Friday 15 December 2017

Robert Fisk: Syria's isolation intensifies but rhetoric won't stop the slaughter

WORDS, words words. Bashar al-Assad knows his 'Hamlet', and he is not impressed. Yes, his isolation grows daily. A day after King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia pulled his ambassador out of Damascus, the Kuwaitis and Bahrainis -- we shall naturally ignore, here, Bahrain's own bloody internal suppression -- have dutifully followed his example.

The Arab League believes that Bashar should "immediately stop" the violence. The UN has roared, though it managed to smear Syria's protesters by calling for both sides "to exercise restraint" -- as if the demonstrators had tanks -- and Mr Medvedev, the Russian President, has talked grimly of Bashar's "fate". Even Turkey, according to the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has "run out of patience". A Turkish "safe haven" in the north of Syria, anyone?

The trouble is that everyone has been running out of patience with Syria since the spring, and no one has done more than turn up the rhetoric as the statistics of innocent dead ticked up from 500 to 1,000, to more than 2,000.

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