Monday, May 09, 2011

Syrian Crackdown Continues Against Opposition; 8,000+ Detained?

Syria's regime continues its brutal crackdown against protesters. Scores of protesters were arrested in Homs and Banias in the past several day. That's on top of house-to-house sweeps arresting hundreds all throughout the county and it's believed that the regime is now detaining more than 8,000 in an effort to crush the opposition to Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Tanks patrolled the streets of the coastal city of Banias and the central city of Homs, where witnesses say security forces killed 14 people on Sunday. Gunfire echoed in a Damascus suburb Maadamiyeh.

Syrian rights groups say the arrests targeted anti-government protest leaders and participants. They also say more than 630 civilians have died in the unrest since it began in mid-March, and as many as 8,000 people are either missing or detained.

President Bashar al-Assad was quoted in Al-Watan newspaper Monday as saying the government will overcome the "crisis" in Syria and advance administrative, political and media reforms. The newspaper, which is close to the government, said the army recently had fought "fierce battles" with "armed groups" in Banias.

Reports are difficult to independently confirm because Syria has banned foreign media and restricted reporter access to many parts of the country.

On Sunday, soldiers detained more than 200 in Banias and swept into several southern towns.

Protests continue in many parts of the country, and one such protest tore down a statue of Bashar's brother in the city of Deir El-Zour:

The regime is now using soccer stadiums as detention facilities for those being arrested. The regime keeps trying to claim that the opposition is really a bunch of terror groups as justification for the brutal methods being employed, but it is all too clear that the regime is attempting to maintain power through all manner of brutal methods and is using the claims of a terror threat as justification after the fact:
In the southern city of Daraa, the hub of Syria's six-week uprising, another human rights organization observed a similar situation.

"In Daraa, there have been so many arbitrary arrests in recent days that the army and security forces are using schools and the city's soccer stadium as makeshift prison facilities," said Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.

CNN could not independently confirm the reports. The heads of both organizations are not in Syria but remain in close contact with activists and protesters there.

The state-run Syrian news agency said Sunday that security forces were continuing pursuit of "members of the terrorist groups" in both cities.

''A number of wanted terrorist members were arrested and weapons and ammunition used by these groups in attacks against the army and citizens and in terrorizing people were seized," the news agency reported.
Thus far, the only ones being terrorized are the Syrian people by the Assad regime; the regime is using murder, torture and indefinite detentions to suppress the protests.

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