Coming under sanctions and increasing pressure from President Obama to lead the transition or “get out of the way,” how will Bashar Al-Assad react? We should find out in few hours.
Thursday 19, 2011
President Obama tells Assad to lead or leave, that is, lead transition into democracy, or lose legitimacy and be forced out.
Syrian authorities continue to arrest and expel students from the University of Aleppo for taking part in protests over the last four days. More than a 1,000 students have reportedly been detained and 500 expelled.
Army units continue their efforts to wrest back control over the rebellious communities in the Deraa Governorate, with new military operations launched in Sanamein, Al-Haraak and Kafar Shams.
After 4 days of shelling, 35 dead, hundreds detained, and hundreds more forced into going to Lebanon as refugees, army tanks pulled out of Tal Kalakh but continue to maintain their siege of the city.
Security forces laid siege to and cut off communications lines of major suburbs and neighborhoods in Homs, Idlib, Deir Ezzor as well as several Damascene communities, including Darayyah, Mouaddamiyyah, Saqba and Douma.
Protesters dubbed next Friday as Azadi Friday, Azadi being the Kurdish word for Freedom. The decision to use this appellation reflects the growing coordination between Arab and Kurdish protesters and denotes the failure of Assads’ policies aimed at neutralizing the Kurds.
"Obama was really talking about a new foreign policy philosophy," said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian democracy activist in Washington. "From an old pragmatism based on security to a new pragmatism based on managing the transition to democracy and erring on the side of the people."
Kobani / May 19: a Kurdish protest
Lattakia / May 19: security officers making arrests
Damascus / Qaboun / May 19:anti-regime vigil
Damascus / Mouaddamiyyah / May 19:local women take to the streets to demand release of their men and kids: “we won’t go back home unless we can take our kids with us”
Kanaker / May 17: as protesters attempt to court the army by chanting “the people and the army are one” they get fired at.
Hama / Hilfaya / May 19:anti-regime vigil. “We want to topple the regime” “
Homs / Rastan / May 19: anti-regime vigil on motorcycles
Deraa / Basr Al-Hareer / May 19:as nearby communities get attacked and ransacked by army troops and tanks, the people of the rebellious province of Hauran (Deraa) keep finding new places and squares where they can gather and call for toppling the regime, just as thousands of them are doing here.
Deraa / Saida / May 19:a funeral for a dead protester
Deraa City / May 19:destroyed and looted homes
Deraa City / May 18: Bilal Mosque transformed into an army barrack
Deraa / May 19: army troops and security officers in civvies stealing motorcycles.
Deraa City / May 18:snipers still spread out all over the city.
Deraa City / May 18: tanks are still visible in the streets, despite reports of army pull outs. Eyewitnesses say tanks pull out for the benefit of Syrian TV, then return a few hours later to take up positions inside the city.