By OGN Staff (reporting from Syria)
17,723. Remember this number. According to Amnesty international’s new report it is the number of detainees who have “died” in custody since 2011 in Syria. 17,723. Keeping in mind that the real toll is most likely significantly higher, however lets stick to this number for now.
Many have forgotten what this war is about. It started in 2011 with the Syrian people peacefully asking for basic human rights. As opposed to being met with a willing governmental ear, they were met with with bullets, disappearances, and more torture. So instead of simply accepting that “this is the way it is”, the Syrian people decided to fight back. The killing and torture carried out by the Syrian government dates back for decades and was not hidden to anyone with eyes, including an international community with intelligence capabilities, yet nothing was done to protect civilians from their government’s oppression.
However, I want to put this number back in front of you: 17,723 dead detainees. Who could tolerate such a number? I ask: What would be your response if one of your family members were amongst the 17,723? Would you be as willing to trust the international community to sort the situation out (something they haven’t done in 5 and a half years), or would you be heading to the nearest resistance recruitment center in Syria to be a part of change? I must ask, if a family member of yours was one of the 17,723 and you watched on TV day in and day out as Russian president Vladimir Putin smiled amongst other world leaders and spoke of how aiding and abetting Syrian president Bashar Assad’s regime equated to fighting “terrorism”, what would you say? What would you feel? What would you feel towards those other world leaders that continue to host and not shun him? The Iranians have backed Assad’s bid to stay in power with money, troops, and political backing. Oddly, the Iranian and Russian state media did not mention Amnesty International’s report. I wonder why?
Russia stated a few days ago that they would support a 48 hour ceasefire in Aleppo for humanitarian reasons. Yet there was no mention of humanitarian reasons when they aided and supported the Syrian regime in their siege of Aleppo. It seems that only after Jaysh Al Fath broke the siege last week did it spark some interest in humanitarian affairs in Moscow.
In the end, it must be kept in mind by the reader that those groups fighting in Syria didn’t spring up because they, as Assad’s government would say, just wanted to “destroy the country”. Jays Al Fath and similar groups are 90% Syrian and many of them are ex-detainees themselves. They know that 17,723 number very well. For them, it’s not just another report to be ignored, for them it is a call to fight for their rights.