The newly uncovered Syrian Baathists’ horrible crimes of mass murder against the Lebanese people should not pass unnoticed and without judicial accountability, nor should the free and decent Lebanese leaders and citizens, and the free world communities and human rights organizations, once again bow to the Baathist terror and acquiesce to the concept of “forget and forgive”.
Divine justice will curse all those Lebanese and international officials, politicians, clergy and dignitaries who will refrain from courageously witnessing to the truth, who will keep a blind eye, a deaf ear or a numb conscience in dealing with the shocking discovery of five mass graves in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley’s city of Anjar that is located near the Lebanese-Syrian border.
The remains of more than fifty Lebanese civilians and soldiers were unearthed during the last few days from five mass graves discovered in Anjar. The remains were placed in bags and sent to Beirut for DNA tests in a bid to determine their identities and then hand them over to their relatives for decent burial.
What a shame that the Lebanese authorities have known all along about the existence of these Syrian-made mass graves for years but did not dare to exhume them out of fear of the revenge and brutality of Syrian troops and the Syrian leadership. The graves are located in an onion farm on the Nabi Uzeir hilltop, about one kilometer from the notorious former headquarters of the Syrian military intelligence services in Lebanon.
The mayor of the nearby town of Majdel Anjar who helped lead the Lebanese security forces to the graves, said that these bodies have been buried by the Syrian military Intelligence near the shrine of Nabi Uzeir since 1993. “I have known since 1999 but kept silent, and was repeatedly advised to keep my mouth shut”, Mayor Shaaban al-Ajami told reporters. He said he kept quiet out of fear of persecution by the Syrian intelligence which had a tight grip on Lebanon for thirty years of Stalinist tutelage. Syria’s Baathist leadership vacated these headquarters – notorious for the torture of prisoners – when the dictator of Damascus Bashar Al Assad was forced to withdraw his occupation troops from Lebanon last April in accordance with UN Resolution 1559.
More than 17,000 Lebanese who disappeared at the hands of Syrian troops and their Syrian-made Lebanese and Palestinian militias and Mafias since 1976 are still missing. Hundreds of them are still arbitrarily detained in Syria’s jails without any fair trials or due process. Their existence is even denied by their jailers. Syrian military personnel have murdered thousands and thousands of Lebanese citizens after brutal interrogation in their Anjar headquarters. The bodies of most of these victims were buried in nearby mass graves. Some of the bones unearthed are more than 20 years old.
The discovery of these graves illustrate the criminal nature and the sickening mentality of the Syrian Baathist regime. This unfortunate fact necessitates the formation of an international UN investigation committee. The Lebanese people have the right to know why their beloved ones died, how they died and why their mutilated bodies were thrown in these graves. This is the biggest proof that the crime is very big and that it touches the lives of thousands of Lebanese families from all religious denominations and political affiliations.
The Lebanese people are calling for an immediate UN probe into these graves as well as an international intervention to bring a final resolution to the ongoing atrocity against the Lebanese detainees in Syrian jails. The Lebanese people demand a thorough international investigation not only into the recently discovered mass graves and the detainees in Syrian jails, but also and most importantly into other murders carried out by the Syrian occupation troops and their Lebanese puppets and allies during the last thirty years of the Syrian tutelage over Lebanon.
These are serious crimes against humanity that obligate the Lebanese government to act immediately in taking all needed legal procedures to ensure that the rights of both the victims and their families are honored. Meanwhile it is time for all countries and communities of the free world to join forces and get rid of the Syrian Baathist regime. It is time to help the Syrian people in erecting a new democratic regime of their free choice that abides by the Human Rights Charter and all other covenants of the international community.
The Lebanese people have endured with courage, faith and hope thirty years of a horrific Syrian Baathist occupation whose evil deeds, while known to the people and governments of Lebanon, are only now beginning to surface for all the world to see.
The people of Lebanon will know no lasting peace before the remaining articles of UN Resolution 1559 are implemented, specifically the disarming and dismantling of all Lebanese and non Lebanese militias and the spread of the authority of the central Lebanese government over all the territory of Lebanon through its own legitimate military forces.