Bad news for Syria this weekend, following the slaughter of 40 people by the country’s security forces in an effort to “clamp down on the protests against [President Bashar Assad’s] regime.” The country’s demonstrators are now fighting for the abdication of Assad along with his regime’s demise, quite a step-up from the “constitutional changes” they were fighting for previously.
It thus doesn’t seem like such a good idea to kill protesters since the people are more intent on continuing their fight for reform than ever before. This yearning will probably remain – at least for the foreseeable future – rendering difficult times ahead for the Assad regime.
Peaceful Protesters Vis-à-vis Grievous Gangs
Syria claimed it was “gangs” which had opened fire, killing 19 soldiers. But such extreme action isn’t going to worse as has been shown “during this year of revolutions,” which “might buy a short amount of time for an embattled regime,” but ultimately is a “recipe for long-term resentment and further outbreaks of violence.” The protesters were attacked with “live fire,” resulting in the death of around 40. As well, security forces were reported on Facebook as having “thrown weapons onto the street, hoping that protesters would arm themselves and become legitimate targets for live fire.”
Assad Needs to Work Harder
It seems President Assad has his work cut out for him but he’s just not quite getting it. A mere “three days ago, the Syrian Interior Ministry predicted that Assad’s speech last week and vague promises of reform would halt the demonstrations. But yesterday it said that no further riots would be tolerated ‘under the pretext of protests and demand for reforms.’” Clearly the premier needs to reassess the situation that is going on right under his nose as he is currently “seriously underestimating,” the situation.
Assad is also sending a clear message that his regime “has no interest in substantial reform.” Nonetheless, rumors abound that Assad may be changing things (like the reversal of the 1963 emergency law) to permit peaceful protests “under the watchful eye of security forces, instead of a barrage of bullets.”