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article imageOp-Ed: Atrocities continue to plague both Iraq and Syria

By Paul Iddon     Oct 30, 2014 in Politics
Iraq, having faced sectarian strife and war for years now, and its neighbour Syria, facing as it is yet more bloodletting, both have seen very heinous atrocities visited upon their respective citizenry.
We'll start with Iraq first and what was disclosed in a dire report Human Rights Watch (HRW) released today. The report, entitled 'Iraq: ISIS Executed Hundreds of Prison Inmates', details a massacre which transpired in the desert in June of this year which saw the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group systematically machine gun to death 600 Iraqi males who had been inmates in the Badoush Prison outside of Iraq's second city Mosul, which IS succeeded in overrunning earlier that month.
As the HRW report points out most of the inmates IS executed were Shia. Adherents to the minority sect of Islam, a sect which IS regards as both abhorrent and unforgivably blasphemous. HRW reports that the IS gunmen who executed them had made sure they had separated the Shia prisoners from the Sunnis. Those Shia were forced to lean by a ravine – in a manner uncannily reminiscent of how the Nazi Einsatzgruppen forces used to round up and execute Soviet Jews during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II – before being gunned down. Amongst the Shia executed were a smaller number of Kurds and Yezidi's the IS forces also found in the prison.
HRW state that these actions clearly constitute war crimes, not to mention crimes against humanity. The report is well worth reading in its entirety (if you can stomach it) and can be accessed here.
Another atrocity which transpired more recently took place next door in Syria. While IS have been responsible for numerous atrocities and murders in that country this recent atrocity was carried out by government forces under the orders of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad – who has substantially intensified his campaigns against the many opponents to his rule in the wake of the U.S. military campaign against IS in Syria's northeast.
This latest atrocity was reported to have transpired at a camp in Syria's northern province of Idlib. It left at least a few dozen people killed. Not a huge number in the broader scheme of things in that horrible conflict – after all roughly 250,000 have lost their lives in the violent and destructive clashes between the regime and ragtag rebel groups over the past few years. What makes this latest incident in question note-worthily atrocious however was the fact that it appears barrel bombs were dropped from the air on a camp housing homeless displaced Syrians (of which, we shouldn't forget, there are some nine million throughout the country, almost half the population!).
Think about that for just a second, bombs intended to spew shrapnel indiscriminately, maim and dismember as many people around the target site as possible. A truly gut-wrenching scenario to contemplate. Especially when one considers there would really be nowhere to run for cover in such a camp consisting mostly of tents which wouldn't provide any protection or shielding from sharp pieces of flying shrapnel, not to mention the spewing of the fuel those bombs often have packed into them, for good measure. Video purporting to show the aftermath of that attack show its victims were both charred and dismembered.
Again highly sickening scenarios to contemplate, worsened only by the repugnant reality that there is no end in sight of such cruelty and madness in neither country.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Iraq, Syria, Isis, Human rights watch, Human Rights
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