Protests continue in the face of increasing intimidation. Deraa, Banyas and Homs garner attention, but all hopes hinge on moving Aleppo and Damascus.
Today, Assad’s militias-cum-mercenaries known as the Shabbiha drove around the streets of Lattakia and Jable sticking their Kalashnikovs out of car windows and shouting sectarian pro-Assad slogans. Meanwhile, security forces conducted large-scale raids of key neighborhoods, i.e. ones that played key-role in the protest movements, especially Al-Sleibeh, culminating in over 200 arrests. In Jableh, thousands of residents held new nightly vigil and chanted anti-Shabbiha slogans.
Meanwhile, Homs continues to be in a defiant mood, despite the severity of the security-led crackdown over the last few days. A large demonstration with over 3,000 participants reportedly took place outside the Nouri Mosque following the Afternoon prayer. No security intervention was reported. Most shops remains closed in mourning. The nearby town of Talbisseh continues to be under siege, but the people managed to protect their neighborhoods from armyand security forces, by burning tires and blocking main entrance into town, as it continues to mourn her dead.
Daraa cities and towns held many protests and vigils in support of Homs and Banyas. So, did the Damascene suburb of Darayyah. It is amazing how peaceful and infiltrators-free protests can be when security forces and Assad militias are not around.
The security chief of the Banyas, whom many blame for the shameful episode in Baydah was reportedly fired from his post, but local residents continue their campaign to paint over all sayings by Assad plastered on city walls.
But and because much rides on its decision to take part in the protests or keep its quiet, today’s Kudos goes to Aleppo where students at the University of Aleppo held a brief on-campus protest before they were dispersed by security officers chanting pro-Assad slogans. Many arrests followed.