Sunday, June 19, 2011

Assad To Again Address Syria As Security Forces Continue Brutal Crackdown

For the third time this year, Bashar al Assad will make a national address in an attempt to remain in power. Assad has twice before made promises that turned out to be empty gestures; in both instances he claimed that he would make reforms and provide amnesty, but immediately thereafter the crackdown intensified.

It's little wonder that Syrians simply don't trust him. They've seen his handiwork first hand and know the kind of thing that Assad does to his opponents. At the same time, Syrians trying to flee from northern areas into Turkey are being intercepted by Syrian forces:
Assad first addressed parliament on March 30, two weeks after the start of the anti-regime demonstrations, calling the deadly unrest a "conspiracy" fomented by the country's enemies.

In a televised address on April 16, he announced that the emergency law in force in Syria for nearly 50 years would be abolished, expressed his sadness at the deaths of protesters and called for a national dialogue.

Opposition activists announced on Sunday that they were setting up a "National Council" to spearhead the struggle against his regime.

Syrian opposition activists have created a "National Council" to lead the battle to oust Assad's regime, their spokesperson Jamil Saib said on Sunday.

"We announce the creation of a National Council to lead the Syrian revolution, comprising all communities and representatives of national political forces inside and outside Syria," reporters near the Turkish-Syrian border were told.

The activists urged opposition forces "to co-operate in all cities and provinces of Syria to achieve the legitimate goal of overthrowing the regime and bringing it to justice".

"The purpose of this council is to bring together opposition forces to support the revolution" and ensure that they are heard by the international community, Saib told the AFP news agency.

Refugee exodus

Meanwhile, Syrian forces swept through a northwestern border region to stem an exodus of refugees to Turkey that is raising international pressure on Assad, witnesses and a rights activist said on Sunday.

Syrian human rights campaigner Ammar al-Qurabi accused pro-government forces of attacking people who were helping refugees try to escape from a widening military campaign to crush protests against Assad's rule.
War crimes charges are now being considered against Assad, as word of his brutal crackdown becomes more known as refugees recount their harrowing tales.

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