Monday, January 30, 2012

Crackdown Continues Against Opposition Across Syria

Does anyone honestly expect Bashar al-Assad to simply agree to what is likely to be a call by the United Nations to step aside and clear the way for elections in Syria? If you think that the move will result in a cessation of violence, you haven't been paying attention.

The Arab League monitoring mission is winding down in light of the ongoing refusal to cease fire and reduce the violence:

Assad's first and only interest is in retaining control and remaining in power. Everything else Assad flows from that self-interest. He continually claims that the violence across Syria is the result of terrorists and that the body count keeps rising because of conspiracies, terrorists and outsiders are carrying out attacks against his regime and the security forces. The draft resolution crafted by the Arab League will fall on deaf ears and while it is a far stronger move by the United Nations to date, it will lack teeth to have any meaning or effect.

Assad's claims don't carry much weight considering that he has once again sent tanks to open fire on neighborhoods around Damascus to quell ongoing violence.
Monday's developments came amid continued heavy fighting between Syrian forces and the rebel Free Syria Army in suburbs of the capital city of Damascus, where Syrian forces have been battling to take back neighborhoods in Saqba and Maleiha, according to opposition groups.

Forty people were confirmed killed Monday, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees. The deaths include 26 in Homs, seven in Daraa, five in Damascus and two in Idlib.
Government forces stormed the town of Rankous, and a loud explosion shook the town, according to the opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Two defectors from the military were killed and dozens of civilians wounded, and some houses were destroyed in the bombardment, the group said.

The clashes continue intensifying, which indicates that desertions are becoming more widespread and that loyalists are resorting to ever more brutal measures. That includes shelling entire neighborhoods instead of more targeted actions. This is once again something straight out of the Hama rules, which Assad's father used to quell the insurrection by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The spreading violence also suggests that Assad's grip on power may be weakening and the opposition groups are trying to exploit the situation to their advantage by taking the fight to Assad's doorstep in Damascus.

Here, Assad is going after regime opponents and will use all the means at his disposal. He pays lip service to reform, and instead targets the opponents as terrorists and outsider.

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