We can’t sit back and allow more massacres: It’s time for military action in Syria

The Houla massacre of 32 children is so unimaginably evil it’s time for Western liberal military intervention in Syria to take out President Bashar al-Assad.

The horror of Houla: 32 children were massacred by Assad’s forces in central Syria

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A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes.

How many words, then, can describe the shocking, sickening images we’ve seen across our weekend papers and TV screens of the corpses of children and adults, lined up one by one in the Syrian town of Houla, and of families screaming in agony.

I was left feeling particularly sick to my stomach after seeing an extremely graphic video of some of the 32 children massacred – be warned, this footage is truly unimaginable:

In his description for the Independent on Sunday, Patrick Cockburn wrote:

Horrific pictures posted on YouTube appear to show that they were shot or knifed to death, some having their throats cut.

“The small bodies of the children were covered in sheets as they were taken by survivors screaming in grief and disbelief from the houses where they had been murdered.”

It is well over a year now since we began to see the uprising in Syria, responded to with brute force by the government of President Assad.

It is clear the peace plan agreed by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, is now in tatters. Peace was given a chance and so it is now time the international community realised its responsibility and took the military action that is so badly needed to bring Assad and his murderous regime to an end.

This does not come naturally to me. I was sceptical to say the least about the Iraq War and I have no doubt many eminently more qualified people will argue action of this nature would serve to enrage the likes of Iran but I pose this simple case – how many more of these massacres can we bear to watch before we take action?

Had we taken action before this weekend, how many of those 32 children would be alive rather than buried deep underground?


See also:

Syria: Massacre of the innocents 27 May 2012

Amidst the burning flesh of Homs, Syrians plead: “We are getting slaughtered, save us” 7 Feb 2012

Anti-Assad activist: “We need help… We need a no-fly zone… ASAP” 1 Feb 2012

Syria: When will the West act? 2 Jan 2012

Syrian government uses hospitals against protesters 25 Oct 2011

Exposed: The pro-Assad useful idiots in our midst 22 Oct 2011

Syria, where innocence is no defence 1 Jun 2011


The UN has itself stated it has a “responsibility to protect”. Now is the time to stop the talking and take tangible action to rid Syria of a regime perpetrating sickening acts of barbarity; the international community must uphold the basic universal right to life.

Thirty two children lost their lives over the weekend: how many more must die before we act?


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  • Gerard

    I supported the war in Iraq. I wasn’t concerned by WMDs with the capability of attacking us in 45mins, I was concerned about the people of Iraq. The people who had been attacked by WMDs in the past, were tortured, oppressed and worse by Saddam’s regime.

    I supported the war in Iraq because we had seen too many of the images you post above. Like it or not, we are a country with great power and influence; we have a responsibility to use that power to help those who are unable to help themselves.

    In Libya, there was a clear ability within the rebel group to organise themselves, acquire weapons and launch a ground attack – what they couldn’t do was fight in the air and that is why all we needed to do was provide air support. It is clear the rebels in Syria are disjointed and need help to push back against the attacks they suffer from their government. We should and we must help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dbwhittaker Whittaker David

    Having read the above piece by Ed Jacobs I’m filled with a sense of dread, not because of the babies and children who died even though that is shocking and very upsetting but because the rhetoric thats being used is so reminiscent of the build up before the second Iraq war. There are other options open, the EU and US could call for a complete trade ban on any country that trades with Syria ie Russia and China (but of course that would upset the banks) and before anybody uses Libya as an example of success please speak to anyone who has just returned. Hundreds are dying there and the country is breaking apart but the mainstream press are strangely silent. Mr Jacobs with journalism like this you should consider a career with The Mail/Express.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Wigmore/61311392 Stephen Wigmore

    So how many children do you think Saddam massacred? Fewer than 32? Hardly. Why did you oppose the Iraq war then?

  • Dafydd Young

    “Had we taken action before this weekend, how many of those 32 children would be alive rather than buried deep underground?”

    They’d have died in Nato airstrikes if we had have intervened.

  • Gerard

    Remind me – how effective were the sanctions used in the case of Iraq? I wonder what it would be like to live with your thoughts for a day when rhetoric fills you with more dread than the sight of children being massacred. “Oh no! People are talking about war!!…What’s that? Children being killed by their own government? Change the channel love.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/dbwhittaker Whittaker David

    OK Gerard how many people do you think will die if some kind of military action is used, give us a ball park figure? I love all these people who think going to war is the answer, don’t they learn anything from history. I served in the British Army and have seen the consequences of are actions, all other means should be exhausted before the route you support. A complete ban on all trade with any country that deals with Syria is the key. Might throw the world into a deeper recession but better than a million dead.

  • SimonB

    These attacks were carried out by soldiers acting under orders. It’s been established for decades under international law that there can be no defence in law for carrying out such atrocities. Perhaps it would be a start to remind the Syrian army that there will be an inevitable legal reckoning for those who ordered and carried out these acts?

    It’s a sad state of affairs that the law is not applied often enough, but we need to start somewhere.

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  • Edwards_labour

    As I note in the piece I did not support the Iraq War. What else, other than military intervention can the world do to bring the brutal killings to an end. It’s not about Weapons of Mass destruction or oil. It’s about preventing a Government from slaughtering it’s people.

  • Gerard

    Banning trade wouldn’t stop the killing. The people of Syria who are trying to rise up against their rulers will not sit back and accept the end of the slaughter with a simple ‘thanks for that’. No, the Syrian government have committed crimes that the people of that country won’t easily forget. So even if the attacks stopped on the part of the government, the people who protest will still be determined to overthrow their government and so the government will fight back. Yes ceasing trade would weaken the economy of the country but the people are not fighting over money but over democracy (or the lack of).

    I’m no military expert and so I would not be so foolish to give ‘ball park figures’ on deaths. I suspect even military experts wouldn’t do so either.

    What I have learned from history is that waiting can be just as unforgivable as rushing in. It’s not an easy decision for anyone to make, to send our troops off to protect people they’ve never met, but it also can’t be easy to sit back and watch a slaughter and do nothing when we have the power to do something.

    If you’re 10 and see a 7 yr old hitting a 5 yr old – do you step in to stop the bully or just continue to play?

  • Anonymous

    “Upset the banks”?

    Is that what you call collapsing the economy onto the poor? It can’t and won’t happen. Meanwhile, Syria operates on the Hama Rules and you campaign against using substantive action against them.

  • Anonymous

    …Recessions kill people.

  • Anonymous


    Yes, we need to be better at building peaces. But that doesn’t excuse not taking action against the very dictators the West were responsible over the last century for setting up in power in the first place.

  • Samppalainen

    “A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes.
    How many words, then, can describe the shocking, sickening images we’ve seen across our weekend papers and TV screens of the corpses of children and adults, lined up one by one in the Syrian town of Houla, and of families screaming in agony.”

    This is example how even BBC is using pictures to proof what ever they want to proof:

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  • Pad1

    Do you sheep even know if it was syrian troops that carried out this masacre or do you just spout government propaganda at every oportunity.

    Wake up and see whats realy going on and you will find out there is more to this story than fuckwits like hague are telling us.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/dbwhittaker Whittaker David

    Gerard how can you mount an argument as to supporting military action in Syria if you can’t even hazard a guess at the casualties that could be involved. In other words your prepared to send in troops be them NATO or the Libyan mercenaries that are being trained up by the US in Turkey (paid for by the Saudis) to protect innocent civilians not knowing if those actions could cause more civilian deaths?
    Yes we do have the power to do something and that’s using non violent methods, it might not be as instant which obviously won’t appeal to the Sky News viewing crowd but in the long term could save far more lives.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dbwhittaker Whittaker David

    Can’t argue with that statement.

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  • tacio

    strange think do a military action to stop a military action … peace is out of here :(

  • dg

    and what do you suggest is happening?

  • dg

    and what do you suggest is happening?

  • dg

    and what do you suggest is happening?

  • dg

    and what do you suggest is happening?

  • dg

    and what do you suggest is happening?

  • dg

    and what do you suggest is happening?

  • dg

    and what do you suggest is happening?