Syria will poison the region for years to come if Assad survives in power, the Economist said in an editorial published on Thursday under the title ‘Assad’s hollow victory.’
The article highlighted the “legacy of Assad’s ruthlessness,” citing his release of hundreds of jihadists from prison in 2011 with the hope they would taint the once-peaceful uprising which involved the various segments of the Syrian society.
“Now the regime is bombing them, along with civilians and hospitals. The [Idlib] offensive will take time — and it will be bloody,” the article warned.
The article went on to say that “Assad has displaced half the population. Eight years of civil war have destroyed the economy and cost 500,000 lives. Assad has nothing good to offer his people. His country will be wretched and divided. The consequences will be felt far beyond its borders.”
“Then there is Assad’s cruelty. Hafez kept Syria in check with a brutal secret police and occasional campaigns of murderous violence. His son, in danger of losing power, has tortured and killed at least 14,000 people in the regime’s sprawling network of clandestine prisons.”
The article continued: “Assad’s ruthless tactics have left large parts of his population bitter and alienated. What better breeding ground for al-Qa’ida and Islamic State, which the US says is already “resurging in Syria?”
The Economist cited figures compiled by Human Rights Watch and other NGOs which said that the Assad regime still detains more than 128,000 people, with the majority of them feared dead.
“Even as the war nears its end, the pace of executions is increasing. Almost every Syrian has lost someone close to them in the war. Psychologists speak ominously of a breakdown in society.”
“Having failed to act in the war’s early days, when they might have pushed the dictator out, Western countries can do little now to change Syria’s course. Reconstruction will only benefit the regime and the warlords and foreigners who backed it. Better to let Russia and Iran pay.”
The Economist concluded: “The West should try to spare Syria’s suffering by offering strictly humanitarian assistance and threatening retribution for heinous acts, such as the use of chemical weapons.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department + Arabic 21)