The response to years of atrocities enacted by the Syrian leader and his allies has been shameful. We should reconsider the use of force on them
It has been a quieter than average week in Syria. More than 400 people were killed in the unimaginably awful siege of eastern Ghouta, most of them civilians. But in the seven years since the regime of Bashar al-Assad set in motion the Syrian civil war, almost 500,000 people have died – well over 1,000 a week.
The truth is that brutality is winning in Syria because the democratic powers are afraid to confront it. As for Assad’s allies, Iran and Russia, the latest deaths will certainly not make them reconsider their support for him. Russia has again blocked a UN security council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Syria. Since the war began in 2011, Russia has vetoed 11 draft resolutions. Last week, it did not even need to veto, only to make clear that it would if the sponsors pushed their draft to a vote.
Those most responsible should spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders