Syrian rights body tells of abuses


A video of a six year-old Syrian girl being raped by five men is among the pieces of footage a Syrian Irish human rights organisation has but cannot release to media here, a joint Oireachtas committee was told today.

Representatives of Syrian Irish Humanitarian Aid pleaded with members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs to call for international military intervention in their country, to stop mass human rights violations being perpetrated by the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Reluctant to give their surnames for fear of being identified, the four Syrian men were accompanied by the Irish documentary maker, Ronan Tynan.

Dr Hassan, a consultant obstetrician, working at the Rotunda hospital in Dublin, said diplomatic engagement with the al-Assad regime had failed, as had sending United Nations observers into the civil war-torn country.

“I am begging you on behalf of the innocent people who have been murdered, on behalf of the women who have been raped, and the children who have been raped and abused, to please take action.”

He said there had been mass detentions, murder and torture of women and children.

“They have used children, all younger then 10, as human shields, strapping their bodies to the front of military vehicles. They have raped children, forced children to perform oral sex on men. There have been children beheaded in front of their parents.”

A man named only as Mr Ibrahim said the group had footage from Syrian independent media “which would be too hard to watch”.

“We have a video of a six year-old girl being raped by five men. We have video of an old woman, 60 or 70 years old, being disrespected by men. This Syrian regime - it is not a regime, it is a mafia, a monster. Are we not humans in Syria?”

Vice chair of the committee, Bernard Durkan, TD, (Fine Gael) said he agreed with Amnesty International’s view that the UN had failed to address what was emerging in Syria. “Civilisation must take on its responsibilities.”

Dr Hassan said his group knew how complex geo-political the issues were.

“We are not asking for our country to be invaded, but for a safe zone to be created. There are good people who are able to get rid of this regime, but we need the help of good people outside. Awareness without action is useless.”