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Syrian Military Using Humans As Shields

Friday, August 30, 2013 18:24
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Source: Prisoners being bused from jails to key missile targets



F. Michael Maloof

WASHINGTON – As the Syrian government braces for a possible U.S. attack in response to the gas attacks on civilians near Damascus, there are increasing indications that its leadership is positioning people as human shields around sensitive targets.

Sources say that the Syrian leadership has begun to place thousands of prisoners at sites thought to be targets of the U.S. cruise missiles that would be expected should President Barack Obama go ahead with a “limited” response to what the U.S. administration believes was the use of poison gas on Syrian citizens on Aug. 21 in a region on the outskirts of Damascus.

The immediate concern is that with distant targeting of military sites, the United States may not have the timely intelligence to avoid sites surrounded by people, thereby resulting in further mass casualties.

In one case, prisoners have been seen being bused from prisons to the military sites.

According to one tweet, “thousands of prisoners are inside the Mezzeh Military airport hangers, gym and other facilities.”

“(Syrian President Bashar) Al-Assad’s fascist regime is amassing activists and civilians in prisons in military locations that may be targets for foreign forces,” according to a statement of the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition.

“Using civilians as human shields is a breach of international humanitarian law and those responsible must be held accountable for crimes against humanity,” the statement said.

In addition to thousands of prisoners, the human shield includes protesters, rebel fighters and political dissidents.

Because of the Obama administration’s act of telegraphing its strike intentions, without any action so far, the Syrian leadership has had time to prepare, vacating sensitive facilities and moving military assets including missiles and artillery and command and control facilities.

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