As the monitors monitor and opposition groups oppose, even themselves, in Syria, the Assads and their loyalists keep killing and the protesters keep protesting, and this remains the real story.
Tuesday 3, 2012
Today’s death toll: 23. The Breakdown: 11 in Hama City, 1 in Qamhaneh (Hama Province), 4 in Homs City, 3 in Idlib Province, 2 in Rural Damascus, and 1 in Deraa/Hauran Province.
18 loyalists have reportedly been killed in overnight clashes between loyalists and defectors on the highway connecting the towns of Jassem and Ankhel in the Deraa/Hauran Province. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Riyad Al-Ass’aad gave Arab League monitors days to bring the violence against civilians and protesters under control, else he promised to unleash major new resistance operations against loyalists.
The Executive Office of the Syrian National Council officially voted to reject the proposed unity agreement with the National Coordinative Body for Democratic Change, following the popular backlash against it by protesters.
A previously unknown group calling itself “The Movement to Counter the Shia Expansion in Syria” took responsibility for the kidnapping of 5 Iranian engineers in Homs City back in December 21, saying that the move comes a warning to both Iran and Hezbollah to refrain from supporting the Assad regime. The announcement was made through a fax sent to Agence France Press offices in Nicosia. There is no independent confirmation of the existence of the group, the kidnapping itself has only been reported in Iranian press. However, claims that the engineers will be tortured to admit that they are members of the IRCG seem meant as preemptive move. Protesters have always have always asserted that the Iranian advisers were working closely with loyalist Assad militias in orchestrating the crackdown.
Monday’s death toll was raised to 24.
The General Strike continues to be observed by protest communities throughout the country.
Ammar Abdulhamid, a U.S.-based Syrian dissident who has been closely following events in his homeland through a vast network of sources, puts the figure much higher at 315.