Caesar TestimonySpeaking under the name “Caesar” and wearing a tightly closed poncho in order to protect his and his family’s identity, a Syrian military defector addressed the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, calling for renewed action from the United States and the international community to stymie the continued violence in Syria. Communicating through a translator, “Caesar” recounted and displayed new photos from his collection of 55,000 images, documenting the torture, starvation, and death of over 11,000 civilians.

Having worked in Syria’s defense sector, Caesar had been tasked with meticulously documenting the systematic torture and killing of thousands of Syrians by the Assad regime before he planned his escape with the evidence of murders.  Describing the actions of Assad’s government as “a genocidal massacre”, Caesar called on the international community to do something now in order to prevent the some 150,000 civilians still held in regime custody from meeting the same fate as those seen in his photos.

The publication of Caesar’s photos adds what international war crimes prosecutor David Crane refers to as “smoking gun evidence” against Assad’s regime, building the ever-growing base of evidence against the dictator. Frederic Hof, a former State Department senior official specializing in Syria, stated that the photos ought compel the U.S. government to quash any plans to work with the Assad regime, an idea considered in light of the growing threat of radical groups like ISIS.

With documentation of Assad’s abuses becoming clearer, the need for awareness and a concerted response only grows. As Chairman Ed Royce mentioned at the beginning of the briefing, news of Syria has largely slipped into the background with Gaza and Ukraine taking center stage in global headlines.

However, with over 160,000 dead in the conflict and with the Syrian civil war experiencing the most violent week of its more than 3 year duration, international attention is needed as much as ever.  With Caesar’s testimony and the graphic evidence he laid out before U.S. Members of Congress and the media, for at least one day, the horrors in Syria were impossible to ignore.

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  • Policy Wonk

    Forgive my skepticism about some clown named “Caesar” in a raincoat and sun glasses who just happens to have 27,000 photos of dead bodies on him. So President Assad detailed 11 men to document every execution in order to assure they were carried out? And it took this guy two years to get fed up with it? That is so implausible it borders on ridiculous.

    We now know that the hysterical claims about Assad using poison gas on his capital city—a claim that was patently absurd on its face—was false. Check “The Red Line and the Rat Line” by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Seymore Hersh. Hersh concluded that Turkish intelligence agents helped Syrian rebels carry out a “false flag” gas attack that killed 1300 civilians. They almost sent us to war over that deception. And by the way, Seymour Hersh convincingly documents how the CIA, Turks, Qataris and Saudis overthrew and murdered Libya’s Colonel Kaddafi in order to capture his weapons in order to arm the Syrian terrorists. We’re deeply in bed with al Qaeda terrorists.

    Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me. I’m no fool and I’m not buying
    it. P.S. Next time don’t pick a Latin name for an Arabic intelligence agent.