Friday, August 12, 2011

[news] Syrian Armies Kill 50 in the Previous Three Days, Activist Articulates

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) - Syrian security forces killed at least 50 people in the past three days, the activists said, as regional and international pressure mounted on President Bashar al-Assad to end the repression of Protesters against the government.

The deaths occurred in the eastern town of Deir al-Zour, the central province of Homs, the northern province of Idlib and the southern part of Dara, where the uprising began in March, said Ammar Qurabi of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria. At least 11 protesters were killed in Homs, Idlib, the governorate of Hama, the city of Aleppo, Deir al-Zour and the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, thousands of people marched, said Mahmoud Merhi, president of the Arab Organization for Rights Human.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking in an interview with CBS News yesterday called on Europe, India and China to increase pressure on Assad to leave and to impose sanctions on Syria's oil and gas.

The Obama soon called Assad to resign, said a U.S. official who requested anonymity because the administration is still discussing the issue and taking into account the timing of any announcement. While the U.S. is concerned about the possibility of a civil war in Syria, which is more focused on the prospect of sectarian violence promoted by the government and the possibility that the situation in Syria will cause instability in the Middle East, the official said yesterday.

Ramadan violence

More than 300 have died since July 31, the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according Qurabi and Merhi. Protesters across Syria, including the suburbs of Damascus took to the streets yesterday afternoon after breaking the Ramadan fast day and evening prayers complete, Merhi said by telephone today.

Merhi and Qurabi, who compiled the names of the dead, saying Assad's forces have killed more than 2,400 protesters and arrested thousands of people since the revolt began.

Another activist, Abdul-Karim Rihawi, head of the League of Human Rights in Syria, was arrested yesterday at a cafe in downtown Damascus, Qurabi said.

The impulse may be to build a bolder Assad to stop after Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Damascus this week and said his neighbor Turkey is entering a "critical" period.

Army desertions

"The desertions in the army is growing, we are in the hundreds and thousands now going to be soon," Hussein said Harmoush, a lieutenant colonel who was separated from the military in June and the Speaker of the Syrian Arab Army Free, today in a telephone interview from Syria, near the border with Turkey.

Harmoush, 39, who served in the army since 1991, said he and other deserters from the forces to the left when the mission "has changed from state protection and the preservation of order to kill innocent people." He said the defector forces not actively engaged government troops in battle and are present in the protests in a "protection capability to defend the protesters."

European nations renewed the momentum of a United Nations resolution against the bloodshed and the U.S. imposed new financial sanctions in Syrian banks and telecommunications. Russia has indicated he is not convinced that a UN resolution is necessary. The European Union is considering extending its sanctions against Syria, EU spokesman Michael Mann told reporters today in Brussels.

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