News of Another Massacre
(Part of The Darkness Visible post)
As Aleppo's battle rages the government forces in Syria have taken to spreading out their forces across the country. It appears that Assad's regime is attempting to force the rebel forces to fight a war on multiple fronts. And in Syria, this war seems to be being fought on countless fronts. It's wildfires pop up in nearly every city, town, and village. Not a single person's house is safe as the two sides are forced into combat in people's backyards and living rooms. All the while Assad's forces commit massacre after massacre where ever they go.
In Harbnafsa, in Hama province, the forces loyal to Assad are reported to have laid siege to the town for five hours. Troops and shabiha surrounded the town while artillery and tanks were ordered to fire upon the neighborhoods. The 8,000 plus citizens of the town were trapped as shells and bombs fell on their homes, schools, and businesses. And when the bombs stopped, the shabiha came storming into town.
Local citizens who fled the town were the first to report that around 40 innocent citizens were killed and over 120 more had been wounded. Those who fled reported that shabiha had chased citizens out of town while firing upon them and running them down with knives. Troops loyal to Assad tried to turn fleeing citizens back into Harbnafsa where they would face certain death.
By luck, through hiding, and by the grace of G-d the number of dead seems to be hovering around 40 and 120 wounded. But the terror that was spread over Harbnafsa will not clear any time soon. It is not clear to those who survived whey the government attacked. And it remains to terrifying for many to return home.
For the Free Syrian Army it is a little more obvious just why Assad attacked Harbnafsa. The town is mainly Sunni and is thus assumed to be loyal to the rebels' cause. Yet no weapons were in the town and rebel fighters had not been near the town for some time. So for those working with the rebellion it is obvious that the Alawite militias wanted to drive out the Sunni population. After all, this is a civil war based on Assad's hatred for Sunni Muslims and his desire to keep the Alawite establishment in power.
In this campaign to spread the battle across the country Assad has claimed victory in Damascus even as rebel bombs continue to explode in Damascus. He has spread the war from Lake al-Assad in the East to the Mediterranean Coast in the West. Yet the rebel movement has shown this fight can't be drawn into battles on Assad's terms. This fight will continue to be played out on the terms drawn up by the Free Syrian Army. This will continue to be a guerrilla campaign in which Assad's forces will be made to defend their strongholds.
In the meantime the massacres continue. Assad's militia thugs spread the fear and terror they claim their opponents stand for. The hatred for Assad only grows as the blood continues to flow. And in all this we still wait to see what will come of Aleppo. Will the main battle field of a city turn into a massacre of unprecedented proportions? Or will the Free Syrian Army be able to hold out against unbelievable odds?
Please continue to put pressure on your state representatives in Washington to get the United States government to act more directly in Syria. The people of Syria are fighting for their lives. And we need to act now to help save those still trapped under Assad's tyrannical rule.