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For this posting, I want to address the members of the Syrian military and their role in this crisis. The role of any nation’s military is to defend the country and to protect the people, not to harm them. The United States believes the Syrian military should have an invaluable, integral role to play in the new democratic Syria, if it decides to fulfill its true purpose and stand with the Syrian people now.
Unfortunately, most of the Syrian military is acting as a leading destabilizing force. The pictures we see of buildings destroyed by heavy artillery in Homs are just one example. Now similar artillery is being used against residential districts in places like Douma outside Damascus. In addition, certain key members of the Syrian military have often played a leading role in President Assad’s campaign of torture and terror, including the attacks against Homs, Hama, Latakia, Aleppo, Deir Al-Zour, and many other areas throughout Syria. They have supported the Shabiha’s massacres in the cities of Al-Haffa and Haoula, by providing these armed thugs with instructions and artillery and mortar cover. Their role in these attacks and massacres is abhorrent, runs counter to international law and to the ethics of military professionalism, and enables the Assad regime to try to destroy any region of Syria that rejects Assad’s dictatorial rule.
military and civilian – from foot soldiers to municipal employees to military officers at all levels to heads of state for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity against non-combatants and combatants. The charges against them ranged from directly targeting civilians, mistreating individuals (detained combatants and civilians) in custody, terrorizing the civilian population, using disproportionate force against military objectives, and forcing the deportation or displacement of the civilian population.