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The Blood Is On Putin’s Hands

Al-Arab, London, August 16

Russian President Vladimir Putin will go down in history as one of the most reprehensible murderers our world has ever known, joining a list of disgraceful figures such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. While Assad has been killing his own people, it is Putin who has been giving the orders and orchestrating the brutal Syrian genocide. Putin’s doctrine has trickled deep down into the ranks of the Syrian government and military. Take for example Jamil al-Hassan, the Syrian head of Air Force Intelligence, who just last week claimed that it would be better to have a Syria with 10 million loyal citizens than a Syria with 30 million dissidents. Without thinking twice, he suggested that Syria would be better off killing 20 million of its citizens. He also warned that any Opposition forces returning to Syria would be immediately incarcerated. The Syrian general surely knows what he is talking about. In the past year, close to 10,000 Syrians have been slaughtered in Assad’s jails, while thousands of others have been tortured. A handful of survivors who managed to escape these prisons recently revealed horrifying details about the way in which Syrian dissidents have been treated by Assad’s forces, sharing grueling stories about prisoners who had their limbs, ears, and eyes harvested. All of these practices have been taken directly from the Russian playbook. Therefore, any attempt to normalize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime would be a betrayal of the Syrian people. Any inclination to forgive Assad for his ruthless crimes would dishonor the millions of innocent Syrians who have been killed at the hands of his appalling regime. Most importantly, anyone looking to Putin and Russia to solve the Syrian crisis—providing them with international legitimacy—dishonors the people of Syria. These unspeakable abuses of human rights have been committed not merely by Assad, but also by those who were supportive of his regime. Assad had no better friend than Putin. –Jibril Awda