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SYRIA: Nation braces as anti-regime protests erupt and bloodshed continues

Syria plunged deeper into chaos and bloodshed Friday as adamant pro-democracy protesters took to the streets across the country in cities and towns including Homs, Lattakia, Amouda, Izram, Dara, Der Ezzor and Qamishli in mass protests that mark what protestors have called “Friday of Tribes.”

The theme of Friday’s protests means, “The clan is with every rebel,” activists explained. According to reports of eyewitnesses and activists, as well as video footage, harsh security measures have been taken to put a lid on the voice of dissent emanating from the streets Friday.

According to an activist in Homs, throngs of peaceful protesters were met with live ammunition by a security force that has remained by and large loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Tanks began to take position Wednesday night, preparing to stage mass arrests and assaults on thousands of demonstrators Friday, he said.

Photos: Syrians flee to Turkey to escape violence

“It is unacceptable. I ask the Arab army of Syria to take a good look at what’s going on. They want to kill off their own people? Our army is supposed to protect us. Even animals have never been treated this brutally,” he said.

Security forces appear to be growing more brazen. In the video above, Syrian soldiers kick and stomp a blindfolded victim who is crying for help and wailing in pain in Bab Amr in the province of Homs a day earlier. Afterward the soldiers take a group picture standing on the backs of their victims.

“This is for asking for freedom,” said the soldier as he beat the victim. “You want to topple the regime? Here the regime is down. What else do you want? Tell me what freedom means to you?” asked the soldier.

Pan-Arab Qatari news station Al-Jazeera reported the death of two protesters in the southern town of Bousra al Harir, citing Reuters. As many as eight others were injured by live ammunition in the opposition stronghold of Dara, the scene of some of the most widely attended demonstrations on Friday.

The death toll is expected to rise as protests continue throughout the day.

 

In the video above, hundreds of pro-democracy protesters march through the streets of the northern town of Amouda, carrying banners and large Syrian flags.

“When the day comes and the people demand freedom, then their fate is to be free,” reads one banner, quoting a well-known Arab proverb that has become the motto of an uprising which has sent shockwaves through the region.

 

In another video, residents of the Damascus suburb of Kiswa huddle under fluttering Syrian flags demanding the end of the four-decade rule of the Assad family.

“We are not afraid anymore. This is our right. We have the right to demand democracy. If we can’t live a life where we can ask for basic human rights then what good is this life?” said an activist in Der Ezzor, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Despite the lack of restraint Syrian security forces have demonstrated while dealing with protestors -- captured in a series of recent incriminating videos -- these rounds of Friday protests have swept across Syria.

-- Roula Hajjar in Beirut

Videos: Syrian soldiers assault civilian in Bab Amr; protesters take to the street in Amouda to participate in mass demonstrations Friday; anti-regime demonstrators march through the town of Kiswa. Credit: YouTube.

Comments () | Archives (17)

A few years ago, nobody was predicting that members of the 'Arab Street' would risk their lives for western-style freedoms. It seems that 'everyone' assumed that they were either fanatical religious extremists or complacent and apolitical.

How wrong 'everyone' was!

What it has taken is the bravery of a few and the unmasking of the viciousness of the various regimes to crack the carapace of fear that covers people's true feelings. Ubiquitous social media has made the difference: the Middle East is experiencing the power of cellphone video!

It is ironic that the Syrian regime is making King George's British look like amateurs (with all due respect to Mel Gibson's take on them). Should anyone doubt that Syrians need extraordinary bravery to oppose their regime in the manner that they are?

And yet these ordinary people are not asking for more than basic freedoms! Effectively, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Those demands are what were brutally crushed, and have turned protest into revolt.

Another irony here is that this has nothing to do with Israel, or 'American/Western Imperialism'. The regime's backers are clearly anxious for any excuse to drag their favorite opponents into this, but we have seen how Syrians haven't been fooled.

Nor should Americans be fooled into thinking we have unlimited powers. Russia and China stand in the way of UN actions against this regime, as does the shameful silence of the Arab League. Nevertheless, all true Americans should feel kinship with these brave Syrians and not avert our eyes.

NATO, which essentially has been America, France, and Britain, have sent tons of bombs falling down on Ghaddafi but when Assad of Syria murders thousands of his citizens, tortures and imprisons tens of thousands of his own people including little children the world's only superpower, America, has its President and Secretary of State uttering empty platitudes every week as more and more innocent men, women and children are butchered by Assad's modern day Gestapo.

In a world of darkness America was always supposed to be a beacon of hope and freedom but what we are showing the Syrian people (and the entire world) who are struggling for the breath of freedom is that if you don't have any oil or natural resources the West needs you are on your own. America's refusal to do anything during this horrible time in Syria is a stain that will haunt history and America forever.

Why are we letting this slide? It's kind of like what Barack Obama did with the bank bailout, picked winners and loosers. It's kind of like what we do in our society, pick winners....... Upper class white men and loosers ......lower class anybody who is brown. Give em a felony and make sure they can't vote or ever get a job. What a crock.

JB
Westside of Cincinnati Ohio

If this article had been about Israelis shooting some Palestinians who tried to crash their border there would be 200 comments here, screaming and gnashing their teeth about the terrible "Zionazis" and the poor, poor Arabs. But when the Syrian police and military kill hundreds of civilians all the self-styled "humanitarians" are quiet as mice. Why is this? Why this thunderous silence when every single act of Israel in its own defense is raked over the coals? Anti-semitism, that's why - hatred of Jews, pure and simple. I know the usual suspects try to weasel out of accusations of anti-semitism by claiming they don't hate Jews, only Israel, but their real agenda shines through when Arab governments commit atrocities, with the victims in the hundreds and thousands, without so much as a word from the "humanitarians." Perhaps they should redirect the next "aid" shipment intended for Gaza to the Syrian people - they seem to need it more.

Where's the world outrage over the ever-increasing slaughter by the Syrian regime. Of course, it isn't surprising that Russia and China oppose any UN condemnation, as they both have their long history of buchery and oppression, but what about everyone else. Where's the outrage?...and more importantly, How much long are we going to put up with this? Does this have to become like the Serb butchers and rapists in Bosnia and Kosovo before the world takes stern, miltary action? The victims waited 2 years then while some 250,000 or so died. Will that repeat itself?

The Syrian regime is behaving like the sort of evil tyrants we've seen in Cambodia and Germany and Serbia. So why is the West's condemnation so lukewarm? All civilized nations need to grow a backbone and call this what it is: evil. Assad must go, and immediately. Everyone who supports him by holding a gun or giving orders should be put on notice that they will stand for war crimes eventually.

Some news sources like Al Jazeera have reported that some regular army troops have refused to shoot protesters. It may not be clear to many readers that the elite security force loyal to Assad is different than the regular army.

Won't somebody finally do something for these poor people and blame Israel? Oh, the humanity!

Democracy isn't so great. The rich corrupt the system, and then you have the top-heavy economy of America.

And, in Mexico, they run scared and sneak into the US. Shows what a little spine can do. Stand up and fix your respective countries and quit invading ours

Assad is a mini-Hitler

It is a sad day for democarcy and a sad day for all the Arab apologists who would as soon blame Israel as take a hard look at Assad's Syrian regime's response to protest.

The world only cares when Syrian's die in Israel.

And folks thought Libya was bad. Just wait until Assad unleashes his military on the unarmed Syrian masses. The question is, how will the Assad regime spin this to blame the "Zionists"?

looking good,everyone must let of steam,now and again.

Where are the NATO jet fighters?

Hello.

These rebela are muslim brotherhood after Syria thy will crawl to israel and kill our people . GOD CHOSEN PEOPLE


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