Saturday, May 14, 2011

The People Still Want to Topple the Regime!

Under increasing international condemnation and scrutiny, the regime opts for a mere change in rhetoric, while the bloody security crackdown continues.

The most noteworthy aspect of today’s protest is the strong participation of cities and towns that are under siege and where crackdown over the last few weeks led to untold deaths and arrests.

Friday 13, 2011
6 protesters killed despite promises of restraint (3 in Homs, 2 in Damascus, and 1 in Deraa). These accounts don’t take reports of shelling by army troops of Deraa City, where people stage larges protests despite siege and heavy crackdown over the last 4 weeks.

Nonetheless, the ability of the regime to tone down the level of violence for this one day underscores the fact that they are the ones responsible for it. It’s important to remember that the last couple of days have been extremely bloody, especially in Homs and Deraa Governorate (Horan Province), with a total of 50 fatalities. Commitment to the bloody crackdown remains strong despite the orchestrated appearance of a softer stand.

Official attempts to distance the regime from Rami Makhlouf’s statements are meaningless as these statements simply confirmed the open secret of the family-based nature of Assad rule.

Calls for national dialogue while the Assads are still in power are equally meaningless: the whole point of this revolution is to end family rule, not to legitimize it.

The three points above highlight a new tactical approach by the regime for the dealing with this crisis at the diplomatic and political levels, without abandoning the security crackdown. Substantively nothing has changed, nothing will change. And the protests will go on.


There were several attempts at organizing protests throughout Damascus, but security forces seems to have gotten news of them, and were read with batons and tear gas managing to disperse most of them before they started. Nonetheless, it’s very clear that over the last 4 weeks, Damascus has become a center of protests, and the challenge facing protesters at this stage as they try to organize something big is not one of numbers but of tactics that need to be employed in order to avoid swift action by security forces.

Syria’s Kurds continue their support of the protest movement by taking to the streets in Qamishly, Amudeh and Dirbassiyyeh, calling for “new constitution” and for toppling the regime. In Derbassiyyeh, the protests took place despite an attempt by local authorities, including the local MP to assure protesters that Assad has promised him reforms.

But not only the Kurdish regions moved in the Northeastern parts of Syria, Deir Ezzor and environs stage large anti-regime demonstration, and so did Al-Hassakeh and environs.

To the East, Alboukamal along the border of Iraq staged its largest protest demonstration so far in the revolution.

As for Deraa City, despite army presence, heavy gunfire and continued shelling of the city, eyewitness report large anti-regime demonstrations, with people calling for toppling the regime. Perhaps that’s the biggest sign of all that the heavy crackdown is not working, and that contrary to assertions by Bouthaina Shaaban, the crisis is  far from over.


Homs / Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque

Homs / Bab Amr: Despite the bloody crackdown of the past few days, with over 20 fatalities and hundreds of arrests, the people came out in numbers chanting: “the people want to topple the regime”

Homs: protesters carry English banners asking for intervention by UN (UN: SOS) as they chant “the people want to topple the regime” and call for Bashar’s ouster.

Homs / Khaldiyyeh: “Leave us alone and take your party with you” “It’s written on our shoes: Bashar Al-Assad is the biggest thief of all” “the people want to topple the regime”

Homs / Khaldiyyeh: Banner:those who believe in reforms, who do we trust? What are the guarantees?” “Syrian media is run by the mukhabarat, we are not idiots” protesters urge bystanders to join

Homs / Bab Al-Sibaa: “Maher (Al-Assad), you are an agent of Israel

Homs / Bab Al-Sibaa: security shoot protesters as they attempt to cross a main street. But protesters keep chanting “the people want to topple the regime”

Homs / Bab Al-Sibaa: security forces gather up and begin attacking and firing on protesters, who chant: “the army and the people are one hand” and “He who kills his own people is a traitor”

Homs: “leave, leave” “the people want to topple the regime”

Homs / Hola: “Erdogan, please tell him (Assad) your people don’t like you” Hola (Hawleh) was under siege for weeks and several its residents have been killed.

Homs / Talbisseh: “the people want to topple the regime.” Talbisseh was under military siege for weeks, was invaded, shelled, and more than 25 of its residents had been killed. Still, the protests go on.

Homs / Talbisseh: defiant protesters demand army withdrawal of army troops from their city, the nearby city of Rastan, among others, as well as return of basic services. Protesters still chanted “the people and the army are one hand”

Homs / Talbisseh: Banner “Dialogue begins with the word: leave”

Homs / Rastan: thousands take to the streets in this city that is still under military siege, and where military incursions and security operations in previous weeks left dozens dead and led to the hundreds of arrests.
Speaker says: “those negotiating with the regime doing so in their name, and do not represent the revolution”
“Long live Syria, and down with Bashar Al-Assad”

Homs / Qassir

Homs / Qarabees: “the people and the army are one hand”

Deraa / Al-Harra: a women’s demonstration “leave, leave Bashar.” 15 residents were killed in Al-Harra yesterday by army troops and snipers.

Deraa / Abtaa: “the people want a new president”

Deraa / Sheikh Miskeen
Deraa / Mseifra: unlike what false witnesses are claiming on Syrian TV, we have no weapons, or gangs.

Damascus / Saqba: “the people want to topple the regime.” Fatalities and dozens of arrest had taken place in the previous weeks. Once again, this shows the crackdown is not working.

Damascus / Kisweh: despite siege, and previous mass arrests, thousands turned out chanting “the people want to topple the regime”

Damascus / Daryaya: protesters call for lifting the siege imposed on different communities

Damascus / Daraya: hundreds of security officers pour into the streets of Deraa wielding batons to break up the protest

Damascus / Zahira: “the people want to topple the regime”

Damascus / Qaboun: protesters under fire as they chant “the people want to topple the regime”

Damascus / Al-Zahira: small protest broken up by tear gas.

Damascus / Midan: protesters were locked inside al-Hassan Mosque, and were only allowed to leave one a time.

Damascus / Barzeh: this suburb has been holding small daily protests for weeks now, but people always come up in numbers on Fridays.

Damascus / Midan

Damascus / Dmeir

Damascus / Zabadani: the city is currently under siege and still managed to get this protest organized.
Damascus / Madaya: “the people want to topple the regime.” The demonstration was broken shortly afterwards by the army laying siege to the city, and more arrests took place. Protesters were carrying banner saying “the people and the army are one”

Qamishly: a Kurdish demonstration calling for lifting the siege on Deraa, attacking Maher Al-Assad and declaring “the Syrian people are united”

Qamsihly: “the people want a new constitution”

Qamishly: “The people want to topple the regime”

Derbassiyeh: a local MP fails to convince protesters to cancel their demonstration.

Amudeh “Azadi (freedom)”


Kobani: “the Syrian people are one”

Al-Hassakeh / Serekaniye (Ras Al-Ayn): another Kurdish community joints the protest movement


Idlib / Mouarrat Al-Nouman: thousands chant “the people want to topple the regime” and “Syrian media lie”

Idlib / Kafar Nabul: “the people want to topple the regime”

Idlib / Jisr Ashoughour: gunfire used to disperse protesters
Idlib / Jabal Al-Zawiyeh: “we want to remove you, Bashar”

Alboukamal: thousands took part in what is the largest demonstration yet in this border town with Iraq.

Alboukamal: “the people want to topple the regime”

Deir Ezzor / Al-Teebah: thousands of people chant “the people want to topple the regime” and “leave, leave”

Deir Ezzor / Mayadeen

Al-Hassakeh / Ras Al-Ayn

Al-Raqqah / Tabaqah


Hama: big poster of Assad removed

Hama / the Citadel: protesters chant and carry banners saying “the people want to topple the regime” another banner also calls on the “brave Syrian army to lift the siege on Syria”

Hama / Qitaz: “the people want to topple the regime”

Hama: “the want to topple the regime”

Hama / Salamiyyeh: “God, Freedom, Syria”
Hama / Al-Hadir
Hama / Kafar Naboudeh: “every day we have a martyr”
Hama / Teebat Al-Imam: “God, Freedom, Syria”

Lattakia: small protest despite the heavy siege and security presence.

Jableh: army troops and barricades prevented protests

Aleppo / Hamadniyyeh: small protest

Aleppo / ManbijB: “God, Freedom, Syria”