At a certain point, it seemed like much of the world grew numb to the violence in Syria. But it's hard not to be disturbed by a new video showing a street littered with children's bloody bodies.
The scene is from Deir al-Asafir, a rebel-held town in the outskirts of Damascus where a Syrian government airstrike killed as many as ten children on Sunday. Opposition sources told both Reuters and CNN that planes flown by Assad loyalists peppered the suburb with cluster bombs, one of which hit a playground full of children playing. A YouTube video shows the aftermath. (Be careful clicking through to that video -- It is disturbing and graphic.) A woman bent over the lifeless body of a young girl dressed in purple is screaming "May God bring you pain, Bashar." A man walks in circles, as if in shock, with the limp body of a young child with blood dripping from his heels. There are bodies spilling out of cars, bodies blocking the streets.
The locals say the attack came without warning or provocation. "None of those killed were older than 15 years old," one villager named Abu Kassem told Reuters. "There are two women among 15 people wounded, mostly hit as they were inside the courtyards of their houses. There were no fighters inside Deir al-Asafir when the bombing occurred. They operate on the outskirts. This was indiscriminate bombing."
It's hard to know what exactly happened. Journalists haven't been allowed into the country for months, and of those that've managed to gain access, nine have been killed. Of course, that's nothing compared to the estimated 40,000 civilians killed in Syria since the conflict began nearly two years ago. The United States has kept its hands in its pockets so far, in part because our diplomats say that the Syrian rebels have long been too fragmented and disorganized for any hope of real cooperation. Will a playground full of dead children sway the State Department to take a more assertive stance? Probably not.