Syrian Government Steps Up Assaults Against Protesters

Nov 7, 2011
Originally published on November 7, 2011 6:06 pm

More than 100 protesters have been killed in the past five days in clashes with government forces, Syrian activists said. Despite a ceasefire agreement with Arab League and despite protests from international governments, Bashar Asad's regime has continued its relentless assault against the opposition.

The New York Times reports on Homs, the country's third-largest city and the center of the uprising:

The specter of civil war has long hung over Homs, the most tenacious and determined of cities opposed to President Bashar al-Assad's rule. But this month, parts of the city have become an urban battlefield, with activists saying government forces have killed 111 people in just five days, opposition groups warning of dire shortages created by the siege and residents complaining of lawlessness by marauding soldiers and paramilitaries.

The strife there comes amid the apparent collapse of mediation by the Arab League, more signs of the government's intention to stanch dissent by force and the emergence of Homs as a sign to Syrians of the relative success of fighting back against a military force that, while still unified, has suffered ever more defections as the fighting persists.

"Homs is a turning point for now," said a Damascus-based analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. "It's a successful model of self-defense, if you will, at a time when you really can't expect people to take anymore. They've seen too many corpses come back, too many people arrested, disappeared or returned after abominable treatment. It's too much. And everybody seems to be losing control of the street."

Amateur video showed tanks rolling through city streets and the AP reported that Syrian troops were "kicking in doors and making house-to-house arrests..."

The AP reports that the Arab League called for an emergency meeting on Saturday, though "it was not clear what action the league would take if the bloodshed continues."

NPR's Ahmed Al Omran has been keeping up with Syria by looking at the reports on social media sites. Everyday, he's been putting together a timeline of events. The one he put together today includes graphic videos, but it gives you a sense of what's going on on the ground.

Here's one video reportedly from Damascus that shows a group of women facing off with Syrian troops:

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