Syrian War Crimes Trial

Colonel Anwar Raslan, a former Syrian official, and prison guard Eyad al-Gharib are on trial in Germany for War Crimes (NPR). The 2 came to Germany posing as refugees. A year later German officials researching records discovered their true identities and had them arrested. The trial has been going on for months.

Raslan is accused of Crimes Against Humanity, rape, torture, and 58 murders. It is alleged he oversaw the torture of at least 4000 people while the commander of Branch 251. The unit is an intelligence operation with it’s own prison. Al=Gharib, who was a prison guard, is charged with assistance to torture and 30 counts of murder (The Guardian).

The testimonies paint a horrid picture of President Assad’s regime. Tales of rotting bodies and torture sessions fill the days of trial. According to Amnesty International (2017 report), thousands of people have been killed in mass hangings in Syrian prison camps. The Syrian government has largely barred the organization’s access to their territory since.

It is apparent Assad will not stand trial for these crimes (Foreign Policy). His backing by Russian President Vlad Putin will keep him out of prison. Russia intends to keep their naval base at Tartus ensuring efforts to prop up Assad will continue. The original uprising against his regime, backed by the United States, got sideswiped by the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIS). ISIS is a religiously fanatic force of disenfranchised Sunni Iraqi soldiers who think they need to take over Dabiq, Syria to defeat the Army of Rome. Strange events sabotaged most of the Islamic Spring uprisings in the Middle East.

If and when the strife in Syria recedes, Dr Assad will have difficult relations with the nations of Europe. The future of his regime will be even more dependent upon the Russian Federation. This will guarantee Putin’s influence and retention of the Tartus Naval Base.