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The moral imperative in Syria

The Assad regime in Damascus has gone on a killing spree against pro-democracy protesters, especially in the city of Hama, bringing moral outrage by world leaders. What can be done to stop it?

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For many world leaders, a moral tipping point may have finally been reached this week in the violent crackdown on Syria’s democratic uprising.

On Sunday, the regime occupied Syria’s third-largest city, Hama, using tanks and snipers to kill innocent people in what is coming close to being genocide.

The Syrian Army, controlled by the minority Alewite sect of President Bashar al-Assad, now appears to be going from one rebellious city to another in this mainly Sunni country, crushing any opposition with brutal violence. It is being helped by Iran, a Shiite-run theocracy that gunned down its own pro-democracy protests in 2009.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Mr. Assad had “lost all sense of humanity.” In Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the Hama attack “is an atrocity.” President Obama said the assault on civilians was “horrifying.”

On Monday, Europe beefed up sanctions against the regime while the normally timid UN Security Council may – and should – condemn this escalation of violence in a resolution.

“Syria has turned into a great funeral whose coffins extend from the north to the south, and from the coast to the last position on its southern border,” wrote chief editor Abdel Bari Atwan in the Palestinian-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily.

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