Sunday, April 3, 2011

After the Storm!

Arrests and Intimidation as Deraa and Banyas move to their own beat.

If hundreds of arrests in Deraa City, Douma and Homs don’t count as noise, even though they were accompanied by barrages of gunfire and clashed with local inhabitants in Al-Bayadeh Neighborhood and surrounding areas in Homs, don’t count as noise, than things were relatively quiet in Syria today. But it’s another quiet before another storm hits. Tomorrow is set to be a day of morning in Douma as inhabitants bury the dead. As these words are written, already reports of gunfire in that Damascene suburb whose inhabitants are always proud of their critical role in opposing the French occupation, have trickled, although no further details are provided.

Homs: security raided the neighborhoods of Al-Bayadeh, Al-Khaldiyyeh, Dier Baalbah and Hayy Al-Sabeel, places that witnessed bloody attacks by security forces on the previous night. They broke into houses and took men away and loaded them in busses. Inhabitants burnt tires in the streets and threw stones at the police, eventually forcing them to retreat, but not before they took away dozens of protesters. The inhabitants of these neighborhoods are linked to Bedouins tribes, and they are unlikely to back down now. Unrest was also reported in nearby villages and towns. Homs, or major segments of it, is set to follow the lead of the Deraa Governorate in its open defiance of the Assad regime.

For its part, Syrian press continues to play an incendiary role against the protesters. Diplomatic sources provided the following translation of an editorial published in an official newspaper today. Next thing, Syrian officials will be asking their militias to “cut down the tall trees,” just as happened in Rwanda.  

In a 400-word article in Al-Thawrah, Ali Nasrallah says: "If our people, thanks to our national consciousness, were able to reveal the truth that what happened during the past few days was more than just slogans raised here and there and that were exploited to create chaos and sedition projects, then the coming step must not be confined to thwarting and foiling these projects. Rather, we must kill these projects before they are born and learn from the experience what makes us all together achieve success in deterring the alternatives projects that will be proposed.

Meanwhile, inhabitants of Banyas City on the coast, a mixed city of Sunnis and Alawites, continue to hold their festival of liberation through the city’s main streets, with little interference from authorities, belying rumors of sectarianism.  

Many of the videos below cover events that took place on April 1st. The videos from Banyas are from today, and leave no room for doubt that this is an anti-Assad movement that unites people from across the sectarian divide: Sunnis and Alawites. 

Deraa Videos

Deraa City: Victims of the Sniper Attacks that took place on April 1st  
Deraa City: Before sniper attacks on April 1st. Chants: “We demanded reforms, they gave us the gun. There are no gangs in Horan nor treason nor conspiracies. We listened to the speeches, there were not on par with demands. Enough promises, assertions and stalling for time. Our demands and principles call for lifting of the state of emergency. Enough cruelty and barbarism by the security apparatuses…”
Deraa: people from all over province marching towards Deraa City when they heard it was under attack by security.

Homs Videos

Homs – town of Talbisseh: Currently under siege. Videos from April 1st
Talbisseh: tearing down Bashar’s poster at the Town’s entrance
Homs – Bayyadah: from this morning clashes
Homs: playing cat-and-mouse with security in civvies
Homs: scene from yesterday’s clashes

Douma Videos

Douma: Taking down Bashar’s Posters on April 1st.
Douma: Moving wounded to hospital
Douma: Dispersing the sit-in on night of April 1st.
Douma: The People Want To topple the Regime

Banyas Videos

Banyas: “We, Sunnis and Alawis, want to build a new era with no sectarianism”
Big Banner: “People Want to Topple the Regime”
Posters of Bashar Al-Assad burnt by protesters
“People Want to Topple the Regime”
“Down with Bashar”

Miscellaneous Videos

Deir Ezzor: April 1st
Damascus – Barzeh: April 1st. Chant: “Peacefully, Peacefully.”
Jableh: another mixed coastal town, with Sunnis and Alawites
Jableh Chant: “People Want Freedom and Nothing Less”
Damascus – Rifai Mosque: “God Is One. The Syrian People Are One”
Lattakia: “The Parliament Is A Joke”