Amnesty International warns of worsening situation in Syria
The violence in Syria has destroyed thousands of lives since it began more than a year ago. As the international community struggles to find a solution for the ongoing conflict, the situation on the ground deteriorates.
A new report by Amnesty International found that after a year of deadly violence in Syria, the situation there is only getting worse.
Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera wrote the 79-page report, "Deadly Reprisals." In it, Rovera describes Syria’s worsening condition.
"I spoke to a family where seven members — four brothers and their three cousins — were shot dead in their home when the army swept through the village," Rovera said. "Then their bodies were set on fire."
Having entered Syria without governmental permission, Rovera interviewed the beleaguered inhabitants of 23 of the country's small towns and villages.
What she found were security forces and government-armed criminals-turned-militiamen — known as the shabiha — terrorizing the Syrian countryside and engaging in reckless destruction of lives and property.
Rovera said Syrians are disillusioned with recent attempts by the United Nations to mitigate the violence across the country.
"People were very, very scared, but they also wanted the world to know what was happening to them," she said. "They were asking why the international community has virtually deserted them, and that is what people just don't understand."
Rovera fears the state's brutal response to the uprising will set the stage for "revenge politics." The monopoly of violence is no longer solely in the hands of pro-government forces — captured Syrian soldiers have been tortured and killed by opposition rebels.
Farid Ghadry, a U.S.-based Syrian activist, said the heightened violence coupled with the international community’s inaction could be a disastrous combination for Syria’s future.
"Inaction has caused problems and will continue if we stay on the sideline," said Ghadry, co-founder and president of the Reform Party of Syria.
Ghadry has urged Syrians to refrain from acts of vengeance against the state. But he worries the tragedies wrought by the security forces and militias have been so devastating his advice often falls on deaf ears.
"It's very hard to tell someone whose family has been (killed) to hold off of revenge and to be more civil," Ghadry said.
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