A new massacre has been reported outside Damascus in Syria. Almost 1,400 have been killed in an alleged nerve gas attack.
The horrific images and videos emerging in the news indicate that chemical weapons may have been used in Syria. The last time a chemical attack was reported in Syria, it was in March when almost 25 people had lost their lives. Then and this time again, both the sides involved in the civil war are blaming each other for the deaths.
But after looking at the distressing images of what appear to be civilian casualties, it doesn’t really matter who carried out the attack. Chemical warfare crosses a dangerous line. The disturbing photos of dead bodies at the hands of chemical weapons, including women and children, are a jarring indication that a line has been crossed. The two-year conflict between the Syrian regime and rebel forces has already claimed at least, 93,000 lives.
The blame game has to stop and something has to be done.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW
The people in these photos were unarmed and defenseless, living with their families in a country which has been torn apart because of the two-year-old armed conflict.
What is the government playing at? Do the rebels even remember the cause they were fighting for? And given the presence of Islamist elments that have joined them, are the rebel fighters even the same as two years ago?
Around five million Syrians have been forced to leave their homes and more than one million refugees are living under severe conditions in neighboring countries. One may think that that it was right for them to flee but life for them ‘out’ of Syria is equally testing and horrifying.
Amnesty International called on the UN team to get full access to investigate the chemical weapons claim.
The UN released its condemnation with the following statement:
“Such horrific acts should be a reminder to all the parties and all who have influence on them that this terrible conflict has gone on far too long and children have suffered more than enough.”
“Children must be protected, and those who fail to protect them will be held accountable.”
Joe Stork, acting Middle East Director for the Human Rights Foundation, stated “A huge number of people in Ghouta are dead, doctors and witnesses are describing horrific details that look like a chemical weapons attack, and the government claims it didn’t do it. The only way to find out what really happened in Ghouta is to let UN inspectors in.”
News is already abuzz about France calling for the use of ‘force’ in Syria if the reports of alleged chemical attack turn out to be true. But is ‘force’ needed? Can force prevent civilian casualties? And more importantly, now that there are indications of chemical warfare, what would be the next step for the United States and other political forces in and outside the Middle East who have their vested interests in Syria?
Videos of the aftermath of the reported gas attack can be viewed here. (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEOS)