Tuesday, December 25, 2012

25-Dec-12: Know your barbarians

Frequent sight: Syrians line up to buy bread at an Aleppo bakery in August 2012 (Image Source: Youssef Boudlal/Reuters)

We posted yesterday about an attack on a Syrian bakery ["24-Dec-12: Peace on earth, chemical weapons and red lines"] by forces of the Syrian government. We'll add that bread is a staple of the Syrian diet. 
"Every Syrian consumes on average half a kilo (a pound) of wheat a day" ["Syria grain trade, bread shortage risk signals alarm for Assad", Alarabiya.com, May 27, 2012]
New York Times report from yesterday says the al-Abbas regime has carried out 
indiscriminate attacks on or near bakeries in the past, especially in the northern city of Aleppo. In a three-week period in the summer, Human Rights Watch documented 10 separate bombings on bakeries in the city... [more]
The massacre this past Sunday took place in Halfaya where 
residents had lined up for bread after the town received its first flour delivery in days [NYT]
In August 2012, according to an HRW report, the al-Assad regime forces
dropped bombs and fired artillery at or near at least 10 bakeries in Aleppo province over the past three weeks, killing and maiming scores of civilians who were waiting for bread... One attack in the city of Aleppo on August 16, 2012, killed up to 60 people and wounded more than 70. Another attack in the city on August 21 killed at least 23 people and wounded 30.
It goes on to list the dates and places of the ten other bakeries. The statistics are mind-numbing. Could it be that killing their own civilians in breadlines is a matter of Syrian military/survival strategy? Consider the HRW evidence that 
government forces attacked the bakery when local residents were waiting in line. The ordnance, which included artillery shells, rockets, and bombs, hit very close to the lines, and pieces of shrapnel sprayed the people gathered, killing and seriously wounding scores of them... Witnesses to all of the bakery attacks told Human Rights Watch that the government gave no warnings. The 10 bakeries were in neighborhoods or towns where no fighting was taking place before or during the attack. In most cases, a few FSA fighters [the government's opponents] were at the bakeries to maintain order and assist with bread distribution, witnesses said, but they were usually not injured. [more]
Bombing your own hungry citizens while they stand in a breadline...  

If this were not about a savage father/son regime that has a track record of massacring its own citizens [here, here, herehere] we would have asked: How much lower can this go

But there's no point in asking.

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