The Free Syria Army boldly attacked the Air Force Intelligence headquarters near Damascus today with anti-tank rockets. The regime immediately deployed helicopters and a gunfight on the ground followed. It is unclear how much damage the attack caused.
On Monday, at least 71 people were killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 34 loyalist soldiers are included in that death toll. The Local Coordination Committees couldn’t confirm the regime’s death toll, but said at least 51 civilians died. Ammar Abudlhamid reported that there were clashes in Homs Province and Hama City.
The attack comes as Assad is under increasing regional pressure. Over the weekend, Syria was expelled from the Arab League. All but three Arab League members supported the measure. Lebanon, controlled by Hezbollah and Yemen, whose regime is now using Syrian pilots, voted against it. Iraq abstained. The League also is sending a 400-500-strong team of observers to Syria.
The Arab League just met with the Syrian National Council in Cairo.
Turkey is talking about imposing sanctions on Syria and says it is taking a “resolute stance” against Assad. The sanctions are expected to be related to energy, banking and military entities.
Jordanian King Abdullah became the first Arab leader to openly demand Assad’s resignation:
“I believe, if I were in his shoes, I would step down,” King Abdullah told the BBC. “If Bashar has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life.”
King Abdullah may come to regret that first sentence.