“Archipelago of Torture Centers” Scattered Across Syria
Human Rights Watch released a new 81-page report today documenting Syria’s “state policy of torture.” After conducting more than 200 interviews, the international human rights watchdog was able to identify the locations of 27 torture centers run by Syrian intelligence agencies. Although many of the victims mentioned in the report were males between the age of 18 and 35, security forces have also tortured women, children, and the elderly. Hossam, a 14-year-old boy, described being blindfolded, electrocuted, and having his toe nail ripped off with pliers.
Meanwhile, following the defection of 85 Syrian troops, President Bashar al-Assad expressed regret for the shooting down of a Turkish plane. Speaking in an interview with a Turkish newspaper, al-Assad said, “I say 100 percent, I wish we did not shoot it down.” Additionally, the Syrian political opposition gathered for a two day conference in Cairo in the wake of world powers’ acceptance of a U.N. peace plan in Geneva last Saturday. The conference brought together the Syrian National Council and the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria to try to to work out a unified transition plan for ending the conflict. Opposition members will also meet with Russian officials later this month.
Brock Dahl argues in the Christian Science Monitor that “direct intervention is quickly appearing to be the only feasible means for halting gross human rights violations, stabilizing the conflict, and ensuring a sustainable transition.” But Sami Ramadani disagrees, saying “military intervention in Syria would be disastrous for its people.”