The world has to do more – Syria’s war is getting worse!

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Stuart Ramsay says the hundreds of thousands dead as a result of Syria’s civil war are testament to international indecision.——By Stuart Ramsay, Chief Correspondent

As Donald Trump correctly praised the work of his military in the campaign to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, he probably didn’t realise that he was highlighting the glaring fact that the fighting of the past few years has absolutely nothing to do with the airstrikes carried out by Britain, France and the US overnight.

The retaliatory action of the three western powers after the chemical attack in Douma a week ago is in fact rooted in violence against the Syrian people by the regime of Bashar al Assad, which started in 2011.

This is a seven-year war that has been briefly and tragically overshadowed by the rise of IS and its declaration of a Caliphate.

Getting rid of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has of course been a priority for all the western powers invested in the region. But it has been a tragic smokescreen for the actions of Assad with the support of Russia.

Here, the attacks on three installations in Syria are of little importance as long as the US and French special forces and the coalition aeroplanes continue to protect their front lines from the oncoming force of militia backed by Turkey, a NATO ally.

This is yet another phase of the war in Syria. But again, it is not what the airstrikes in Damascus and Homs are all about.

Since I first slid beneath a barbed-wire fence and sprinted across a highway under the noses of Syrian military and made my way into Homs in 2011, the year of the Arab Spring, Assad’s regime has systematically abused, maimed, imprisoned, driven out and killed millions of people.

The Syrian government said then the uprising was a jihad – western commentators said so too. But unlike any of these two groups, I was actually there. Actually on the streets with doctors and accountants and students. They were not jihadists.

Beneath a walnut tree in a remote mountain in the west of Syria, I sat with a Syrian army colonel who had defected to the rebels, the Free Syrian Army, early in 2012. It was midsummer, peaceful and calm, hidden as we were beneath the branches from the Syrian military who still controlled most of the country.

He predicted in detail a timeline of events he believed would happen if the West did not intervene.

“Without any help from the outside we will struggle to fight the regime,” he said.

A girl stands amidst the rubble of damaged buildings in the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, Syria, February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

“The regime will claim that the uprising is led by Islamist fundamentalists. The Jihadists will start to arrive. They will take over the uprising. They will make it into a jihad, then Russia will intervene. It will be a disaster for my country. Thousands and thousands will die and more will leave,” he said.

–A wounded Syrian girl looks on at a make shift hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, following shelling and air raids by Syrian government forces on August 22, 2015. At least 20 civilians and wounded or trapped 200 in Douma, a monitoring group said, just six days after regime air strikes killed more than 100 people and sparked international condemnation of one of the bloodiest government attacks in Syria’s war. AFP PHOTO / ABD DOUMANY / AFP / ABD DOUMANY (Photo credit should read ABD DOUMANY/AFP/Getty Images)

“Without any help from the outside we will struggle to fight the regime,” he said.

“The regime will claim that the uprising is led by Islamist fundamentalists. The Jihadists will start to arrive. They will take over the uprising. They will make it into a jihad, then Russia will intervene. It will be a disaster for my country. Thousands and thousands will die and more will leave,” he said.

 

I’ve never forgotten it. And it makes me sick now, realising how right he was, and perhaps guilty too that I didn’t do more.

–A man reacts amid debris after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Hosam Katan (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) – RTR3MTUG

The brilliant journalist Marie Colvin died trying to do what me and others failed to do – get someone to listen and someone to care and most of all, to do something.

In the intervening years the brutal attacks with “Barrel Bombs”, rockets, artillery and bullets on a civilian population has been unremitting.

The hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced are testament to international indecision and the intervention of states like Russia and Iran to prop up Bashar al Assad, who should and would have fallen years ago without their support.

I see little distinction between the mass slaughter of civilians with bombs and mass slaughter with chemical weapons, although civilised society does. Hence last night’s attacks.

Truth, Peace, Justice and the War on Syria, Lies, Fake Humanitarians, Fake Covers for War Crimes. We has to do more! PLEASE STOP WAR IN SYRIA!!!!!!!

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