The United Nations said this morning that more 11,000 Syrians have left the country in the last 24 hours, fleeing to Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. The huge spike was more than three times the normal daily average, and pushes the total number of refugees from the ongoing civil war to more than 400,000. There was no immediate explanation for the huge jump in numbers, but it does come one day after President Bashar al-Assad gave a televised interview saying the conflict is not a civil war and that he will not be leaving the country.
Another explanation for the increasing exodus is that the war appears to have entered a kind of bloody stalemate, with neither side gaining much ground, but both inflicting heavy casualties on each other and the public. There have been recent reports of the Syrian air force using cluster bombs on its own people, while the rebels have aligned themselves with terrorist groups who are setting off car bombs in the heart of its cities. Meanwhile, a "government in exile" is holding elections that have no meaning, as the rest of the world's leaders are bickering over everything they aren't doing to help.
Through all of this, Assad appears unfazed by the carnage he's overseeing and regular people—men, women, and children of Syria—find no peace. Most troubling of all is that the brutality of the rebels has nearly begun to equal that of Assad's regime, and they are increasingly alienating the citizens they are supposed to be defending. Many regular people have turned on them, complaining of armed fighters abusing their power and attacking civilians over minor provocations.
These photos taken by Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih graphically illustrate the deterioration of the conflict. The caption says these are Free Syrian Army fighters firing "on a man they suspect to be from the pro-government forces," but what they're really doing is executing an unarmed prisoner. The man is not even in uniform, but even if he were and no matter what he may have done on behalf of Assad, the rebels are clearly losing the moral high ground in this war.
Be warned that the photos below might be disturbing:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.