Maybe this will be enough to get the U.S. to pull its ambassador and do something concrete about the bloody suppression of the pro-democracy uprising in Syria. The death toll has now surpassed 80, with 30 killed in Izzra, 22 in Damascus, 18 in Homs and the rest killed around the country. There are major protests in Daraa, Qamishli, Latakia, Banias, Deir al-Zour and Moadamia as well.
Al-Jazeera has additional information in its live blog. A statue of Basel Assad, Bashar’s brother who was supposed to replace Hafez but died in a car accident, has been set on fire in Deir al-Zour. The Reform Party of Syria is linking to videos of the brutality that are going online and acts of extraordinary boldness, such as the ripping of a poster of Assad in Damascus. One video shows a father carrying his killed child in Izrah who was shot in the head. Heartbreaking.
On April 19, the Reform Party of Syria reported that the son of a tribal leader in Homs was killed by the regime. He is linked to powerful tribes in Iraq and Jordan, so this could spark an uprising. RPS also reports that the deputy commander of the 90th Division outside Damascus has been killed. It is suspected he was murdered by a soldier after giving orders to kill civilians.
Yesterday, RPS reported that an army officer named Omar Ibrahim al-Kanawi, was killed but the regime denies responsibility and blamed the violent “elements” as it has all along. His uncle, an officer, has publicly blamed the regime and this has caused 4,000 to protest in Tadmur.
In Homs, protesters reacted to the regime’s claims that radical Islamic Salafists are behind the uprising by chanting, “Brothers we want freedom, not Salafism.”
The U.K. has officially condemned Syria and the Iraqi Cultural Parliament has declared its support for the protesters. Secretary of State Clinton said Wednesday that “The arbitrary arrests, the detentions, the reports of torture of prisoners must end now. It is time for the Syrian government to stop repressing their citizens and start responding to their aspirations.”
Secretary Clinton should also be commended for specifically mentioning Homs after a new governor was appointed. “We are particularly concerned about the situation in Homs, where multiple reports suggest violence and casualties among both civilians and government personnel.”