First Hand Account
(Part of The Darkness Visible post)
Bound with zip-ties like so many others who came before him, Mahmoud was taken from his cell with ten other men. None could be directly linked to the rebel movement. None had any crimes for which a death sentence was usually applied... that is until now.
Assad's feared shabiha have been using the technique Mahmoud suffered. Blindfolded, Mahmoud was taken with his comrades in a truck to a contested neighborhood of Aleppo. It was there that the shabiha unloaded the men and lined their prisoners up against a wall. Put on his knees Mahmoud could hear his captors cock their weapons. And for a moment the shabiha's victims there is silence.
Then all hell erupts.
Mahmoud felt the shabihas' bullets rip into his feet and legs as the bullets climbed up his body. When Mahmoud felt a bullet hit his head he told the AP that he thought right there that he was dead. But by a miracle the bullet did not kill him.
When the shabiha left they thought they had sent a message to the rebels. It had been their goal to use this tactic to demoralize the rebel forces ahead of the planned "massive assault" on Aleppo. Mahmoud's would be killers didn't realize that they had left a witness.
Now the world knows that Assad's forces are using war crimes to try and break the rebels' fighting spirit. Now we know that Assad's forces are killing prisoners of war. Yet it seems only the rebels are learning from this new revelation.
Western media seems reluctant to post stories like this one. Some post it with the safety words like "not independently verified" to cover their butts. Others try to speculate while the facts lay right out there in the open. But most just simply hide the stories from Syria behind everything else from the Olympics to Obama.
For Mahmoud the story of Syria's conflict are far to real. The tales of war crimes are now permanently engraved in his flesh. The abuses of Assad will forever be with him whenever he looks in a mirror. And for his family... the horror of Assad's wrath is still a reality as the shabiha continue to threaten their lives.
It is time for us here on the opposite side of the world to act. We need to speak up and tell our representatives in Washington that we don't want people like Mahmoud to die at the hands of Assad's thugs. We need to put pressure on Obama's White House to do more than just use tough talk when dealing with Assad, Russia, China, and Iran. We don't need a boot licking president bowing down to Putin and Assad. We need a president that speaks softly but carries a big stick. We want action when it comes to Syria... the Syrians need action from the West right now.