A group of children dressed in orange jumpsuits were recently caged in a scene reminiscent of the brutal execution video of pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh at the hands of ISIS, as part of a protest to call attention to conditions in war-torn Syria.
The demonstration was organized by activists who assert that alleged atrocities committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be likened to the crimes of ISIS. Held in Douma, near Damascus, the protest was meant to call attention to the siege conditions experienced by Syrians who have been killed in airstrikes perpetrated by forces loyal to Assad. It was also meant as a condemnation of the lack of international attention devoted to the crisis in Syria, compared to that expended on ISIS.
The children inside the cage, some as young as 3-years-old, held banners that read “Stop the killing of children.” In a chilling scene reminiscent of the ISIS video, a nearby man held a flaming torch, much like the one used to end the life of Muath al-Kaseasbeh. Earlier this year, the Jordanian pilot was brutally executed by ISIS militants, placed in a cage wearing an orange jumpsuit and burned alive. The act spurred a vehement response from the government of Jordan, whose leader King Abdullah II led a series of airstrikes against the militants.
According to the British-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), 180 people have been killed by airstrikes in Douma over the first 10 days of this month, including women and children. Rebel groups have responded by threatening to increase rocket attacks against areas controlled by Assad’s regime. SOHR forecasts heavier violence in the weeks to come, as weather clears in the region.
“Now the weather is better there will be Syrian air strikes. With the air strikes they will move forward,” said Rami Abdulrahman, who heads SOHR.
Over the course of the four-year-long civil war in Syria, Assad has been accused of using weapons of mass destruction, including chemical munitions, against his own people. In a rare appearance last week, he denied claims by human rights groups that he had used barrel bombs against the Syrian people.
After ISIS released the video of the pilot’s execution, massive protests were also staged in Jordan, though they bore no resemblance to the children’s demonstration in Syria.
[Image: Reuters via the Daily Mail]