Nicholas Kristof Visits War-Torn Syria

Monday, November 19, 2012

A rebel machine gunner watches Syrian army positions 500 metres away in the town of Maarat al-Numan, on November 17, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

The sounds of distant explosions and nearby sniper fire are not new to war-torn Syria, which has been embroiled for nearly 20 months in what some have called civil war. President Bashar al-Assad's military has shelled cities and forced civilians from their homes and into refugee camps in neighboring countries. The rebel-comprised Free Syrian Army have risen up against the regime, and although they have wide international support, the group has also been accused of committing atrocities as gross as the government. A recent estimate puts the death toll at more than 37,000 people.

New York Times' columnist Nicholas Kristof recently returned from a trip to Syria. While there he met Khadija al-Ali, a woman who "in the space of a week [went] from middle-class housewife to homeless single mother." Her family was safely out of their home when it was destroyed by a government bomb, but a few days later her husband disappeared and hasn't yet returned. "I just don't know what happened," Ms. Ali said. 

In his column, Mr. Kristof asserts that "the existing hands-off approach has failed," citing regional instability and rising sectarianism as two consequences of non-intervention. But stronger action from Western powers may be on the horizon. In a recent news conference with Australian allies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that "the formation of the new Syrian Opposition Coalition is an important step forward and will help us better target our assistance." The size and scope of that assistance is yet to be seen.


Nicholas Kristof

Produced by:

Joe Hernandez

Comments [3]

Peter from Westchester

"Missiles raining down on Gaza"? This doesn't sound very balanced. Commentary disguised as news is not why I support you folks.

Nov. 19 2012 03:58 PM
Sharon from nyc

What is the impact of the lawlessness going on in Sinai--which I understand is fueled by arms and personnel coming out of Gaza--on the relationship between Egypt and Hamas?

Nov. 19 2012 03:23 PM

Time to go back and review the gushing reports about the Arab Spring and the earlier ferocious denouncements of the US getting involved in Iraq. Now the hopelessly naive and politicized media recognizes the extremism that has taken over the so-called Arab Spring and they are ashamed about the crime of doing nothing while a dictator wipes out his people in Syria today much like was done in Iraq years ago.
Of course somehow this is all Israel's fault and over 16 trillion in debt is a great way to tie the hands of the U.S.
People listen to media like this not so much to get information but to bear witness to the warped reasoning.

Nov. 19 2012 09:41 AM

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