Violence Continues in Syria

The siege of Daraa, in the south of Syria, is now over. It lasted just over ten days. In that time communications were shut off, snipers were stationed on the roofs of mosques and very few were spared the mercy of the Syrian Army. Unlike other armed forces in the region, who refused to shoot at their own people, the Syrian Army has yet to display any level of basic humanity. And now that Daraa is over, they’ve moved on to a new cities, Baniyas, Homs, and the suburbs of Damascus. 

The coastal town of Baniyas has been the site of a number of protests since the revolutionary spirit has swept through Syria. Friday is the holy day in Islam and usually sees the largest numbers of protesters. However, this week the people of Baniyas and certain suburbs of Damascus have tanks and troops readied into position to defend the State just in case someone feels like waving a banner.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, has stated that Syria will likely face consequences for the crackdown. However al Bashar remains as indignant as he ever was. Most certainly he knows that if things get too hot for him in Syria, the vast wealth he’s embezzled from his own people, furnishing lush accommodations for him and his extended family around the world, will hold him over should he have to flee.

For the people, it seems that ousting Bashar might be the only option left. Reports have it that 8,000 people are missing now. In Syria, it was fairly normal, even before the revolution, for outspoken activists to be disappeared without warning. Inquiries by family were usually stoically rebuffed by prison guards or officials within the system. So it’s not that there’s a new system in place, it’s just been ratcheted up to an unbelievable level. Most academics and families of activists are staying in, scared to even go to school or down to the shops for food.

The local state TV station SANA is reporting that the army is undergoing maneuvers to chase out the “terrorists amongst us.” This is the usual trope of the regime and nothing new. There are very few Syrians left– who don’t work for the government– who believe anything that is fed to them by the State-owned television. Most relying on Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera and the satellite network to give them access to the real story and the international response.

Of course reporting by Al Jazeera has hit a stumbling block as Dorothy Parvaz, the Al Jazeera correspondent for Syria, was arrested upon arrival in the capitol. The news station is calling for her release. Parvaz, a seasoned reporter of Canadian, American and Iranian citizenship was confirmed in custody by the Syrian government but they have not allowed her to have any contact with the outside world. Al Jazeera has commented that they do believe her safety is at risk.

Bashar has proved he certainly couldn’t care less about public international opinion of him. At first he went through the motions, offering to lift restrictions while clearly enforcing those same restrictions at every turn. However as calls have turned from demands for freedom to demand he leave the country, it seems his fear and insecurity, a long and well known hallmark of the president, have taken over and he has descended his country into bloody chaos. As violence is expected to escalate and more arrests are in the cards, the world can only watch and wait, and hope that sooner, rather than later, Syria will break free from Bashar’s brutal repression, once and for all.

By Olivia Marudan

Cad. Boondoggler. Swindler. Ass. Plagiarist. Hutcher. A movable feast in the subtle culinary art of shit talking.

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