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Syrian loyalist gangs have committed cold-blooded massacres of entire families, including women and babies, in their effort to spread fear among the protesters and push them out of the city — a development that could usher in a larger-scale drive for ethnic cleansing in Homs City and a number of coastal communities, where sectarian tensions continue to rise.
More than 10 years later, I can still recall my brother Sean's face. It was bright red. Furious. Not one given to fits of temper, Sean was in an uproar. He was a father, and he had just heard that Iraqi soldiers had taken scores of babies out of incubators in Kuwait City and left them to die. The Iraqis had shipped the incubators back to Baghdad. A pacifist by nature, my brother was not in a peaceful mood that day. "We've got to go and get Saddam Hussein. Now," he said passionately.
I completely understood his feelings. Although I had no family of my own then, who could countenance such brutality? The news of the slaughter had come at a key moment in the deliberations about whether the US would invade Iraq. Those who watched the non-stop debates on TV saw that many of those who had previously wavered on the issue had been turned into warriors by this shocking incident.
Too bad it never happened. The babies in the incubator story is a classic example of how easy it is for the public and legislators to be mislead during moments of high tension. It's also a vivid example of how the media can be manipulated if we do not keep our guards up.
A disturbing story is circulating on social networks — especially in Arabic — and some news media that a number of premature babies died in their incubators when Syrian forces cut off electricity to hospitals during their assault on the city of Hama.
Evidence suggests it is a cruel hoax, and the pictures of the “dead babies” widely circulated online are false. To me the story was immediately suspicious.
First of all it sounded too much like the false reports of invading Iraqi troops throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwait in August 1990 — reports that were used to build public support and urgency for the 1991 Gulf War. These claims were part of an elaborate propaganda effort by the Washington PR consultancy Hill & Knowlton hired by the Kuwaiti government.
25. On being assigned to their zones and starting work, the observers witnessed acts of violence perpetrated by Government forces and an exchange of gunfire with armed elements in Homs and Hama. As a result of the Mission’s insistence on a complete end to violence and the withdrawal of Army vehicles and equipment, this problem has receded. The most recent reports of the Mission point to a considerable calming of the situation and restraint on the part of those forces.
26. In Homs and Dera‘a, the Mission observed armed groups committing acts of violence against Government forces, resulting in death and injury among their ranks. In certain situations, Government forces responded to attacks against their personnel with force. The observers noted that some of the armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles.
Dead babies!....Sounds like Gulf War 1 lies all over again. Where is the evidence for any of this propaganda. You discredit yourselves. No more regime change thank you. Most of us would prefer to avoid a World War, if that's alright with you. - Kevin Boyle, Croydon, 8/2/2012 8:08