Thursday 18 January 2018

Con Coughlin: How long more will this senseless brutality be tolerated by Assad's allies?

A gun battle on the streets of Homs
A gun battle on the streets of Homs

THERE comes a point in every conflict when the world suddenly wakes up to the full horror of what is taking place in some far-away war zone, and demands that effective and immediate action is taken to end the bloodshed. The West’s refusal to get involved in the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s became unsustainable following the Srebrenica massacre. And in Libya last year, Colonel Gaddafi’s threat to slaughter the citizens of Benghazi led to military intervention, and the eventual overthrow of his brutal dictatorship.

Without in any way detracting from the sacrifices made by the thousands of Syrian civilians who have been killed, tortured and maimed at the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, I believe that this week’s cold-blooded murder of my colleague and friend Marie Colvin could have a similar effect on the ultimate outcome of the Syrian conflict.

The anti-government protests have now been taking place for the best part of a year, and the UN estimates that more than 5,000 people have died since Assad launched his murderous repression. Hardly a day passes when we are not treated to yet another example of the brutality of the regime, whether it is boys being tortured to death for throwing stones at soldiers, or the massacre of innocent civilians.

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