Syria’s Deadly Deadline


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The death toll from the Bashar Assad regime’s violent suppression of the Syrian uprising is now up to 800 and is likely to jump significantly during Friday’s protests. At least 10,000 have been detained, taking up so much space that soccer stadiums are being used as prisons. Now, the Interior Ministry has given a final warning to all who have protested: turn yourself in by May 15 or face serious consequences.

The regime claims that 1,083 protesters have given in to the threat. Those that admit to taking part in the demonstrations are given amnesty if they sign a pledge to never join activities that undermine the government. The regime is also warning that it will not tolerate any protests that it does not authorize in advance.

At the same time, Assad is trying to make it seem as if he is willing to change and respond to the demands of the Syrian population. Just recently he said he is giving orders to his security services not to fire upon protesters during the Friday protests, but he has yet to even admit that his forces have done so in the past. His regime claims that it is fighting Salafist terrorists and gangs and that these foes are the ones firing upon protesters, not government personnel. This declaration by the regime that it will not fire on civilians is a repetition of the lies it has been telling all along.

The regime has announced it will hire 10,000 university graduates every year, and it earlier lifted the state of emergency, a meaningless concession that changed nothing. It also says that a committee reviewing election laws will propose reforms within two weeks, including allowing political parties other than the ruling Baathists to participate. This is also a deceitful tactic, as the regime knows it can use fraud and intimidation to make the results whatever it wishes. It is also setting up a pro-regime Islamist party under the direction of a close friend of Assad as part of this some appeasement game.

At least 24 people have been killed in the past two days alone, including 13 in Hara where tanks shelled four homes. The military is carrying out sieges instead of direct assaults on troublesome areas of the country. The expulsion of journalists from these areas allows the regime to limit the flow of information, and the siege forces the population into submission without massacres that cause internal and international backlash. For example, the regime claims its military has withdrawn from Daraa, but residents consistently report that there is a humanitarian disaster in the city, with citizens unable to access food, water, electricity, medicine and communications.

The story is the same in Homs, Jassem, Banias and other cities. Tanks are now circling the town of Hama, the city that Assad’s father massacred in 1982 when the Muslim Brotherhood revolted. The regime is particularly concerned about the unrest in areas in and around Damascus. Its Allawite “shabeeha” militia has attacked civilians in the Midan area of the capital, and large raids have been carried out in the nearby town of Zabadani, with at least 80 arrested. Tanks also entered Madaya, 40 kilometers northwest of Damascus, and residents report their communications being cut off. In the Saqba suburb of Damascus, 286 people were arrested in house-by-house searches.

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  • crackerjack

    And what comes after Assad? With Assad, Israel will loose its stated reason for occupation of Golan. No one will accept Israel occupying a democratic Syrias territory.
    have you really thought this case to the end? Obviously not.

    • aspacia

      It is "lose" not "loose."

      Few accept Israel occupying the Golan, or for that matter defending herself. I am sick of liberals and the UN.

    • jacob

      CRACKERJACK :

      If Israeli "leaders" can be as stupid as to hand over to the PA in a shameful
      brownnosing gesture, the billions of dollars from the payroll taxes slapped
      on Israeli employers of Arab workers, you can trust them to return the Golan
      Heights to Syria and repeat the existing "statu quo" before the Six Days War,
      Syria's daily bombardment of the Galilee with artillery from the Golan Heights
      caves….

      Now, where did you get the idea that ASSAD's dictatorship (if ever ousted) will
      be replaced by a democracy ??

      For your information, MUSLIMS in general and ARABS in particular would not
      recognize Democracy even if it bites them in their derrieres and the only way is
      to do away with their "religion" and specially their clergy, the most reactionary
      the world has ever known or still to know but if in doubt, look at what you have presently in ex-secular TURKEY and what you'll have soon enough in EGYPT

      • tanstaafl

        True dat. Mohammed was a dictator and "government" in the Islamic world consists of one ruthless person tearing the reins of power from another ruthless person.

    • MixMChess

      Israel does not "occupy" the Golan, in fact it legally annexed it in 1981 under international law. As professor Julius Stone of Hastings College of the Law provided: “There is no rule of international law which requires a lawful military occupant, in this situation, to wait forever before [making] control and government of the territory permanent.”

      Recall, Israel originally legally acquired this territory in a war of self-defense against Syrian invasion in 1967. Do you really think any of your comments out? Obviously not.

    • cgerber

      Crackerjack you severly lack any understanding in history. I wonder if you are capable of coming up with an original independent thought or idea. When you go to the toilet is that independent and orginal? In your case I doubt it. Read before you speak!

  • BLJ

    Why can't a batch of tornadoes, hurricanes and the plague strike places like Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Pakistan etc. Do the civilized world a favor.

  • Alex

    The Golan is an inseparable part of Israel. Syria attacked, we won. That's it. Why would we even give back such a strategic asset after what we have created. Eg..Cities like Qazrin, Ski Vacation culture (Instead of Death culture) and just developed it into more than just a rocky plateau that overlooks Israel and is a prime spot for shooting rockets at civilians..The country is with the Goian!! AG, Tel Aviv Israel

    • umustbkidding

      Because we are weak and Democrats have had the microphone for decades through the media and Colleges. Long enough to rewrite history for most Americans.

  • umustbkidding

    Mean while all eyes are on Gaddafi. It makes you wonder why only Gaddafi? There are so many bad guys in this part of the world like Bashar Assad. All killing lots of people. Yet the spot light for main stream media is Gaddafi.

    I wonder who he pissed off.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The Muslims will slaughter themselves for reasons of their own and ones that
    they probably understand as revenge for old scores, as long as this goes on
    the number of idiots Israel will have to deal with dwindles. Given enough time
    the Arabs will wipe themselves out (good idea)…………

    Europe wants the oil and gas and it is just that simple, if the price of that
    is to blame Israel for what thay are doing, and Israel pays a heavy price,
    well they could care less. Intrigue is running wild and Israel is a good player
    and my money says that Israel will leave them all in the dust………..As for
    any European vacation or buying European products, nope, boycot, buy
    Israeli products and support Israel as much as is humanely possible.
    William