Slaughter of civilians in Syria
Sir, – In last Friday’s Irish Times (World News, September 6th), Michael Jansen reported that hundreds were killed so far in the Syrian regime’s move to retake Idlib with Russian and Iranian forces. Meanwhile, the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, speaking to reporters in Geneva on September 4th, said 1,089 civilians were killed between April 29th and August 29th, including 304 children. She also said that nearly all of the deaths or 1,039 were attributable to the regime and its allies, which is not surprising as only one side, ie Assad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, have airforces which have been deployed indiscriminately against civilians, bombing hospitals, schools, markets and levelling entire neighbourhoods.
Your correspondent claimed in her piece that there are 30,000 jihadists among three million people in Idlib.
However, readers must be made aware there are effectively three Syrian sides in this conflict – the Assad regime, the armed opposition of varying complexions, and the civilian population. Indeed, it is very important to emphasise a majority of the three million have been forced to flee multiple times to escape the Syrian regime and Russian bombing, as well as the brutality of Assad’s internal security terror apparatus. In other words, they do not want to return to regime areas.
However, as protests in Idlib against jihadists including HTS (Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham) have shown, the people do not want to be governed by them either.
Many of these defenceless Syrians are heirs to the peaceful uprising in 2011, when they bravely took to the streets seeking the freedoms we take for granted to escape Assad’s horrific repression, and saw their family members and friends mercilessly gunned down by his forces in the streets.
Peace in Syria cannot come without a political solution, and that is only possible if all of those responsible for crimes against humanity, including Assad and his henchmen, are brought to justice. – Yours, etc,
RONAN L TYNAN,