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Friday, April 29, 2011

Day of protests in Syria

Syrian regime is bracing itself for what could be the biggest day of rage protests since unprecedented unrest began a month and a half ago.

Protest organisers are threatening to defy a military crackdown and carry out nationwide demonstrations as in previous weeks.

The big difference this Friday is that the army is out in force. It has moved into a number of towns in an effort to quell the protests violently.

In the southern town of Deraa, the focus of unrests, tanks are reportedly roaming the streets. Residents say snipers are shooting anyone who leaves their homes. Water, food and electricity have reportedly been cut off.
Police units have been going house to house with a list of suspects they are hunting.
Despite the repression activists say their protests will continue and this week Syria's banned Islamist organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood, is calling on its followers to come out in support.
Syria's President Assad
Human rights organisations estimate more than 500 people have been killed in the unrest, 70 of them members of the security forces.
Protesters say soldiers have been executed by the military for refusing to obey orders. The regime has denied there has been any disaffection in the army's ranks.
The West has put Bashar al Assad, the Syrian president, on notice. Britain and America say the leader is at a fork in the road and are urging him to call off his military and institute reforms.
If his military responds to today's protests with more killings it will be clear which turning Assad has taken and the international community will face a challenge in deciding how to respond.
Syria lies on the faultlines of an explosively volatile region. Neighbours fear a slide into civil war or chaos. Hundreds of Syrians have already reportedly fled across the border on foot into Lebanon. A humanitarian crisis could follow if the situation continues to deteriorate.

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