For those who don’t remember, Daraa was the site of an extensive multi-day siege that saw numerous casualties and cries for help. As the Syrian government shut down Internet and cell networks across the city, a few videos managed to escape via Jordanian cell and satellite networks.
After the attack on Daraa, the tanks rolled north towards Homs, Baniyas, Jassim and numerous other towns, including taking up an almost permanent presence in the suburbs of Damascus, keeping protesters from funneling into the capitol’s downtown districts. It was after these various incursions that led the EU and United States to levy sanctions against Syria as well as restricting the movement of 13 Syrian officials (although not President Bashar or his wife) within the EU.
This violence that has torn Syria apart has seen upwards of 900 casualties with over 10,000 arrested. It was reported that soccer stadiums in Damascus were being used to house prisoners. Yet, in this tiny country that has accumulated somewhere around 20,000 disappeared persons since the beginning of al Assad rule, another fate entirely seems to have been meted out to the protesters of Daraa.
Authorities have closed off the area of the mass graves and the head of one human rights group within the region verified the existence of the graves and even provided a shocking and graphic video of the scene. The video and the news spread like wildfire early this morning amongst the Syrian networks now set up on different social media networks. Outrage flew as reports of other mass graves in Jessim were also reportedly discovered, although not independently verified.
The D.N.N., which is a government-operated Syrian propaganda page on Facebook, has made no mention of the mass graves. They have, however, reported extensively on the supposed deaths of one or two security officials and a Washington Post article which discussed the U.S. funding of certain Syrian groups, in an attempt to discredit the numerous average citizens risking their life daily in hopes of gaining their freedom.
In the meantime, the government of Syria has gone back on a promise to let a U.N. fact-finding mission into the country. Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, is still asking President Bashar to let the outside world into the nation, but to no avail. Even Turkey, one of Syria’s closest allies, has turned their back on Bashar with the Prime Mister Erdogan calling for al Assad to listen to his people, and stop denying the democratic will of the country. With such isolation, if things keep going the way they have, it is unlikely that Syria will see any foreign press or assistance until the president is removed from his position and the government is completely overthrown.
Protesters are continuing in towns across the country. From small villages to the suburbs of Damascus, it seems that the recent swell of support is gaining a fair amount of momentum. However, there is a worsening refugee crisis occuring as terrified Syrians have begun streaming through the Jordanian and Lebanese boarders. And for the many Iraqi War refugees who fled to Syria after the U.S. invasion, this is the second time in only a few years that the are witnessing the horror of rampant violence and state sanctioned murders. Already amongst the poorer citizens of the Syrian community, after being forced to leave most of their possessions, it seems their diaspora continues.
However there is some hope, even if it is relatively small. World of mouth and various media outlets are reporting that some soldiers are defecting. While they do so at great risk to their own personal safety, as it is said they were being shot on the spot by security forces. In another video making the rounds around Syrian networks, Ba’ath party members (the only party allowed within Syria) are seen fleeing from angry demonstrators. The situation is heating up and it is likely that Syria will see hundreds of more casualties in the coming weeks. However, signs look good that the al Assad rule will meet its end, through the will of the people.