Stop the massacre in Syria

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Stop the massacre in Syria

The bloody massacre of innocent civilians in Syria has crossed the line. Led by over 100 tanks, the Syrian government troops advanced to Hama, the fourth largest city, on July 31 - a day before Ramadan began. Since then, the government forces have reportedly killed more than 200 civilians in just a few days by firing at them indiscriminately. The brutal attacks even included shots by snipers hiding in buildings.

The citizens of Hama saw an abominable tragedy unfold before their eyes in 1982 when Hafez al-Assad, father of current President Bashar al-Assad, ordered the Syrian Army to slaughter over 20,000 Sunni Muslims to quell a revolt by the religious minority group.

At the current pace, it is hard not to rule out the possibility that much more severe atrocities than those that tormented the country about two decades ago will be committed in the current government’s brazen campaign to repress its people’s five-month-old call for democratization. Since the president ordered an armed crackdown on democracy movements on July 8, a total of 2,000 civilians have been killed across the country, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Yet the international community’s response to the horrible situation stops way short of our expectations, not only in terms of the humanitarian aspect but also in the effectiveness of their reaction to the crisis. With the Libyan civil war, some European countries, led by France in particular, have helped restrain the government forces’ malicious assaults on innocent people through a UN Security Council resolution that mandates a no-fly zone over Libya and a military intervention.

With the democratic uprising in Syria, however, the international community appears to be reluctant to step into the chaos, as evidenced by nominal efforts to issue a statement denouncing - and calling for an end to - the Syrian government’s brutal repression of its people.

Of course, an armed intervention by the international community should be determined in a meticulous and prudent way. As we suggested earlier, however, the Syrian government’s cannibalistic reaction to its own people’s legitimate demand for political reform is already past the point of no return.

The global community, including the UN Security Council, should come up with - and put into action - a concrete set of ideas calling for the resignation of the president as well as various ways to achieve democracy there. It must never permit another massacre to occur.

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