Ever wonder what the ruthless dictator Assad does for his people during the holidays? Let me tell you. First up would be "barrel bombs" which his helicopters dropped on the city of Aleppo, killing more than 80 civilians, dozens of them children. Next would be his "surrender or starve" policy regarding more than 250,000 civilians under siege by his forces throughout the country. And to top it all off, the murder of a British citizen, Dr. Abbas Khan who happened to be a surgeon who was held in detention for a year by Assad, and was promised to be released today as a "gesture of goodwill" for Christmas to the UK. His crime, trying to help the wounded of Aleppo.
Then there is the "gift" of the more than 6.5 million refugees, internal and external, who are suffering from varying degrees of misery, such as the lack of clean drinking water, warm clothing, food and medicine. The refugees which the UN has just made an appeal that it will need more than 6 billion dollars for to alleviate their suffering the best they can. Refugees who fall prey to smugglers who "promise a better life and relief"only to find themselves in hostile countries far from home such as Bulgaria. Not only have they lost their homes and all of their belongings, have been separated from their families and their roots, now they are robbed by smugglers of their last few dollars, and dignity This is all the gifts of Assad.
How can I put this? If your neighborhood was surrounded by military troops, your basic services such as water, phone, sanitation, and electricity was cutoff for months. The only "market" available had only radishes to offer as food. Oh, and these same troops shelled you relentlessly, day and night until your block was reduced to rubble. What would you do? Groups of unarmed civilians try to march to the edge of their neighborhood chanting "feed us" and "food" only to be met with heavy machine gun fire. That is Assad's gift of "surrender or starve." Wouldn't you become what the Syrian regime refers to as a "terrorist?"
Dr Khan. His official cause of death as determined by the Syrian authorities was "suicide." If there is one thing thing the Assad regime is good at, it is lying. Tell it long enough and that must make it the truth, or at least that is what a lot of the world believes. Here is the truth, Dr. Khan probably weighed less that 80 pounds at the time of his death. He had been beaten and was forced to beat others by his captors for over a year by one of the many branches of Syrian mukhabarat. The world wouldn't have know this story if his mother hadn't tracked her son down. Dr Khan was supposed to go home with her, back to his two children. Instead the family must now plead with the regime to have his remains released to them for burial. He was officially charged with "treating the wounded civilians of Aleppo."
What do I want for Christmas? Guess
* Sources for this article include PBS NewsHour , the Huffington Post, BBC America and the Mail Online.