Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Arrests, protests and military action!

Aleppo joined the protest movement with some pizazz today, as the official intimidation campaign continues to unfold.

Syrian authorities released Algerian correspondent Khaled Sid Mohand (Missing since April 9) earlier today, but the fate of Al-Jazeerah correspondent Dorothy Parvaz (missing since April 29) remains unknown.  

Aleppo witnessed major demonstration today led by university students. Over 2,000 students are said to have taken part in what’s so far the largest protests witnessed by Syria’s northern capital. Over 200 students, including 5 female students, have been detained by security forces who broke the demonstration using tear gas.

Aleppo demonstration: 2000 protesters demonstrated chanting “Lift the siege.” With this protests, Aleppo officially joins the Revolution. Moving Aleppo has always been more a security and logistics challenge than an indication of lack of support and sympathy on part of the people of Aleppo. Indeed, the desire for freedom runs deep in Aleppo as well, and the coming days will show just how deep.

Reports from the city of Rastan speak of clashes between army units laying siege to the city and security forces, but the only thing that can be confirmed at this stage is addition of more tanks to the city’s periphery as a video below shows. Yesterday, another video showed people standing on top of any army tanks and interacting in a friendly manner with the soldiers. Eyewitness reports said yesterday that the army units had promised to protect them from security officers.

Rastan: tanks on their way to Rastan.

People celebrating on top of an army tank

Encouraged by statements made yesterday by Turkey’s PM, Rajab Tayib Erdogan, in which he said that his government will not stand idly by and allow another Hama Massacre to take place, the people of Hama organized a huge demonstration today calling for lifting the siege on Deraa. The demonstrations continue well into the night when security forces used tear gas and water canons, and then life ammunition to disperse protesters who were shouting “the people want to topple the regime.”

Hama: the morning demonstration
Hama: the night-time protest and security crackdown

Meanwhile, in Deraa, units affiliated with the 4th Division are now in complete control of the besieged city and the arrest, intimidation and propaganda campaign remains in full swing.

Deraa City: soldiers conducting arrests
Deraa / Ankhel
Deraa / Saida (11 min): army convey enters town and starts firing at unspecified targets. But after they leave, people come out of their homes chanting “the people want to topple the regime (9:30 min).

Propaganda: Syrian TV showed this image of a tunnel that it claimed ran under Al-Omary Mosque  and was used for smuggling weapons, this video shows that the tunnel was actually in Mexico and was used fopr drug smuggling.

Syria’s Kurdish youth activists remain committed to the revolution and has been organizing daily protests in Qamishly, Amoudeh and now Derik. Protesters call for lifting the siege, and express their commitment to freedom and national unity.

Qamishly: “we sacrifice our blood and soul for you Deraa” “We want freedom and national unity”
“Syrian media full of lies”
Derik: a mostly Kurdish town joins the protest movement.

Despite the siege imposed on Banyas and its effect on local economy, the population remains defiant, and people continue to hold daily rallies in support of Deraa, Jableh and other Syrian cities, towns and communities taking part in the protest movement.  

Banyas: stores are closed because people have no more supplies.
Banyas / May 3: holding bread in protest of Deraa siege, and dwindling food supplies
Banyas: “Bashar don’t challenge us, you’re not up to Banyas”
Banyas / May 2
Jableh: sniper

The Damascene suburb of Zabadani witnessed a major arrest campaign yesterday, with reports putting the total at 500 men of all ages. Today, the women of the city took to the streets, despite heavy security presence and demanded release of their men.

Damascus / Zabadani: women protests “We want our prisoners”

Homs too witnessed her share of demonstrations in support of Deraa, especially in the neighborhood of Bab Al-Sibaa.

Homs / Bab Al-Sibaa


Other Videos


Damascus / Barzeh

Idlib / Kafroumah

Homs / Clocktower Square: video highlights the strong security presence in the famous square meant to prevent another sit-in from taking place.