Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Syria Unleashes Fresh Hell As Crackdown Body Count Rises

As I noted when the Arab League issued its so-called solution for the Syrian situation, the deal would not be worth the paper it was written on. The Arab League claimed to have worked out a deal that would end the months-long crackdown by Bashar al Assad against protesters who have the audacity to stand up to the evil regime.

Well, what exactly did Assad do with that document? He has completely ignored it (or alternatively exploited the deal's lack of a hard deadline to stop military actions to maximize the body count). He's increased the blood-letting. More people have died in the days since the agreement was made than in the week before.

Assad's once again laid siege to cities in Syria where protests have been most intense. The protesters are now seeing their ranks increase as a result of defectors from Syrian security forces. That's the impetus for the latest crackdowns - since these are troops who know tactics and have the weaponry to stand up to Assad's regime in small force actions.
The Syrian government has launched a bloody assault to retake Homs, the country’s third-largest city, facing armed defectors who have prevented the government’s forces from seizing it as they did other restive locales this summer, in what may stand as one of the most violent episodes in an eight-month uprising.

The specter of civil war has long hung over Homs, the most tenacious and determined of cities opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, where the city’s Sunni Muslim majority has closed ranks behind the revolt. This month, parts of the city have become an urban battlefield, with activists saying government forces have killed 111 people in just five days, opposition groups warning of dire shortages forced by the siege and residents complaining of lawlessness by marauding soldiers and paramilitary fighters.

The strife comes as mediation by the Arab League has apparently collapsed in one of the latest efforts to end what is among the most ferocious crackdowns on the revolts sweeping the Arab world this year. The government has increasingly demonstrated it will continue to try to stanch dissent by force, ignoring the relatively muted protests of the international community.
Dissent in the ranks is apparently increasing, which makes Assad increasingly desperate to put down the uprising.

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of the protesters are unarmed and the bulk of those killed are civilians:

The overall death toll is now above 3,500.

Meanwhile, Hizbullah and the PKK is being accused of kidnapping Syrian opposition leaders in Lebanon - the former is another sign that Hizbullah is operating as a proxy force for Assad.

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