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Assad’s Ramadan Crack-down on Syrian Uprising Continues Despite International Outrage

Posted on the 16 August 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Assad’s Ramadan crack-down on Syrian uprising continues despite international outrage

A poster of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Photo credit: copepodo

According to the BBC reports, Assad government forces have been putting down dissent in the port city of Latakia for the past three days with ground troops, tanks and gunboats. While foreign journalists face severe restrictions in reporting from inside Syria, activists say at least 30 people have died since Saturday, and that residents trying to flee the city have been fired on by troops. One Latakia resident told Associated Press news agency: “We are being targeted from the ground and the sea. The shooting is intense. We cannot go out. They are raiding and breaking into people’s homes.” Syria’s official news agency SANA has denied any shelling of the city has taken place and again attributed the trouble to the work of “terrorist gangs.”

On Monday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Syria to immediately end the bloodshed and threatened unspecified “steps” if it fails to do so. Turkey’s condemnation follows the imposition of sanctions on Syria by the US and Europe. More than 1,700 people have reportedly died in the six-month uprising against the rule of Assad. Anti-government protests have been targeted in Homs, Hama, Damascus, Deir al-Zour in the east, Deraa in the south and Aleppo and Idlib near Turkey’s border.

Hopes that Assad might dial down his hardline suppression of protests during Ramadan have been quashed by the assault on Latakia.

  • Assad is stepping up, not scaling back, violence. Zeina Karam of Associated Press said the latest assault “shows Assad has no intention of scaling back despite international outrage and new U.S. and European sanctions.” Karam noted that Assad has “dramatically escalated” the crack-down on the uprising since the start of the holy month of Ramadan: “Despite blistering international outrage, the regime is trying to establish firm control in rebellious areas by unleashing tanks, snipers and — in a new tactic — gunships.”
  • Iran is propping up Assad. Con Coughlin of The Daily Telegraph reported that Western intelligence reports have revealed that hardline Syria’s ally Iran has agreed to fund a new multi-million-dollar military base on the Syrian coast to make it easier to ship weapons and other military hardware between the two countries. “Iran and Syria have enjoyed a close strategic alliance for decades, founded on their mutual antipathy towards the West,” reminded Coughlin, who informed that in return for Iranian military support, Syria has supported Tehran’s attempts to develop the Islamic fundamentalist Hizbollah militia into a major political force in neighbouring Lebanon. Coughlin said that arms shipments between Iran and Syria have been going on for months even though they are a clear breach of sanctions imposed against Iran by the UN Security Council over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme, which expressly forbids arms exports.”

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