With the sputtering economy, debt ceiling and college graduations taking up most of our collective brain space these days, you likely haven't been following the events in Syria over the past few days. But now, it's time to check in. Why? Because a months-long revolt has turned terribly, terribly serious--with all the implications for a destabilized Middle East that come with it. Human Rights Watch even issued a 54-page report titled, "We've Never Seen Such Horror."
The torture employed by the Syrian government against the protestors cost another ally. Today, Turkey's prime minister condemned the actions of the regime. Iran, however, is still on board. Damascus-based human rights lawyer Razan Zeitouneh told the Guardian that Iran is involved in the crackdown on some protests. "When the protestors caught six persons who were not Syrians, they were Iranians, and they were shooting with security [forces]."
But what we will think of when we consider Syria is the story of two young friends. Thirteen-year-old Hamza al-Khateeb and 15-yearold Thamer al-Sahri were seized during anti-government protests in April.
Hamza, who loved to swim and raise homing pigeons, was returned to his parents on May 24:
The child had spent nearly a month in the custody of Syrian security, and when they finally returned his corpse it bore the scars of brutal torture: Lacerations, bruises and burns to his feet, elbows, face and knees, consistent with the use of electric shock devices and of being whipped with cable.
This week, it was Thamer who was delivered to his parents. If you watch one video about the uprising in Syria, this is the one: