The Red Cross has reached the city of Homs. Juan Cole retweeted the link for the video above, as “Friends of Syria” try to maneuver a way through this cricis, which will not be easy.
A CBS News report on what’s happening in Syria is even worse, including a map of documented torture.
Homs — which is mostly Sunni — was an early flashpoint of dissent against Assad’s regime, which is led by the minority Alawite community, which has Shiite power Iran as its main patron.
In April, protesters gathered at the central Clock Square in Homs, bringing mattresses, food and water in hopes of emulating Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the Egyptian revolution. Homs had a reputation for tolerance between Syria’s religions and Muslim sects, said Mohammad Saleh, an opposition figure who fled the city, but Sunnis have increasingly felt pushed into an underclass status by Assad.
A Western intelligence official said the Syrian military has the ability to “level Homs if it wanted to.” But the risks of backlash from Syria’s majority Sunnis — including many military officers — is far too great, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under briefing rules.
[...] White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration still opposes military intervention but “obviously we’ll have to evaluate this as time goes on.”
In Geneva, a panel of U.N. human rights experts said the United Nations has a secret list of top Syrian officials who could face investigation for crimes against humanity. The U.N. experts indicated that the list goes as high as Assad.
Experts said the list appears mostly part of international pressures on Syria rather than a direct threat. Syria isn’t a member of the International Criminal Court so is outside its jurisdiction. Russia also would likely block any moves in the U.N. Security Council to refer the country to the Hague-based tribunal.
What we are reading about and seeing through the little news getting out of Syria is genocide. It is also far worse than what happened in Libya.
Speaking with Andrea Mitchell today, former SecDef William Cohen speculated about a “coalition of the willing” mounting a force against Assad, but was correct to emphasize the Arab nations must take the lead. With United Nations Security Council paralyzed, in order to save the Syrian people, the Arab League must step up, but let’s not kid ourselves that the U.S. won’t have an important role.