Another bloody Friday shows that neither protesters nor the Assads are willing to back down. Meanwhile the international community toughens its stands against the violent crackdown.
Right Now, Deraa City is being shelled again
The anticipation is over and the message is clear: unarmed protesters are still bent on regime change despite the bloody crackdown orchestrated by the Assads since last Friday. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets all over the country. Deraa City fielded the higher death toll as usual, but Homs (30) comes close second as tanks and artillery were used in squashing protests, followed by Lattakia (5) and Damascus (1) shed their share of innocent blood as well. The latest reports suggest that over 62 people are confirmed dead. However, eyewitnesses insist that over 60 were killed in Deraa alone. There are also reports that neighborhoods around Al-Omary Mosque were shelled at dawn of April 30.
For the first time since the beginning of the protest movement, streets in Old Damascus reverberated to the chant of “the people want to topple the regime” belted by thousands of protesters in the Midan, Al-Qadam and Hariqa neighborhoods. Armored vehicles affiliated with the Republican Guard patrolled the Beltway all day long.
The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Deraa City continues to force thousands of people to flee across the border into Jordan, and many also made it to Lebanon.
In central Syria, the residents of the city of Hama managed to outnumber security officers and trapped them in their own headquarters, effectively taking charge of the city and carrying out the cleansing ritual that usually follows such take over: the tearing down of all Assad posters. Will this pave the way for a future bloody showdown with the authorities? Will we be witnessing Hama Part II soon?
Meanwhile, the international community has toughened its stance against the crackdown, with the U.S. issuing new sanctions that included Maher Al-Assad and Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate, and the E.U. planning to follow suit soon. The passage of the UN Human Rights Council resolution, introduced by the U.S. and calling for a probe mission into the recent developments in the country also adds to the growing pressures on the Assads, as their acquiescence would surely lead to unfavorable results, while their resistance would pave the way for referral of the whole matter to the International Criminal Court.
The noose is surely tightening, the corner into which the Assads painted themselves is surely shrinking, and now will be the right time for tough and smart diplomacy to take place with the aim of helping the Assads chart an exit strategy. This would be the right time as well for the international community to reach out to high-ranking officials within the Baath Party, the army, the intelligence services and the opposition and activist scene in order to encourage them to embark on a transitional process that can safeguard the stability of the country.
People can’t fall, regimes do.
List of Videos
Damscus / Al-Qadam: “the people want to topple the regime”
Damascus / Midan
Damascus / Harasta
Homs: “the people want to topple the regime, zenga zenga dar dar, let us be Bashar”
Deraa / Al-Hara: protesters sign a song mocking the entire Assad family tree
Idlib / Mouarrat Al-Nouman: protesters tried to march towards Aleppo, but security forces managed to contain them using gunfire as the second shows, no exact report of casualty is yet available.
Tal Kalakh: “We are not Salafis or MB, we are not brave men… we don’t love you, leave us and take your party with you… Bye, Bye Bashar, we want to see you in the Hague… the people want to topple the regime”
Qamishly / Kurdish protest: “Azadi Azadi (Freedom Freedom)” Banner says: “we don’t a president for life”
Deir Ezzor / Mayadeenb: this happened on April 28
Khirbet Al-Jaws: hundreds of the residents of this village flocked to Turkey where this video was made. It’s not clear what drove them out.