A video secretly filmed in a Syrian army hospital documents Syrian opponents shackled and blindfolded in army hospital beds next to rubber whips and electric cables.
The video was filmed by a hospital worker at the hospital in Homs and was smuggled out of the country by a French photojournalist. It was shown on Britain’s Channel 4 television Monday night and exposes methods of torture used by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s military forces and loyalist medics.
The faces of the wounded have been blurred to protect their identity.
The whips and cables have been used to torture the wounded men, who also were forced to walk on salted floors.
"I have seen detainees being tortured by electrocution, whipping, beating with batons, and by breaking their legs,” a hospital worker told the photographer. He said male nurses and other medics “twist the feet until the leg breaks. They perform operations without anesthetics. I saw them slamming detainees' heads against walls. They shackle the patients to beds. They deny them water."
The film confirms Amnesty International allegations that it has found evidence of torture. A Syrian military officer maintained that torture is not used against opponents of the regime.
However, even doctors have been tortured for not agreeing to inflict pain on patients, and many of them have fled the country or have been arrested.
Cilina Nasser, who wrote the Amnesty International report on Syrian torture, was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying, "This is the first time we have video evidence to corroborate these claims. The new evidence is horrific. Hospitals should be safe places for anyone who needs medical attention and treatment, but it seems that wounded people in Syria have no safe place to go."
The video is likely to be used as pressure on China and Russia to agree to back resolutions in the United Nations Security Council condemning Syria and may serve as ammunition for American Congressmen in favor of the United States intervening military as a humanitarian act.
Sen. John McCain said in the Senate Monday night, "The ultimate goal of air strikes should be to establish and defend safe havens in Syria, especially in the north, in which opposition forces can organize and plan their political and military activities against Assad.”
On the diplomatic front, Canada has closed its embassy in Damascus and is widening economic sanctions against Syria. “The continuing, appalling violence perpetrated by the Assad regime on the people of Syria compels us to again tighten the vice on those responsible,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement.
Assad’s forces continued to bomb civilians Tuesday and extended the bombardment to the city of Rastan, where rebels who fled the Baba Amr district of Homs regrouped. An activist said that “what’s happening in Rastan is exactly what happened in Baba Amr: a siege, artillery fire and rockets.”