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Syria's Children Are Targets In Assad's War - Implement R2P

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This week there has been reflection by geopolitical analysts discussing the "what ifs" of the Syria equation if the US had stood up and assumed the position of leadership at different points in the crisis. Now the analysts are floating new "what if" scenarios to add to their dialogue, as the Assad regime has risen to a new level of "monstrous" attacks on civilians. This dance of "should I, could I, would I" has been going on since at least 2012

Father Paolo Dall'Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest and leader of the Deir Mar Musa monastery in Syria, spoke at an interfaith iftar meal in Arlington, Virginia in July, 2012. Father Paolo, who spent approximately 30 years in Syria, warned his US audience against the increasing violence in Syria and acknowledged the urgent need for international outreach and intervention. The story has not changed, the only difference is that it is now May, 2014. Father Paolo's heartfelt plea "Take Care of Syria" is an interfaith message that must be heard again.

Eyes Wide Shut to the Disaster Assad Made

Once again the International Community has been standing "Eyes Wide Shut"! The regime has repetitively dropped barrel bombs filled with TNT, chlorine gas, and most recently tear gas onto public areas such as markets at peak hours and on schools. The death toll continues to rise, and the number of Syrians who have become disabled due to the Assad regime's war crimes will not be known until well after the war is over. However, the highest crime of all that the Assad regime has perpetrated is against the children of Syria, as it is probable they will suffer this war for more than a generation into the future.

What The US And Other Western Governments Must Consider

Bashar al-Assad continues to amaze the West with his "staying power." Assad has absolute confidence in himself and that he is the "rightful ruler of Syria." More dangerous than anything else, Assad is willing to throw away "everything that Syria is and ever has been" in order to "have what will be left of Syria." He feels empowered by the fact that Iran is "standing by him" feeding him with revolutionary guards, and Hezbollah has committed to his cause with terrorists crossing the border from Lebanon into Syria. This is just a false perception. What the US and other Western governments must consider is hard to wrap your brain around.

Iran is beginning to feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War

Iranian students studying International Relations are posing questions about Iran's role in Syria's War despite their long relationship. Students understand the impact on the Syrian people and have a lot to say. This NPR audio covers that angle.

NPR Audio

Has Russia Crossed a Line in Syria?

Some may have thought that Russia had pulled out of Syria as their deals had been struck and chaos was adequately created. However, on May 2nd @YallaSouriya reported Russian warships bombarded the coast including Kassab. Captain Amar Wawi of the rebel fighters was warned to stop fighting for the coast. It is interesting that one of Russia's deals they do not want to lose is Tartus which is on the coast. Based on this report, Russia has moved from a financier, arms dealer, intel provider, and foreign policy mouthpiece to aggressor against the opposition.

US Sanctioned Advanced Weaponry In Syria

According to the Washington Post, Abdullah Awda who leads the Harakat Hazm rebel group located in Northern Idlib has received delivery of the first US sanctioned advanced American weaponry. This is the first to be dispatched to Syria since the conflict began. Awda is a little-known commander who in June 2011 became one of the first officers to defect from the Syrian army.

The advanced weaponry was delivered through a Friend of Syria, not directly from the US, however, Awda said "the weapons came with specific US approval. This first round of BGM-71 missiles are technology that is over two decades old, but "it is a good start." Other reports of advanced weapons have been reported by activists in Southern Syria, however, there are no specific details on how the weapons were acquired.

The Impact On Syria's Children

Syria has lost 15,000 children to the crimes of the Assad regime or their affiliates, who use civilians as targets. Unfortunately, no one is counting how many children have died due to starvation, infection, or other illness that could not be treated because basic food and medicine is not available. For the millions of children who have survived, what they have suffered will be defined by the physical and mental health issues they face through the years in front of them.

Children who have watched their fathers die a brutal death, an it is likely their mother has been raped or abused, if she is still alive. For those thousands of children who have lost both parents in this savage assault on the humanity of Syria, there is another group of children who need special care and will transition into adults looking back on a void caused by none other than the Assad regime.

Moaz al-Khatib, a former Imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, President of the Syrian National Council for a short period, and a respected figure within Syria, said during an interview with Vincent Wijihuizen, "The Syrian regime has tried to kill the humanity inside the hearts of humans ... and many children don't have any way to feel themselves as people. When children see their fathers killed and their mothers abused, they lose many things ... they lose themselves." Mr. al-Khatib said he resigned from the Syrian National Council because he felt he could do more good, be more effective in a different role. Mr. al-Khatib said, "These children need to have things that will help them connect with being human [a child], a soccer ball for a boy and a doll for a girl to play with."

syrian girl with doll
Syrian girl with doll in a devastated street
Photo: Lens Homsi

Resolution

This is no longer just the disaster that Assad made. It is an International debacle. Right to Protect should have been implemented long ago, and must be implemented now despite those in the UN Security Council who would veto. A question has been asked many times by several but never answered. The question must be asked until appropriately answered, Should countries be allowed to vote on R2P when they are indirectly supplying the perpetrators or are perpetrators themselves?

USAID Numbers At A Glance

9.3 million
People in Need of Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

5.5 million
Children Affected by the Crisis in Syria

6.5 million
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Syria

HOW YOU CAN HELP!

  • Call your National Representative to express your support for assistance to Syria
  • Support a local charity that is sending assistance to Syria
  • Donate to "Toys for Children in Manchuren Syria" 100% of all funds will go to purchasing soccer balls and dolls for children living in the displaced persons camp in Manchuren, Syria
  • Kimberly Jones is a global nomad who writes about international issues, however, she has a special interest in Middle East and North Africa affairs. Read more stories by Kimberly Jones.

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