Friday, June 10, 2011

Assad Laying Siege To Jisr al Shugur; Human Rights Crisis Grows As UN Deadlocked

Once Syrian media began reporting that security forces were ambushed and killed in Jisr al Shugur in a northern province near the Turkish border and swiftly ran up the body count, you just knew that something real bad was going to happen to the people there, whether or not the security forces were killed. Even as Syrian media outlets reported that 120 security forces were killed in the ambush, locals were getting the message out that far fewer people were killed or that some of those killed were actually security forces who refused to take orders to crack down on protesters and were instead shot and killed by security forces loyal to Bashar al Assad.

Well, it looks like Assad isn't messing around. He's apparently sent an entire division of troops towards Jisr al Shugur - 15,000 troops.
The Syrian government said earlier that "armed gangs" killed more than 120 security personnel in Jisr al-Shughour , a town of 50,000, earlier this week. State TV described the incident as "a genuine massacre".

"Our correspondent in Jisr al-Shughour told us now that in response to people's calls, units from the Syrian Arabic Army started its duties in Jisr al-Shughour ... to arrest armed members," state television reported Friday.

About 2,700 Syrian refugees have crossed into Turkey since the uprising began, with most fleeing in the last two days. At least 15,000 troops had deployed near Jisr al-Shughour, which residents said had largely emptied of people.

Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said residents in the northwestern town told him the army was still advancing toward the town. "They can hear gunfire and so far we do not have any casualty reports," he told Reuters.
Story: Fleeing Syrians tell of revolt, mutiny, mayhem

The latest reports of a government crackdown intensified international concerns over Syria's handling of pro-democracy protests, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal have asked the U.N. Security Council to condemn Assad, whose family has ruled the country for more than 40 years, although veto-wielding Russia has said it would oppose such a move.

World powers have shown no appetite for any Libya-style military intervention in Syria, which has so far shrugged off sanctions and verbal reprimands from abroad.

Human rights groups say more than 1,300 people have died in the crackdown on the 11-week uprising, most of them unarmed civilians. A government spokeswoman countered that a total of 500 security forces had died in the revolt.
After not effectively playing by his father's playbook, Bashar is now operating directly from the Hama rules and is likely to begin razing the town as both reprisal and a warning to other towns and cities that Assad will not tolerate the slightest bit of opposition.

There will be a massacre here, and the UN will stand by idly and do nothing. Russia has effectively blocked actions and NATO lacks the capacity to act on the UN's behalf since it's already engaged in Libya - carrying out much the same mission as it would do if it intervened in Syria on behalf of the Syrian people.

Still, it is heartening to see that even the Turkish Prime Minister is publicly stating that Assad's actions are inhumane. Turkey has a front row seat to the situation and refugees are crossing into Turkey to escape the brutality.

The AP is reporting that they've managed to get an AP reported embedded with Syrian troops surrounding Jisr al Shugur, but one has to wonder what kind of journalistic freedom that reporter will have if they begin reporting on unrestricted shelling of civilians and a lack of armed resistance.

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