The pictures shocking. They show the savage execution of supporters of the Bachar El-Assad regime taken prisoner by the rebels. We have chosen to publish them for the essential message they convey. Both sides engage in propaganda and diffuse pictures whose authenticity cannot be guaranteed. So we do not publish them.
This time, these photos were taken, last week, by a young independent photographer who has worked regularly in Syria. We have done our best to verify this information. Only the most bearable pictures from his reportage have been retained. Others, unbearable, will remain engraved in our memory.
We have no desire to compare the ravages caused by the Damascus government’s broad and pitiless repression of its own people with the atrocities of ferocious jihadists. These images of unjustifiable assassinations nevertheless overlap with those, equally abominable, of chemical weapons massacres.
In Syria, the horror is on both sides. A reality that is impossible to ignore. These barbaric acts pose a dilemma for the West. The desire to overthrow Bachar El-Assad will likely open the door to equally bloodthirsty Islamists. With the likelihood of military intervention decreasing, these are the stakes facing François Hollande and Barack Obama as they make their final decision.
For our reporter, Alfred de Montesquiou, these revolting photos lead us to doubt the humanistic intentions of the Syrian rebellion, and are not representative of the freedom fight engaged by the 100,000 to 150,000 people committed to bringing down the dictatorship in Damascus.
Nevertheless, they undoubtedly add an element to the debate, and inform the public. The assassins featured in these images are not representative of the Syrian opposition. Yet it must be acknowledged that these barbaric warmongers raise fear in public opinion. Their acts undermine the desire to help and support the opposition and lead us to doubt its ability to bring a democratic alternative to Damascus.