Where is Assad’s indictment?
The embattled citizens of Aleppo have now endured over two grueling weeks of shelling from Syrian government forces. Indeed, army defections are piling up at an accelerating pace, but this asset for the rebel fighters is countered by the sheer fact they are outmanned and outgunned. What happens in the “sleeping giant” that is Aleppo will almost certainly dictate the outcome of their struggle for a democratic Syria. President al-Assad knows it, and has pulled out all the stops in order to safeguard the government’s claim over this pivotal city.
If the severity the of regime’s transgressions against its own people were not already clear, the bombardment of Aleppo should dispel any doubt surrounding Assad’s criminality. Preoccupied with Damascus, the national army had eased its stranglehold on the country’s northern provinces, allowing for a rebel surge throughout the region as July came to a close. But the government response has been swift and merciless, flattening over 40 buildings in an indiscriminate frenzy of killing.
The failure of the Annan peace plan and the UN’s withdrawal have all but given Assad the green light to wage this unjust war however he sees fit. With Iranian assistance imminent, a resurgence of involvement from international community is overdue. There is no question that the latest atrocities committed against Syria’s most populous metropolis mark the culmination of a year’s worth of unequivocal war crimes. The ICC must add Syria to its existing list of seven situations under investigation with Bashar al-Assad and his defense ministers the first to be indicted.