How to Flatten a City

Start Slideshow View as a List
http://It's%20still%20possible,%20in%20this%20day%20and%20age%20of%2024/7%20news%20coverage%20and%20citizen%20journalism,%20to%20destroy%20an%20entire%20town.%20As%20the%20horrible%20violence%20in%20the%20Syrian%20opposition%20stronghold%20of%20Homs%20has%20shown%20in%20the%20last%20few%20weeks,%20all%20you%20need%20to%20do%20is%20kill%20everybody.%20And%20as%20Robert%20Young%20Pelton%20points%20out,%20the%20Syrian%20government%20may%20have%20had%20a%20blueprint%20for%20this%20callous%20plan%20of%20destruction.%20As%20Pelton%20writes%20in%20FP,%20"It's%20impossible%20to%20know%20whether%20%20Syrian%20President%20Bashar%20al-Assad%20--%20a%20longtime%20Russian%20ally%20--%20studied%20%20the%20%20success%20of%20the%20last%20Chechen%20war%20before%20launching%20his%20own%20assault%20on%20the%20%20restive%20city%20of%20Homs.%20However,%20his%20Russian%20military%20advisors%20surely%20%20know%20the%20tactics%20%20well.%20The%20crackdown%20in%20Homs%20carries%20a%20grim%20echo%20of%20Grozny,%20both%20in%20its%20%20use%20of%20%20signals%20intelligence%20to%20track%20down%20and%20silence%20the%20regime's%20enemies%20and%20%20its%20%20bloody%20determination%20to%20obliterate%20any%20opposition,%20including%20Western%20%20journalists."%20The%20world%20may%20never%20know%20how%20much%20Syria%20really%20learned%20from%20Russia,%20but%20as%20the%20photos%20here%20show,%20the%20visual%20similarities%20between%20the%20two%20conflicts%20are%20shocking.%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20a%20house%20damaged%20by%20government%20shelling%20in%20the%20Baba%20Amr%20%20neighborhood%20of%20Homs%20on%20Feb.%2011,%202012. 

It's still possible, in this day and age of 24/7 news coverage and citizen journalism, to destroy an entire town. As the horrible violence in the Syrian opposition stronghold of Homs has shown in the last few weeks, all you need to do is kill everybody. And as Robert Young Pelton points out, the Syrian government may have had a blueprint for this callous plan of destruction. As Pelton writes in FP, "It's impossible to know whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- a longtime Russian ally -- studied the success of the last Chechen war before launching his own assault on the restive city of Homs. However, his Russian military advisors surely know the tactics well. The crackdown in Homs carries a grim echo of Grozny, both in its use of signals intelligence to track down and silence the regime's enemies and its bloody determination to obliterate any opposition, including Western journalists." The world may never know how much Syria really learned from Russia, but as the photos here show, the visual similarities between the two conflicts are shocking.

Above, a house damaged by government shelling in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs on Feb. 11, 2012. 

http://A%20man%20walks%20past%20a%20bomb%20blast%20site%20on%20one%20of%20the%20%20main%20avenues%20in%20central%20Grozny%20on%20Dec.%2026,%201995,%20after%20Yeltsin%20announced%20in%20a%20Security%20Council%20meeting%20%20the%20end%20of%20the%20military%20operation%20in%20the%20break-away%20republic%20of%20Chechnya.The%20first%20Chechen%20war,%20which%20lasted%20from%201994%20to%201996,%20left%20between%2030,000%20and%20100,%20000%20civilians%20dead.

A man walks past a bomb blast site on one of the main avenues in central Grozny on Dec. 26, 1995, after Yeltsin announced in a Security Council meeting the end of the military operation in the break-away republic of Chechnya.The first Chechen war, which lasted from 1994 to 1996, left between 30,000 and 100, 000 civilians dead.

http://Free%20Syrian%20Army%20fighters%20stand%20guard%20in%20Idlib,%20in%20%20northwestern%20Syria,%20on%20Feb.%2020,%202012.%20The%20Red%20%20Cross%20said%20it%20was%20in%20talks%20with%20the%20Syrian%20authorities%20and%20rebels%20to%20halt%20the%20%20violence%20so%20it%20can%20deliver%20aid%20amid%20calls%20to%20allow%20women%20and%20children%20out%20of%20%20the%20besieged%20city%20of%20Homs.

Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard in Idlib, in northwestern Syria, on Feb. 20, 2012. The Red Cross said it was in talks with the Syrian authorities and rebels to halt the violence so it can deliver aid amid calls to allow women and children out of the besieged city of Homs.

http://A%20Chechen%20soldier%20carries%20a%20machine%20gun%20in%20downtown%20%20Grosny%20on%20Jan.%2017,%201995,%20as%20rebels%20and%20Russian%20troops%20engaged%20in%20fierce%20firefights.

A Chechen soldier carries a machine gun in downtown Grosny on Jan. 17, 1995, as rebels and Russian troops engaged in fierce firefights.

http://A%20man%20flees%20sniper%20fire%20during%20a%20clash%20between%20opposition%20and%20government%20forces%20in%20Homs%20on%20Feb.%2011,%202012. 

A man flees sniper fire during a clash between opposition and government forces in Homs on Feb. 11, 2012. 

http://Chechen%20fighters%20flee%20sniper%20fire%20in%20downtown%20Grozny%20on%20Jan.%2015,%201995.

Chechen fighters flee sniper fire in downtown Grozny on Jan. 15, 1995.

http://Three%20members%20of%20the%20Syrian%20militia%20pray%20during%20a%20break%20in%20%20the%20fighting.

Three members of the Syrian militia pray during a break in the fighting.

http://A%20Chechen%20soldier%20puts%20aside%20his%20machine%20gun%20as%20he%20prays%20on%20%20Grozny's%20snowy%20main%20square%20on%20Dec.%2018,%201994.

A Chechen soldier puts aside his machine gun as he prays on Grozny's snowy main square on Dec. 18, 1994.

http://An%20image%20grab%20taken%20on%20Dec.%2022,%202011%20from%20a%20video%20%20uploaded%20on%20YouTube%20shows%20the%20bodies%20of%20Syrian%20men%20who%20were%20allegedly%20killed%20by%20%20government%20security%20forces%20in%20the%20northwestern%20town%20of%20Kafer%20Awid%20in%20the%20Jebel%20al-Zawiyah%20%20mountains%20of%20Idlib%20province.

An image grab taken on Dec. 22, 2011 from a video uploaded on YouTube shows the bodies of Syrian men who were allegedly killed by government security forces in the northwestern town of Kafer Awid in the Jebel al-Zawiyah mountains of Idlib province.

http://An%20elderly%20Russian%20%20woman%20points%20to%20the%20body%20of%20her%20son%20who%20disappeared%20during%20a%20Russian%20air%20raid%20%20when%20he%20left%20his%20shelter%20to%20fetch%20some%20water,%20in%20Grozny%20on%20March%2031,%201995.

An elderly Russian woman points to the body of her son who disappeared during a Russian air raid when he left his shelter to fetch some water, in Grozny on March 31, 1995.

http://A%20member%20of%20the%20Free%20Syrian%20Army%20takes%20position%20on%20Jan.%2027,%202012.%20The%20violence%20%20in%20Syria%20has%20killed%20at%20least%207,000%20people%20since%20it%20erupted%20last%20March,%20rights%20%20groups%20estimate.

A member of the Free Syrian Army takes position on Jan. 27, 2012. The violence in Syria has killed at least 7,000 people since it erupted last March, rights groups estimate.

http://A%20Chechen%20fighter%20takes%20cover%20from%20sniper%20fire%20in%20%20a%20building%20across%20the%20square%20from%20the%20remains%20of%20the%20presidential%20palace%20destroyed%20by%20Russian%20%20artillery%20bombardments%20on%20Jan.%2010,%201995. 

A Chechen fighter takes cover from sniper fire in a building across the square from the remains of the presidential palace destroyed by Russian artillery bombardments on Jan. 10, 1995. 

http://A%20Chechen%20fighter%20armed%20with%20a%20machine%20gun%20dodges%20bullets%20as%20%20he%20changes%20his%20position%20during%20fighting%20in%20Grozny%20on%20Jan.%2026,%201995.%20Russian%20%20heavy%20guns%20blasted%20Grozny's%20last%20Chechen-held%20areas,%20peppering%20streets%20and%20%20apartment%20blocks%20with%20shells%20as%20massive%20armored%20reinforcements%20rolled%20towards%20%20the%20city.

A Chechen fighter armed with a machine gun dodges bullets as he changes his position during fighting in Grozny on Jan. 26, 1995. Russian heavy guns blasted Grozny's last Chechen-held areas, peppering streets and apartment blocks with shells as massive armored reinforcements rolled towards the city.

http://A%20Syrian%20armored%20military%20convoy%20along%20the%20road%20from%20Beirut%20to%20Damascus%20in%20the%20area%20of%20Jdeideh,%20near%20the%20Lebanese%20%20border,%20on%20Jan.%2013,%202012. 

A Syrian armored military convoy along the road from Beirut to Damascus in the area of Jdeideh, near the Lebanese border, on Jan. 13, 2012. 

http://Russian%20paratroopers%20guarded%20their%20unit's%20camp%20in%20Beslan,%20North%20Ossetia,%20on%20Dec.%203,%201994.

Russian paratroopers guarded their unit's camp in Beslan, North Ossetia, on Dec. 3, 1994.

Previous Next Close