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SYRIA: Army tanks roll into opposition stronghold of Dara and open fire [Video]

The crackle of heavy-caliber gunfire erupts in the dawn skies over the city Dara, the flash point of the Syrian revolution -- now apparently under siege by its own government.

Syria's leaders have ordered tanks to crush a popular uprising in the southern city of Dara, say residents of the city that started the five-week old peaceful popular revolt against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Syria-tankThe video above is said to show soldiers and and a gunner on a tank firing into the city. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, where the armies maintain a relatively neutral role, Syria's armed forces remain a bastion of loyalty to the minority Alawite community and Assad's clan.

According to activists quoted by Al Jazeera television, authorities have cut off phone service and disconnected electrical power to the farming hub, where the arrest and alleged torture of teenagers accused of writing graffiti sparked the weeks-long unrest now gripping Syria. 

Witnesses told Al Jazeera that army officers and gunmen loyal to Assad have engaged in what they described as a bloody and indiscriminate crackdown on demonstrators. Agence France-Presse has reported that a military force of 3,000 men has marched into Dara.

Activists have accused Assad of resorting to "Hama Rules," the violent strategy by which his father Hafez crushed a 1982 rebellion in the western city of Hama, where he used the full brunt of his security forces to kill thousands of people. 

But whether such a strategy will work in the YouTube era remains to be seen. In addition, the wall of fear seems to have broken down. In the video above, protesters in Dara are seen not only throwing a rock defiantly at an incoming tank, but also milling about near it, almost daring the soldiers to fire on them. 

In the absence of international media, activists have taken up the role of war journalists, recording  evidence of the army's offensive, as shown in the video above.

Syria last weekend experienced its bloodiest days since protests began almost a month ago. More than 300 demonstrators have been killed by the security forces amid calls for international action

The protest movement shows little sign of abating. Over the weekend, at least seven officials from Dara broke with the Damascus government and sided with the protesters. Prominent Syrian intellectuals and activists signed a communiqué Monday condemning attacks on peaceful civilian protesters.

-- Roula Hajjar and Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Videos: Syria's armed forces move into the city of Dara to crush an uprising. Credit: YouTube

Photo: A young man throws a rock at a tank moving into Dara. Credit: YouTube

Comments () | Archives (10)

War is sad and very alarming because innocent people die. People now don’t realize how precious life is. Preserve and proctect, these are our duty as people not to kill one another.

re: Stefano888:

During WWII the Muslims were allies of the National Socialists (Nazis) in a campaign to exterminate every last Jew on earth, which is what Sharia law demands of all good Muslims. Though the National Socialists (Nazis) were defeated after murdering 6M Jews, the Muslims continue the campaign of genocide against the Jews. The Muslims since WWII have made an alliance of convenience with all the sects of the Socialists, the remnants of the National Socialists (Nazis), the International Socialists (Commies), and remnants of the Fascists.

Jihadi-Leftists like Stefano888 is upset that Zionists and other Jews have the ability to fight back against him, his Fascist/Commie cohorts, and Islamo-Fascist allies. He'd like the 4000 year old Jewish homeland destroyed and its Jews murdered without Jewish resistance and Jewish land given to Muslim Arabs who in 1964 invented/fabricated the Palestinian people.

The Muslims have destroyed every culture/people/religion in the Middle East. Dozens of cultures which like the Jewish culture existed in the Middle East for millenniums before Islam invaded beheading men, taking and raping the women, and selling the children into slavery.

Today the only sovereign non-Muslim people are the Jews, living in their homeland which is 9 miles wide. But this is too much for vicious Jew-haters like Stefano888; he'd like all Jews exterminated. Any Jewish resistance to extermination is considered a crime against humanity by the totalitarian left which in the last century murdered over 100M humans.

It's not going to happen. This is not WWII and it's not Europe. If Stefano888 wants to murder Jewish men, women, and children, he'll find us waiting for him ready to fight for our land and our lives.

Oh, I see the paid Jewish settler, Jehudah, and other Zionists are pretending to be righteous humanitarians concerned about the human rights of Syrians. How about the Palestinian and Lebanese rights you have crushed so conveniently?

"....22 April, Obama condemned Syria..."

By issuing a statement, not with his voice.

Sadly, the man can't handle international events, let alone events that take place in the Muslim-Arab Middle East. This may be to simple lack of knowledge and experience that one doesn't achieve by being a community organizer in Chicago.

Or, worse, it may be due to the ideology and perception of the world in general and the region in particular acquired during a twenty years period of "sitting under" the Rev. J. Wright, and association with the likes of Min. L. Farakhan, and Profs. E. Said and R. Khalidi.

In any event, it is time for a change...!!

Re: Jehudah Ben-Israel comment

Obama is not silent. 22 April, Obama condemned Syria for "outrageous violence." Britain, France, Portugal and Germany have asked the UN Security Council for a resolution condemning Syria. (The UN will do nothing as usual!)

However the comment is correct in that Obama doesn't understand the Middle East and is inept. He makes promises he can't keep. Taking on Syria means taking on Iran and no Western country will go down that road.

...and Barack H. Obama is silent...!!

I recall he called upon the President of Egypt, Mubarak, to relinquish power at once - although one of the US's most important allies in the region, Egypt, didn't send its military forces to slaughter the young in Egypt.

And now, when the mass murder by the Syrian regime is going on for better than a month, the President of the US has nothing directly to say, nothing!!

Is it possible because Obama is simply inept and lacking understanding of the region and the forces that operate in it, and while still learning on the job refuses to make too many mistakes in addition to the many already made?

It is time for a change, friends...!!

So why aren't we and NATO bombing Syria into rubble? Funny how we pick and choose our "enemies." I guess Ghaddafi is SUCH a huge threat to national security and the region that it's easy to single Libya out, while giving a free pass to Syria, who has been supplying arms, money and terrorist training to Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran for decades. Guess those are just side issues that are easily overlooked while Syria turns its tanks on its own people. Or could it be that we don't want to be drawn into a conflict with a country that actually know how to use its weapons?

Why isn't he being investigated for crimes against humanity, like Gaddafi??? Why is he getting a free pass like this? How many people is he going to be allowed to murder before being called to account?

These killings are commonly held in Syria what is doing The U.N.? these killings must be stopped and the the Syrian government must apologize for these killings and leave their posts immediately otherwise the U.N. send their coalition forces to the Syria and take necessary action against that cruel government.

There is no goin back. Bashar will hang like saddam..its just a question of how long it will take and how many will die


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