“At least 11,000 human beings have been tortured and executed”, says David Crane, one of three international lawyers who released a report on Syria on 21 January.
Those 11,000 were not killed in the heat of battle. They were taken prisoner by the government of dictator Bashar al-Assad, and then tortured and killed in jail. Their families were told they had died of “heart attacks” or “breathing failure”.
The evidence comes from a photographer for the Assad regime’s military police who defected.
Published just before the “Geneva 2” talks on Syria open in Switzerland, it will spike an incipient trend in the US ruling class to settle for some new deal with Assad.
Ryan Crocker, who is now an academic but has been US ambassador to both Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in the New York Times in December that “Assad is the least worst option”. The new evidence will discredit that view.
In any case “Geneva 2” is unlikely to bring a result. Only exile groups of the opposition have agreed to attend, and they say they will walk out if Iran is represented there, as it is due to be.
Within Syria, war still rages between the ISIL Islamist “ultras” and softer-Islamist or secular factions of the opposition, as well as between the opposition and the regime.
Intervention by the working class and the labour movement of the whole region is the only factor likely to be able to create a “third camp” in Syria for a democratic and secular outcome.