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he reports that hundreds of thousands rallied in the central city of Hama, where security forces have reportedly withdrawn.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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid