Thursday, April 14, 2011

Violence Continues In Syria

Unrest continues in Syria, and Bashar al-Assad's regime is getting assistance from Iran in putting down the opposition.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post is reporting that Lebanese police stopped two men trying to smuggle weapons into Syria.
Lebanese border police detained two people trying to drive cars filled with weapons into Syria, where mass protests have been challenging Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule, security sources said on Thursday.

"The cars had AK-47s, semi-automatic weapons, and some bombs," one security source said. The men, a Lebanese and a Syrian, were detained late on Wednesday in the border area of the eastern Bekaa Valley.
The violence continues as snipers apparently shot and killed a Syrian soldier in the port city of Banias and wounded another soldier.
Protests erupted in Syria a month ago and have steadily grown, with tens of thousands calling for sweeping political reforms in what is one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Middle East. More than 200 people have been killed during the unrest, according to Syria’s leading pro-democracy group, the Damascus Declaration.

On Thursday, Syrian troops eased road closures and other restrictions that had stopped movement around the port city of Banias, where the reported sniper attack on soldiers took place.

Soldiers around Banias allowed people to enter and leave the city after checking their identity cards, residents said. In the early hours of Thursday, dozens of detainees from the area were released and another group was expected to be set free soon, activists said.

The activists and residents spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

Security forces and pro-government gunmen had cracked down on crowds of protesters in Banias over the past several days.

On Wednesday, a military general representing the government met with dignitaries from Banias and nearby areas.

The representative promised the government would withdraw the feared secret police from the area and replace them with army forces, which are more trusted by the people, activists said. He also promised the military would not detain people or carry out raids on homes and that electricity would be restored after a three-day power cut.
The regime cannot be trusted here, and the protests are likely to continue because the people realize that the regime is likely to utilize all the means at its disposal, including snatching those who are involved in the protests never to be heard from again. The regime is attempting to make a "good faith gesture" by releasing hundreds of people it has tortured.

There's nothing to stop the regime from resuming those activities and with one hand it claims to loosen restrictions, while using the other to tighten them.

Speaking of window dressing, a new Syrian government has been formed. Of course, all are answerable to Assad and Assad has the final word, so this really doesn't change who is in charge and the overall policies carried out by the regime.

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