Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Return of the Body-Snatchers!

Mass arrests continue to take place throughout Syria, as protesters continue to defy the odds.

Syrian authorities are holding 2 foreign correspondents now with no word as to their fate: Al-Jazeerah correspondent Dorothy Parvaz (missing since April 29) and French Khaled Sid Mohand (Missing since April 9).

A mass arrest campaign continues to unfold throughout Syria, but especially in Deraa City where the numbers of the detainees are put at over 500 and seem to include many teenagers. The detainees are said to be gathered at the detention center near the old town. Some say that the center used to be a school until the army took over. Though reports of torture and summary executions are impossible to confirm at this stage, they do not seem unlikely knowing what we know about the Assad regime, and about this kind of situations where there is complete lack of accountability and scrutiny can develop. Add sectarian propaganda and the all too real sectarian sentiments to the mix and we have all the makings of a serious tragedy here.

But the world watches on, seemingly indifferent. Deraa continues to be besieged, denied basic services, and food and medical supplies.  

There were also arrests in the Damascene suburb of Zabadani that was earlier shelled with artillery fire as well, before security forces conducted house-to-house manhunt. The Damascene suburbs of Tal and Arbeen and the city of Deir Ezzor are also among the communities that witnesses major waves of arrests and detention. Kurdish activists in Qamishly have also been detained, as more and more Kurds continue to join the protests movement and demands for toppling the regime.

Meanwhile, protests took place in many cities and towns across Syria in which protesters called for lifting the siege of Deraa as well as regime fall.

Women staged another silent protest today in Arnous Square, one of the main Damascene Square, a few were reported beaten and arrested, including a female reporter that was recording the event. But the 11 women protesters who were arrested yesterday were released earlier today, and were told to present themselves for trial in 2 weeks, although the charges are unclear.

Finally, these videos that were made in Rastan on April 29 show people interacting in a very friendly manner with army officers in their tanks. The videos were uploaded as proof of claims that were made at that time that the army units surrounding the city have promised to protect the protesters, rather than crackdown. Is this another major case of defection? Still, Rastan did witness violence perpetrated by security forces as the third video shows.

 

Today’s Videos

 

Damascus / Arnous Square: a silent protest by women activists in support of lifting the siege of Deraa. The protest took place in Arnous Square in the central parts of Damascus. A few reported beaten and arrested.

Damascus / Saqba: a night-time protest calling for lifting the siege of Deraa.
http://youtu.be/6OzKaWKamU4
Damascus / Midan: a nighttime protest.

Damascus / Mouaddamiyyeh: even as their own city is itself under siege, residents of this Damascene suburb show their support of Deraa by writing her name with candles.

http://youtu.be/XtZbl7OFtSI

Banyas: protester write “Down with the Regime” using candles.

Homs / Bab Dreib
Homs / Bab Al-Sibaa
Homs / Mreijeh
Deraa / Namar: a women protest
Damascus / Harasta: During an interview with Dounia TV (owned by Rami Makhlouf, bashar,s cousin) protester declares his love for Bashar, but blames violence on security officers, and demands that Bashar stops the violence, or the day will come when protesters will trample the security forces under their feet. Unsurprisingly, the interview was never aired by Dounia TV.