Syrian President Bashar Assad’s deployment of barrel bombs targeting civilians is the principal reason that has caused the ongoing migrant crisis, according to speakers at a panel held at United Nations.
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, calls for an end of the use of barrel bombs. He also said that this strategy undermines the war against the Islamic Group. “It is a recruitment bonanza for ISIS because the group can claim to be standing up to these atrocities,” he said. He further emphasized that the deployment of bombs are causing terror amid the population of civilians, and have been the main cause for one of the largest migration crisis since World War II. According to WBRZ, Raed Saleh, head of the Syrian Civil Defense, said, “We are tired of collecting limbs.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama accused Assad for killing children and instigating a reign of terror that has spawned the ongoing conflict. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, he condemned the killing of children and rebuked everyone supporting leaders like Assad.
“We’re told that such retrenchment is required to beat back disorder, that it’s the only way to stamp out terrorism or prevent foreign meddling,” Obama said. “In accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children, because the alternative is surely worse.”
While Russia and Iran have argued that world powers should back Assad’s forces until they are able to eliminate the Islamic State militant group, he said that he was “prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” as reported by Al-Arabiya. Obama added, “But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo. . . . And so Assad and his allies cannot simply pacify the broad majority of a population who have been brutalized by chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombing.”
A White House official said that a disagreement exists between the United States and Russia regarding Assad’s use of bombs on civilians, as reported by the Washington Post. The official said that Russia’s “objectives are to go after [the Islamic State] and to support the government.”
Khaled Khoja, leader of the opposition group Syrian National Coalition, said that implementing a no-fly zone could lead to almost 200 lives being saved per week. Khoja is currently in New York calling for enforcing a no-fly zone, which until now has been resisted by the United States. According to US News and World Report, he said, “The principal driver of the two biggest challenges that the international community faces — the refugee crisis and the threat of extremism — is the indiscriminate killing of civilians, mainly through air attack. It does not need to be this way. There is still time to avoid another Rwanda.”
Speaking of Assad, Obama said, “When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of its people, it is not one nations’ affair, but it brings magnitude of suffering of all, likewise when a terrorist group beheads captives, it is not one single nations problem but it is an assault on all humanity,” further adding, “I said before and I will repeat there is no room to an apocalyptic cult like ISIS.”
Obama also said that he leads the world’s strongest military, and that he could act unilaterally, by force should it be necessary, and that “I stand before you… I believe we the nations of the world cannot turn to the old ways of coercion.”
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