the past week. Video footage and photographs from local activists show bloodied corpses laid out in the yard of a mosque, before being lowered into mass graves.
The massacre is part of an intensified offensive by the regime to reassert control in Damascus and beyond. Having failed to stamp out the rebels despite resorting to ever more shelling and aerial bombing, Mr Assad appears to be targeting his efforts more specifically on areas held by or harbouring rebels in an attempt to turn the local populations against the fighters. That may work in some areas of Aleppo, the country’s commercial capital, where although many locals hate the regime there is less support for the opposition fighters. But in smaller towns like Daraya, residents reached by Skype on Sunday put the blame squarely on the regime.
Rebel fighters here apparently withdrew from the town to avoid the regime’s wrath, although some may have simply melted back into the civilian population. But any such efforts were futile: the regime sees all young men as a threat, as the fact that the majority of the dead were young men shows. The UN accuses both sides of war crimes, but says that those committed by the government far outweigh those of the rebels. Increasingly, ordinary Syrians are bearing the brunt of the violence. Saturday was the bloodiest day yet, adding to a death toll of 4,000 so far in August.
In Daraya, Syrians are mourning not just the devastation in one town but the increasingly dark fate of the uprising. For months the place was a beacon of non-violent resistance. As other parts picked up arms, protesters in Daraya offered roses and water to the soldiers stationed in their hometown. To no avail. Ghiyath Matar, a young activist committed to non-violent protest, was arrested and tortured to death; others were shot on the spot. Daraya embodies the sad trajectory of Syria’s uprising, in which the regime’s violence has transformed hopeful protests into a destructive civil war. It will be just one of many places to pay dearly.
Not surprisingly, the Assad regime has made its own claims that these people were killed by anti-government forces and have produced video propaganda promoting these lies. Here is one such report from the pro-Assad Dunya TV's Michellen Azer that is well critiqued in the subtitles:
Daraya: the defiance that led to the Syrian massacre of hundredsPhil Sands
Aug 27, 2012
DAMASCUS // For a rather non-descript town of drab cement block buildings on the southern outskirts of Damascus, Daraya in two short months acquired a significance far exceeding its size or the apparent ordinariness of its neighbourhoods.
Until the start of last week's all-out assault by regime loyalists, which culminated with the alleged massacre of at least 300 people, the community took up the task of governing themselves - a highly emblematic piece of defiance against a regime that has long warned chaos and Islamic extremism would engulf areas outside of its strict control.
Rather than sliding into anarchy after security forces withdrew entirely from the town this summer, Daraya had instead been run with a certain quiet efficiency by opposition activists and volunteers drawn from the town's 200,000 or so population.
There was no state police in the area, but traffic flowed freely and residents reported little crime. Modest rebuilding projects to repair damage from previous army operations had been carried out, paid for by local donations.
Stores and wood workshops were open, an independent community newspaper was being published and volunteer street cleaners swept and washed down roads. People even queued politely at the local petrol station.
With no security forces on hand to make arrests, activists would stand at major intersections and hand out leaflets designed to educate residents on the key principles of the revolution, as drawn up by committees of local men and women.
The leaflets said there must be equality between all religious and ethnic groups in the new Syria and stressed the importance of ensuring justice and rejecting revenge in dealing with regime officials. They also spelt out that with new freedoms would come enormous responsibilities and duties for every citizen, including caring for the environment and conserving scarce water resources.
Daraya was one of a growing number of places living on the fraying edge of central authority in Syria, but its slide out of the government's grasp was made all the more remarkable by its proximity to the very centre of power. More...
2:21 PM PT: So many people ask me what I think should be done that i decided to elevate this from a comment to the main body.
The US should not act as a filter for weapons reaching the opposition.
From the NY Times we have this story about our country's input into this crisis under Obama's leadership:
A small number of C.I.A. 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.From the Australian, we have more details about what the American role really amounts to:
the CIA has blocked shipments of heavy anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, which rebel units of the Free Syrian Army have long said are vital to their efforts to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. At the same time they have approved supplies of AK-47 Kalashnikov rifles, and just over a month ago gave the green light to a shipment of 10,000 Russian-made rocket-propelled grenades.This is a disgusting policy. What does that make the United States if not accessories to these murders?
So I guess the first thing I want done is for Mr Obama stop this shameless policy of promoting endless war in Syria while at the same time denying the Free Syrian Army the weapons they need to win.
Is he so afraid of what Israel will say if he allows the FSA to get manpads that he is willing to see thousands get slaughtered from the air between now and the election?
Clearly nobody is even considering a no-fly zone, so I find this policy of denying the people being slaughtered the tools with which to defend themselves absolutely criminal.
I hope there is a charge of accessory-to-a-warcrime, and it won't just be the Russians who will be looking at it.
We don't want weapons to wind up in enemy hands and it is probable that at least some of the FSA groups are allied to Al Qaeda. Just because someone is Assad's enemy does not mean it is in our national interest for them to have heavy weapons.Another Kossack wrote a dairy that expressed much the same sentiment:
Why is the Obama administration trying to limit who gets arms and block heavy arms from being delivered to the rebels in Syria?The idea being defended is that these items have a dual use. Yes they could be used to save the people being slaughtered from the air, but they could also be used to challenge our air superiority and endanger us in other ways.
Because most of the arms the rebels have are not secure. There is no organized command structure, alliances between groups are very fluid, and cash is king - almost all the arms in rebel hands are up for sale.
So since we don't directly suffer from the slaughter in Syria, but we may suffer if these weapons should fall into the wrong hands, we should stop them from getting the weapons if we can.
This is the same "dual-use" mentality imperialist powers always exercises where they have that control.
With the Iraq sanctions it meant: We know you need chlorine to purify the water but you could make chemical weapons with it so sorry the children will have to die. Or we know you need anti-biotics to fight diseases but they could also be used in a bio attack, so sorry.
Israel uses the same self-serving "logic" to deny Gaza even the most basic building materials.
The US policy, Obama's policy, the one these Kossacks seem to be defending is precisely the policy that will cost the most Syrian lives. It is a policy of allowing them just enough weapons to continue the fight [ AK-47s and RPG] while denying them the weapons [heavy anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons] they need to win the fight.
A long civil war in Syria suites US imperialism just fine. First, they really don't want to see Assad go. Obama thought he was on the verge on doing a peace deal with Assad, and he was helping with intel. But they would like to see Assad weakened. And if Assad does have to go, they want to have a say in picking the next king, and they don't have that clout with the FSA yet, so continuing the war gives them time and space to maneuverer.
Of course, that also means that the slaughter of Syrians continues, but US imperialism never worried about that. Didn't in Vietnam or Iraq or now with the drone strikes everywhere. In Syria, the US isn't even doing the killing directly, we're just blocking help from getting to them.
Still, its a lousy, blood-soaked, Machiavellian, imperialism policy and I'm just sorry to see so many Kossacks lining up behind it.
Here are my related diaries on Syria:
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout