News / Middle East

Syrian Protests Ripple Across Nation Despite Crackdown

Syrian protesters hold a Syrian flag during a demonstration against President Bashar Al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman. The words on the flag read: "God, Syria, just Freedom," July 21, 2011
Syrian protesters hold a Syrian flag during a demonstration against President Bashar Al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman. The words on the flag read: "God, Syria, just Freedom," July 21, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Al Pessin

Tens of thousands of Syrians continued to protest against their government Friday, in spite of a growing crackdown and the deaths of dozens of people during the past week.  Reports from Syria say security forces killed at least six more people Friday, after five were killed in clashes overnight.

Amateur video distributed by the Associated Press appears to show Syrian protesters fleeing tear gas fired by security forces Friday after midday prayers.

The protesters chant, "The people want the fall of the regime," in the footage reportedly recorded in a mainly Kurdish town on the Turkish border.

VOA's Susan Yackee speaks with a Syrian activist, who prefers to remain anonymous and monitors the situation from here in the U.S:

The AP could not confirm the authenticity of the video, but said it came from a reliable source.

That was just one of many protests Friday in various parts of the country reported by activists and Human Rights groups. Peter Bouckaert is the Emergencies Director for Human Rights Watch in Geneva.

"There was a very extensive deployment of security forces across the country, especially in Aleppo and in the capital, Damascus," said Bouckaert.  "But despite this heavy deployment, protesters have once again gone out all over the country in very large numbers."

Bouckaert says protests were particularly large this week because of anger over dozens of deaths caused by security forces in recent days in the town of Homs. He says the first large-scale night protests were held late Thursday and into Friday morning.

In addition, he reports that hundreds of thousands rallied in the central city of Hama, where security forces have reportedly withdrawn.

"It really does appear that the capacity of the Syrian state to continue this very violent crackdown is stretched to the limit," added Bouckaert.  "And it's uncertain whether they will be able to continue to use this extreme violence against what is still a mostly non-violent protest movement. The regime is running out of options and running out of time."

The Human Rights Watch official says his group and Syrian activists have documented the defection of dozens of soldiers, who he says are not willing to fire on protesters.

But at London's Royal Institute of International Affairs, Syria watcher Nadim Shehadi believes President Bashar al-Assad will continue his crackdown as long as he receives what Shehadi believes are mixed signals from the West.

Shehadi says President Assad believes the now-deposed leaders of Egypt and Tunisia gave in to protesters too quickly during the start of the so-called Arab Spring protests, and he does not want to make the same mistake.

Still, Shehadi says with the right combination of domestic and international pressure, the more than 40-year-long reign of Assad and his father could be brought to an end.

"The regime will crumble much faster than we think," Shehadi  said.  "The structure of it is much weaker than we think.  And the aftermath of the crumbling of the regime is a mystery to everybody."

Analysts say direct Western intervention in Syria is not likely, and after months of protests and crackdowns, they say neither side in the Syrian conflict can see a way out through compromise. They say that probably means more weeks, maybe months, of violence.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid