By Lucky Gold, CNN
Colonel Abdalhamid Zakaria, a doctor and defector from the Syrian army, appeared Monday on Amanpour and described the appalling conditions in the Aleppo military hospital where he worked until his defection.
Now a member of the Syrian Free Army, Col. Zakaria spoke from Istanbul, recalling how at Aleppo hospital he had treated Syrian soldiers, most of whom “were shot from behind when they refused to kill the civilians.”
As for the civilian patients, he said they were treated “only when the regime is looking for further investigations.” But if they had no information to divulge, “the regime will kill them directly by many ways.”
Among those lethal methods, he detailed “calcium injections, intravenously and rapidly causing cardiac arrest, or by using high doses of insulin causing hypoglycemic coma and finally death.”
He added, “Those who were injected are lucky, compared to those left bleeding to death in the dark.”
Aware of the seriousness of his accusations, Col. Zakaria insisted: “I have seen by my own eyes. The staff who injected those people are nurses and doctors who my friends.” Then he corrected himself: “They were my friends, not now.”
He should consider that his family will be killed
Once he made his decision to defect, Col. Zakaria’s last night in his Syrian home was painful: “My little daughter was crying. And she begged me to travel to any country without a president. She thinks that all the presidents are killers like Assad.”
Echoing his daughter’s sentiments, Col. Zakaria said “the international community has deserted us. No one cares for all the bloodshed in Syria. We only hear words and promises but in fact, it’s just much ado about nothing.”
He then offered a message to the American people and the American president: “How do you dare to look at your kids’ eyes while the children in Syria are killed on a daily basis? Also I want to ask Mr. Obama, is your presidential chair worth all the bloodshed in Syria? Why are you keeping silent?”
Fortunately, he was able to get his family out of the country: “We left everything behind. We left our home, hour livelihood, our schools - we left everything rather than the memories of our bleeding home country.”
Col. Zakaria gave a chilling reason why the numbers to date have been so few: “We have in Syria the largest secret security forces throughout the world. They kill any officer they suspect is supporting the revolution…Anyone who decided to defect, he should consider that his family will be killed.”
Despite that, citing a Syrian activist and Free Syrian Army sources, Reuters today reported the defection of 85 Syrian soldiers, including a general.
Assad always tried to convince the world
Contradicting accounts by journalists and observers on the ground in Syria, Col. Zakaria denied that the conflict was becoming a sectarian war: “It’s not true at all,” he said, claiming that such reports were encouraged, if not created, by the Assad regime. “Assad always tried to convince the world that we have a sectarian war.”
Assad’s motive, he said, was “to pretend that he is the only one who can keep all these sects safe…It’s just a trick, a silly trick, from the regime to mislead the whole world, to mislead the international community and other Syrians.”
Lastly, he denied that the Free Syrian Army is being supplied with weapons: “Honestly, we heard a lot of weapons come to Syria, but it’s just words.” We haven’t received anything ‘til now.”
CNN’s Claire Calzonetti produced this piece for television.