Following are excerpts from an interview with Brig.-Gen. Asaad Al-Zoabi, defector from the Syrian Airforce, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network on September 3, 2012.
Interviewer: Are Syrian civilians being bombed with internationally-banned weapons?
Asaad Al-Zoabi: Thank you. That is an important question. Everything that is being used against the Syrian people is prohibited by law. In addition, many of the weapons used by the planes are being used for the first time.
I'm referring in particular to the latest weapon used by helicopters, and which the people refer to as "black barrels." These are internationally-banned vacuum bombs that were recently imported.
Interviewer: Imported from where?
Asaad Al-Zoabi: From Iran.
One must distinguish between two types of pilots. I have encountered both types of pilot. Some pilots have a real desire to kill. They have an overwhelming desire to kill, which they consider to be a mark of honor. I have seen this with my own two eyes...
Interviewer: Where does this desire come from? Does it stem from brainwashing?
Asaad Al-Zoabi: It stems from their upbringing and their education by the regime. They are brought up to hate the other, and to consider others to be backward people, not worthy of living. The others must not be allowed to even say the truth. What have the people of Syria done, other than say that they didn't want the regime?
On the other hand, some pilots are helpless.