Put an end to the massacreA gruesome massacre of civilians occurred again last Friday in Syria, where government troops have been engaging in a massive slaughter of pro-democracy activists since March. The UN observer mission dispatched to the Middle Eastern country reported to the UN Security Council that 108 people were killed and more than 300 injured, including 49 children and 34 women, in the brutal attack in the village of Houla. The government forces reportedly resorted to artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighborhood after an anti-government protest ensued after Friday prayers, followed by a series of killings by pro-government militias known as Shabiha.
Video clips of the troops’ use of heavy weapons vividly captured one terrible scene after another. Many dead bodies of children were scattered across the street and 10 corpses of children were laid inside a mosque, along with a large-scale burial site nearby. Two days later, 33 citizens, including seven children, were also murdered in a similar attack in Hama, the fifth-largest city in the country. So far, a total of 12,600 civilians were presumed to have been killed by Syrian forces since March of last year.
The international community condemns the barbaric repression by the government in chorus. The UN Security Council on Sunday issued a special statement unanimously denouncing the merciless acts in the strongest possible words. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan demanded those responsible for perpetrating the inexcusable crime be held accountable, and the Arab League convened an emergency meeting to discuss the situation. As such, the international efforts to put an end to the Syrian crisis is expected to be accelerated. The New York Times has reported that the U.S. government now has plans to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as Russia comes under increased pressure to abandon its staunch ally.
The Syrian crisis has been exacerbating amid the international community’s muddled - and ineffective - response to the ruthless and inhuman crime committed by the brutal dictatorship. Russia’s opposition has so far been a major stumbling block to the settlement of the crisis. Iran and North Korea’s military assistance to the Assad regime is also under fire. It would be an utterly heart-wrenching story if a regime can continue to exist after brazenly carrying out a massacre of innocent children and women. The global community must stop it as quickly as possible even by using the military option.