Day 1,126: A portrait of Syrian exhaustion




Today is Day 1,126 of the conflict in Syria. Above is a photo of Syrian civil defense workers helping a man out of the remains of a building, after yet another barrel bomb was allegedly dropped on the Sakhour neighborhood in Aleppo. New photos like this one show up on the wire services every day. 

As previously mentioned, there's been some discussion this week about why both politicians' and the media's attention has been so monopolized by Gaza, rather than Syria, where the death counts are rising so quickly and verification is so difficult that most organizations have abandoned their tallies. Today there's a new contribution to this debate, from The Guardian's Middle East editor Ian Black. Have a look.

The conflict continues.

Update, 5:16 p.m.: Another worthwhile read, this one from Catherine Herridge, Fox's intelligence correspondent: Herridge reports that Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Friday at the Aspen Security Forum that the number of foreign fighters in Syria is now estimated at 12,000, up 5,000 from the January estimate. As The Washington Post's Beirut bureau chief Liz Sly points out, averaging that out per month doesn't make the numbers any less astonishing:

Finally, while it's behind a paywall, Adam Entous and Dion Nissenbaum's piece over at The Wall Street Journal on Assad's "industrial-scale" killing of political opponents is worth both your time and your money. The piece zooms in on elements of the so-called Caesar Report on torture, reviewed by the UN (the report was named for the source, "Caesar," who passed on photographs of the corpses), and adds fresh context and detail.

The WSJ piece reports the Syrian government's use of number assignments, reminiscent of procedures in Nazi concentration camps: 

"Forget your name. You're now this number," one former prisoner now living in Europe recalled being told by a guard. ... By 2013, Caesar's team was photographing between 50 and 60 bodies a day at 601, he told investigators. Caesar began to worry when his bosses at military-police headquarters told him they wanted him to start training another photographer to take over his slot, according to activists working with him. Caesar started to suspect that the regime was on to him.

(ZEIN AL-RIFAI/AFP/Getty Images)