Halabja and Damascus: The same tragedy after 25 years

Ramazan Ozturk, a Turkish documentary producer and journalist witnessed and photographed the massacre in the northern Iraqi town of Halabja in 1988 when Iraqi war planes dropped sarin and mustard gas, killing roughly 5,000 civilians

Halabja and Damascus: The same tragedy after 25 years

World Bulletin/News Desk

Iraq's Saddam-era chemical weapons might have fallen into the hands of the Syrian regime, warned Ramazan Ozturk, a Turkish documentary producer and journalist who witnessed and photographed the massacre in the northern Iraqi town of Halabja in 1988 when Iraqi war planes dropped sarin and mustard gas, killing roughly 5,000 civilians during the closing days of the Iran-Iraq War.

With reports of a another chemical attack in Syria near capital Damascus, Ozturk recalled the tragedy in Halabja: "It was like a game or a theater play. I saw in Halabja what a person can do to another."    

On Wednesday, Syrian National Coalition (SNC) said at least 1,300 people were killed in a poison attack which it blamed on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the suburbs of the Ghouta region near Damascus.

But the Syrian regime strongly denied the claim and described reports and figures as "lies and groundless," saying reports were aimed at "distracting a visiting team of United Nations chemical weapons experts from their mission."

A UN team is currently in Syria to investigate an earlier allegation of use of chemical weapons reported by the Syrian government at Khan al-Assal as well as two other allegations reported by Security Council member states.

"We see how people can turn into monsters for the sake of power. I burst into tears when I first entered Halabja. I was ashamed of my humanity millions of times. Children, women and old people were lying on the ground. None of them had weapons in their hands. What kind of harm can be expected from a one month old baby?" he told the Anadolu Agency.

"And now those scenes are repeated after 25 years. I am concerned about the Middle East, including Turkey."

He called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime a "dictatorship and tyranny."

"If it were a democratic regime, foreigners would have not been involved in the war in Syria. The swamp is attracting the mosquitoes. If Saddam had left power, the Gulf Wars would not have happened. Now it is the same in Syria. Foreigners fight but Syrians get killed."

He said he was not surprised in the face of the use of chemical weapons in Syria: "The Baath regime has no redlines. And it does not hesitate to kill hundreds of thousands of people to save the regime."

And he made a grim prediction: "Bombs targeting Turkey's border with Syria can turn chemical soon. They would do this to drag Turkey into the Syrian war. It's just a hunch of mine, may Allah protect us. But I won't be surprised if that happens."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ağustos 2013, 15:38
YORUM EKLE