Do Reports of Horrific Violations in Syria “Stoke War”?

Listen to story:
Play

FEATURING STEPHEN ZUNES – Despite his country being in the throes of one of the worst wars of our time, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad unveiled a statue of his late father, Hafez Assad, in Hama, one of the birthplaces of the rebellion against his rule. There is currently a tenuous ceasefire in place between Assad and the rebel groups he is fighting. According to Al Jazeera Assad has made an offer to swap prisoners with the rebels as a gesture of goodwill.

Groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented war crimes by Assad. Amnesty UK’s report detailing the horrors of mass hangings at Saydnaya prison is based on testimony from survivors. While Human Rights Watch’s new report released on Monday shows the use of chlorine gas bombs dropped by the regime on civilian and rebel areas. The New York Times said, “The assertions in the study, if confirmed, would represent one of the most egregious uses of such outlawed weaponry in the war.”

But such reports are dismissed by many in the US left as sensationalist or even false, asserting that they are “stoking Syrian war.”

Follow Stephen Zunes’ work at www.stephenzunes.org.

Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. He also serves as a senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. He is also an associate editor of Peace Review.