Monday, June 06, 2011

Major Uprising Underway In Syria's Jisr Al-Shugur?

There are an increasing stream of reports coming from Jisr Al-Shugur that Syrian security forces have been ambushed and killed in significant numbers. Earlier reports indicated that at least 40 Syrian security troops were killed, but newer reports put the tally at 120, including police and security forces.
The state television report said armed groups in the area carried out a "massacre." It said the groups ambushed police and security forces, blew up the post office, torched government buildings and mutilated bodies. Thirty-seven were killed at a security post, the report said.

Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar said on Monday the authorities will respond firmly to armed attacks.

"We will deal firmly and decisively based on the law (and we) will never be silent over any armed attack that targets the country's security," he said in a televised statement. Human rights activist Mustafa Osso cast doubt on the government accounts.

There was no independent confirmation of the claims.

"The protesters have so far been peaceful and unarmed," he said. Osso said there were unconfirmed reports of a few army deserters who switched sides and were fighting security forces.

Monday's state television report said the officers were ambushed as they responded to calls from residents for protection from armed groups. It said 20 policemen were initially killed, and then the groups blew up a post office, attacked a security post

"Armed groups have set fire to a number of government buildings in Jisr al-Shughour," the TV said. It added the groups were hiding in homes and firing at soldiers and civilians alike, using residents as human shields in an ongoing shootout.

It added the armed groups carried out a "real massacre," mutilating some bodies and throwing others in a river.
Considering that no one can independently verify these events, one has to take these reports with a grain of salt.

One also has to consider the repercussions for residents in and around Jisr al-Shughour. Assad will not allow these kinds of attacks on his security forces to go unpunished. Jisr al-Shughour may end up on the receiving end of a Hama-style massacre.

Another possibility is that the opposition groups are moving away from merely protesting against Assad's brutal and barbaric regime, and are now taking up arms against Assad. This adds to an already dangerous situation that is likely to result in a significant escalation in Assad's body count.

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