I moved from the States to then Czechoslovakia in 1992, unaware of the country's history of, well, 'antipathy' to all things brown and Muslims in particular*. I meet clients these days at the high-flying City Tower office building on Fridays: one big bank, lots of silk-stocking law offices, lobbyists and the lot. In my case, a legal translator and a couple of said lawyers. On the elevator down after, three suits are laughing about the Arabs in Gaza they'd seen on the TV in the waiting room of whatever den of corruption they'd been visiting. I considered, took a five-second count to consider the risk and opted to offer a neutrally-toned question: 'And the Israeli reaction?' The guy smiled knowingly, took the Rambo pose, air-guitared the firing of a machine gun, and all three suits burst out laughing.
Sometimes here I feel like I am stuck in Hell.
*A friend was restituted a Baroque Dientzenhofer mill back in the 90s. I spent a weekend there. The family crest above the entrance features three be-fezzed and decapitated Turkish heads in its capital.
Interesting stats I found today:
Isreallycool.com, referring to the 'Syrian Human Rights Observatory', reports that 229 people were killed in Syria on 16 July, forty-five of them civilians (http://www.israellycool.com/2014/07/17/genocide-by-the-numbers-in-gaza/). Rounding up, this renders a 20% civilian kill ratio. Maybe it was a slow day for killing civilians. Reuters, citing the same source, put the overall death toll in Syria at 150,000, with a third of them as civilians (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/01/us-syria-crisis-toll-idUSBREA300YX20140401). The UN's currently putting Israel's civilian kill ratio at 77%.
If I remember correctly, Assad is a murdering swine, Demon of Damascus, baby-killing raghead while Israel does not 'deliberately target civilians'.
Conclusion: Assad should take a page from Israel's playbook and scream 'human shield' at every turn.