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
TEXT SIZE - +
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he reports that hundreds of thousands rallied in the central city of Hama, where security forces have reportedly withdrawn.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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid