Syrians, caught up in the decades-long civil war that devastated the country and killed hundreds of thousands, have seen similarities to the Ukraine war
Image: AFP/Getty Images)
A survivor of the Syrian civil war has warned that the brutality unleashed by the Russians in Ukraine is just the beginning.
For Abdel Kafi al-Hamdo, the heartbreaking scenes that have emerged from Ukraine since February 24 remind him of another conflict.
The English teacher became embroiled in the Syrian civil war, in which President Bashar al-Assad’s forces fought various opposition factions with the support of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Over the decades of conflict, more than 200,000 civilians lost their lives, including 25,000 children.
Assad’s forces plumbed the depths of modern warfare, dropping bombs on built-up areas of Aleppo and firing chemical weapons like mustard gas and sarin.
Hambo says the horrific nature of the war and the way it has spread to all areas of civilian life offers Syrians a unique insight into the conflict in Ukraine.
“They destroyed us, they destroyed our psychology,” said Hamdo, who once stepped over dead bodies to meet a friend in the hospital. said CNN.
“It will happen in Ukraine. What is happening in Ukraine is just the beginning.”
The connections between the Syrian civil war and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are clear.
As with Syrian government forces, Russia has not shied away from unleashing indiscriminate shelling on built-up civilian areas.
Russia helped launch what UN investigators called a campaign of “systemic” attacks on hospitals in Syria.
Over a four-year period ending in 2015, more than 300 attacks were carried out on various medical facilities.
In Ukraine, Russian forces have shelled hospitals – in one case hitting a Mariupol maternity hospital, killing a child.
Another clear parallel between the conflicts is how both have pushed Western countries to make difficult decisions about whether to intervene.
In 2013, the Obama administration said that the Assad regime crossed a “red line” when it used chemical weapons against its own people.
Somewhat guided by Britain’s decision not to intervene, which followed a historic vote in the House of Commons, the US did not send troops to Syria.
So far, Western allies have come to the same decision with Ukraine.
Two years after the US decided not to fight directly in Syria, the Russian military moved in and helped shore up a very weak Assad.
He is still in power today, and Russia is present in Syria.
By entering Syria at this point, Russia’s military gained valuable modern warfare experience that will have guided its invasion of Ukraine.
In August last year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu boasted about how the military in the Middle Eastern country had practiced with hundreds of weapons.
“We tested over 320 (types of weapons), in fact we tested all weapons except easy-to-understand versions (in Syria),” he said.
Ismail al-Abdullah was a member of the White Helmets Volunteer Rescue Group and witnessed firsthand the terrible destruction and misery wrought by the war in Syria.
He, too, observed the invasion of Ukraine through the eyes of a man who survived a war in his own country.
“It’s frustrating to see Russia repeating the same misinformation and untruths,” he said of false Russian claims that the bombed Mariupol hospital had been turned into a base for nationalists.
“Russia vandalized dozens of hospitals and killed hundreds of medical workers in Syria under this false pretense.”
Mr al-Abdullah was reacting to a widely circulated photo two weeks ago of a family killed trying to flee Mariupol.
“This picture is so reminiscent of what has been happening in Syria for 10 years,” he said.
Asked what advice he would give to Ukrainians involved in the conflict, Mr al-Abdullah urged people not to walk on open roads to avoid snipers.
He also said rescue workers should wait to help those caught in airstrikes until the skies are clear of planes to avoid being hit in a double-tap attack.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/syrians-say-war-ukraine-only-26509666 Syrians say war in Ukraine is 'just beginning' as Putin unleashes same brutal tactics - World News