In what analysts are calling a “dramatic departure” from the stated goals of the protests by dissidents in Syria over the past 5 months of confrontations with the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, activists are calling for ‘international protection’ for their cause.
Two Videos Demand Protection
Two amateur videos posted over the weekend on YouTube demonstrate this turn of methodology of protest from one of an internal struggle to quite another-of foreign intervention.
In one of the videos, filmed in the small southern town of Horan, a small crowd of several dozen Syrian youths are shown clapping and chanting “the people demand international protection.”
In the second video protestors are seen holding signs stating “we need international protection” in Arabic and in English.
Until now any suggestion of international intervention was rejected by activists in Syria. The idea of any foreign intervention, similar in kind to the NATO forces bombing Libya, was anathema to the Syrian protest movement.
Rising Death Toll Forces Change
But this non-interventionist position has been worn thin within the Syrian protest movement as the death toll continues to rise at the hands of the harsh crack-down Assad has utilized to squash the protest movement there. The United Nations estimates that as many, or even more than 2200 people have already been killed during the Syrian uprising. Mass arrests have also taken place and activists have also stated that Syrian security forces have also used torture on the detainees.
As a result of the brutal crackdown and the apparent change in the attitude of the activists to foreign intervention, some of Syria’s neighbors and allies have called for the Syrian regime
to begin to implement social and political reforms to calm the situation.
Arab League Calls for Restraint
The Arab League called on Syria to show ‘restraint’ and to ‘end the violence’ there, and will be sending their secretary general on an ‘urgent mission to Damascus.’
The president of Turkey Abdullah Gul harshly criticized Assad in a televised speech, admitting that Ankara had ‘lost its confidence’ in what had formerly been Turkey’s trading partner and ally.
“We have reached a point where anything would be too little, too late. We have lost our confidence,” Gul said.
Turkish intelligence has reported that as recently as last Thursday 17 people were killed in Syria.
“There is no place for totalitarian regimes and one party governments. Clearly, the leaders of these countries will take the initiative or they will be changed by force,” Gul added.