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Thread: Syria

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syria seals border with Jordan: Amman
    (AFP) – 3 hours ago
    AMMAN — Syria on Monday sealed off its border with Jordan, the kingdom's information minister Taher Adwan said, hours after troops backed by tanks swept into the Syrian southern flashpoint town Daraa.
    "Syria closed its land borders with Jordan. The Syrian decision is related to the internal situation in Syria," Adwan told the state-run Petra news agency.
    "We hope movement at the border goes back to normal soon."
    Thousands of Syrian troops backed by tanks swept into Daraa, around five kilometres (three miles) from the Jordanian frontier, firing on residents and leaving bodies lying in the streets, activists and witnesses said.
    One witness reported seeing five bodies in a car that had been riddled with bullets.
    "We tried to cross into Syria but the Syrian authorities closed the only two border posts with Jordan, Daraa and Naseeb," a Jordanian witness in Amman told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
    Another witness said he could "see Syrian tanks, armoured cars and troops blocking the road to Daraa."
    However, Syria's official news agency SANA cited the director general of customs, Mustapha Bukai, as denying the border had been sealed.
    "All the border posts with our neighbours, including Jordan, are open. The movement of cars and goods is normal," he said.
    The military assault comes as Syria is engulfed in anti-regime protests and amid a crackdown on demonstrators across the country in which according to rights activists and witnesses more than 135 people have been killed and scores arrested since Friday.
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: Syria

    Sliding Dollar, Middle East Violence Lift Crude



    more in Markets Main »





    By DAN STRUMPF

    NEW YORK—Oil futures rose to fresh highs, lifted by resurgent violence in the Middle East and the sliding dollar.
    Light, sweet crude for June delivery rose 89 cents, or 0.8%, to $113.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier in the session, the contract hit an intraday of $113.48, the highest level in 2½ years.
    Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange recently gained 61 cents, or 0.5%, to $124.60 a barrel.
    Crude futures advanced as violence in flared in Syria and Yemen over the weekend, stoking fears that the unrest roiling the region could lead to a further reduction of oil exports. Neither country is major oil producer, but traders remain worried that the regional upheaval, which has triggered regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia and plunged oil-exporter Libya into conflict, could spread to big oil-producing states like Saudi Arabia.
    In Syria, eyewitnesses reported that government troops opened fire on protesters over the weekend. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh offered to cede power in exchange for immunity and an end to protests in that country, but the opposition was deadlocked over whether to accept.
    Mr. Saleh has been prodded to step down by regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who remain worried about unrest spreading to within their own borders.
    "Yemen's president, who is an ally on the war on terror, is on his way out…and Syria is just killing people," said Phil Flynn, an oil analyst at PFG Best in Chicago. "The risk in the region continues to be high."
    Trading volumes remained thin Monday. Crude futures markets were open as usual, but most European remained closed for the long Easter weekend.
    Market watchers will turn their attention to the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting, scheduled to start Tuesday. The meeting should offer clarity over how the central bank plans to wind down its massive bond-buying program.
    Many analysts have complained that the Fed's controversial "quantitative easing" program has diluted the dollar and pumped up oil prices. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is taking the unusual step of holding a news conference at the conclusion of the meeting Wednesday.
    A weaker dollar often lifts oil prices as the commodity becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies.
    "During the past couple of weeks, we have zeroed-in on the currency factor as the major driver of higher energy prices, a development that has enhanced oil's appeal as an asset class," said Jim Ritterbusch, head of the oil-trading advisory firm Ritterbusch & Associates, in a research report.
    Write to Dan Strumpf at dan.strumpf@dowjones.com
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: Syria

    Libya's a mess, Syria is even worse -- and more important

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    7:23 AM, April 25, 2011 ι Abby W. Schachter As our efforts in Libya continue to meet with steady resistance from the Gadhafy regime , the situation in Syria is disintegrating as well. Government tanks moved into the city of Deraa just after morning prayers with one witness describing a sad scene: "People are taking cover in homes. I could see two bodies near the mosque and no one was able to go out and drag them away," the witness said.
    Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems determined to take a "too little, too late" approach. President Obama's most recent statement was not only weak it was delivered poorly. As Elliot Abrams critiqued it: "The President’s appearance on camera, delivering such words personally so that they can be carried into Syria on al Jazeera and YouTube, would be much more effective. With hundreds now dead in the streets of Syria, it is past time for him to speak." And yet he hasn't
    The US also still hasn't recalled our ambassador from that country.
    Now there are reports that the latest Washington policy initiative is to unilaterally sanction government members and those close to Assad by freezing financial assets in the US . Only problem is that almost no one close to dictator Bashar Assad has much money here.
    Some analysts suggest that President Obama is trying to take decisions one at a time and after careful consideration. But every decision now stems from the one very bad decision Obama took early in his administration, namely to count on Assad as a potential ally. The truth is that Syria is a terrific lynchpin for the mullah's in Tehran. The Iranians have used Syria as a middle passage for guns and fighters through to Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Gaza (Hamas). Indeed, the Iranians are so concerned about keeping their hold on Syria and their terrorist network, Tehran has been helping Damascus to put down the rebellion.
    Anything the US can do now to confront the Iranians, while supporting the overthrow of Assad is all to the good. Let's hope Obama gets with the program and quickly.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Tanks, Snipers Target Protesters In Syria; More Violence In Yemen

    Categories: National News, Foreign News

    08:20 am
    April 25, 2011





    by Mark Memmott


    Good morning.
    The week begins with stories about previously secret U.S. documents that reveal a lot about the suspected terrorists who have been held in recent years at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We rounded up the reports, including those being reported jointly by The New York Times and NPR, in one post here.
    As for other stories making headlines, they include:
    — Syrian Army Attacks Protesters In Daraa, Other Locations: "Syrian troops in armored vehicles and tanks stormed the southern town of Daraa early Monday and opened fire, the latest crackdown on a five-week uprising against President Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime, witnesses and activists said." (The Associated Press)
    From a related report by NPR's Deborah Amos in Beirut: "Videos posted on YouTube show men in army uniforms advancing on Daraa in the early morning." Witnesses say snipers killed some men "leaving [a] mosque after prayers." There were also security raids in a city near Damascus.
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    NPR's Deborah Amos

    — Security Forces Fire On Protesters In Yemen: "Security forces in Yemen have opened fire on anti-government protesters in the city of Taiz, wounding at least 10 people, witnesses report. Thousands of people joined rallies calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to quit immediately. ... Mr Saleh's ruling party agreed on Saturday to a Gulf Co-operation Council plan under which the president would hand over power to his deputy within 30 days, in exchange for immunity from prosecution." (BBC News)
    — NATO Air Strike Targets A Gadhafi Compound: "A NATO air strike on the Libyan capital Tripoli has badly damaged buildings in Col. Muammar Gaddafi's compound. Reports said at least two powerful missiles struck the Libyan leader's sprawling Bab al-Azizia compound early on Monday. Three TV stations briefly went off the air following the explosions." (BBC News)
    [Note: NPR follows Associated Press style on the spelling of Moammar Gadhafi's name. Other news outlets use different spellings.]
    — "Taliban Tunnel Breakout Outwits Afghan Jailers": "Afghan and NATO forces have launched a huge operation to try to recapture 475 prisoners, nearly all of them Taliban insurgents, who staged an extraordinary mass prison breakout using a tunnel. Officials said the inmates had escaped through the tunnel, dug from a house to the wing of the prison where political prisoners are detained in Kandahar." (The Guardian)

    Tags: Moammar Gadhafi, Libya, Yemen, Syria
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    Default Re: Syria

    Gadhafi Forces Shell Misrata; Further Unrest in Yemen, Syria

    Edward Yeranian | Cairo April 24, 2011
    [IMG]http://media.voanews.com/images/300*300/afp_libya_misrata_300_eng_24apr11.jpg[/IMG] Photo: AFP / Christophe Simon

    Libyan rebels are seen walking down a street close to a building where forces loyal to Col. Moammar Kadhafi are reportedly held up in Misrata on April 24, 2011

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    Latest Developments
    A suspected NATO airstrike on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound in the capital, Tripoli, has destroyed at least one building and wounded four people.
    Authorities say the wrecked building was used for ministerial and other meetings. Three Libyan state television stations briefly went off the air after the loud explosions were heard in central Tripoli soon after midnight Sunday.
    Libyan government forces are keeping pressure on the rebel-held city of Misrata after abandoning most of the positions they held in the city.
    Libyan government forces shelled the besieged rebel-held port of Misrata Sunday, a day after officials signaled a change in tactics. Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim claimed the army was suspending operations in Misrata and would hand over positions to pro-Gadhafi tribesmen.

    "The situation in Misrata will be eased, will be dealt with by the tribes around Misrata and the rest of Misrata’s people, not by the Libyan army, and you will see how they will be swift and quick and fast and the Libyan army will be out of the question, out of the situation in Misrata," said Kaim.

    A Libyan opposition leader told Libyan rebel TV, however, that he did not think that tribes around Misrata would fight their countrymen inside the city. "Some local tribesmen," he said, "have personal ties with the Gadhafi regime, but the majority oppose him and won’t fight."

    In the capital Tripoli, Gadhafi loyalists fired anti-aircraft guns into the air sporadically, amid reports of NATO airstrikes. The U.S. Defense Department announced an airstrike by a U.S. Predator drone in Libya Saturday. NATO said the unmanned aircraft destroyed a multiple rocket launcher used by pro-Gadhafi forces near Misrata.

    Elsewhere in the region, tens of thousands of Yemenis continued to protest against President Ali Abdallah Saleh, a day after he accepted a Gulf Arab initiative that would eventually have him leave office.

    Speaking at Yemen’s War College Sunday, President Saleh accused the opposition of trying to create chaos:

    He says that the behavior of the opposition has put a stop to economic development in Yemen. He claims the opposition wants to spill blood, create a civil war, and overthrow the legal order, while he opposes violence.

    Yemeni politicians and negotiators from the Gulf Cooperation Council say President Saleh has agreed to a GCC proposal for him to step down within 30 days of an accord being signed with the opposition. Saleh ally and deputy information minister Abdou Jundi says the president accepts the plan, but has some conditions:

    He says President Saleh accepted the GCC plan in principle, and that this will be in accordance with the constitution, which allows the president to resign to parliament. He insists that starting a dialogue with the opposition is part of the plan.

    Many protesters refuse any dialogue with the president and insist on his immediate resignation. They also object to giving the president and his family any immunity from prosecution.

    Meanwhile in Syria, thousands of mourners laid to rest protesters shot dead Saturday near the southern city of Deraa. They chanted slogans against the government and against President Bashar al-Assad. Protests were reported in at least six other towns and cities, despite widespread arrests of opposition activists by the government.
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    Default Re: Syria

    24 April 2011 Last updated at 16:29 ET Share this page



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    Syria: Eyewitness accounts

    Continue reading the main story Related Stories




    Syrian security forces have shot dead three people and injured others, in the north-west, according to reports.
    The new deaths come days after the worst bloodshed since unrest began. At least 95 people were reported killed across Syria on Friday and a further 12 on Saturday, as mourners came under fire.
    BBC News website readers in Damascus have been reacting to Sunday's developments.
    Razan

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    Razan: "The authorities are trying to scare people into submission."

    We have heard about different shootings in many cities where there were no people protesting on the streets.
    It seems the Syrian security forces are trying to scare people and stop them from protesting.
    On Friday there was a huge protest in Damascus, thousands were there, I was there but you can't imagine the security.
    There are security check points everywhere, you can not move without being asked where are you going or having to show your ID card.
    No-one was killed in Damascus on Sunday. The forces are making communications hard, on Friday my mobile phone was cut off and I was unable to use it.
    Maz

    I have relatives in Harasta and Duma and I haven't been able to contact them for the last 24 hours.
    Continue reading the main story “Start Quote

    Protests are becoming bigger, stronger and closer to Damascus.”
    Maz Damascus
    There are snipers on government buildings, security people on flyovers, motorways and bridges. There are tanks as well. You can't go anywhere.
    It feels like there is a curfew. It's very quiet. People are afraid and are staying indoors.
    The situation is the same outside of Damascus. My wife was in the south, just outside of Deraa. It took her three hours to get to Damascus, instead of half an hour. There were checkpoints every 50 metres. They would stop one car and let the next one go.
    They have a list of names of people who've been killed, so they check surnames against those names and if someone turns out to be from the same family - they take the whole family away.
    I live not far from a state security unit where they currently have three coaches they use to transport their thugs to wherever they are needed. I think the greatest worry for the government is that the protests are becoming bigger, stronger, more powerful and closer to Damascus.
    Layla

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    Layla: "Forces are sending the message, protest and you will be shot."

    What happened on Friday shows us what the security forces are preparing for next.
    If you continue to take to the streets, asking for your demands, this is what the security forces will do to you, they will shoot you.
    We are afraid next Friday there will be even more violence.
    The protesters want to continue their fight, they believe in freedom and democracy and want their state to be ruled by law not continue as a security state.

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  7. #27
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    Default Re: Syria

    Middle East

    Wave of enforced disappearances in Syria

    At least 221 Syrians have gone missing in past three days of the violent crackdown, a rights group says.

    Hugh Macleod and a special correspondent Last Modified: 24 Apr 2011



    Abdel Aziz Kamal al-Rihawi, 18-year-old Syrian, was last seen on Friday in Harasta, a town in the Damascus
    At least 221 Syrians have gone missing in the past three days of the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests, said Insan, a Syrian human rights organisation, with many feared forcibly disappeared.
    Working with a team of human rights researchers inside Syria, Insan said it had documented the names of 221 Syrians missing since the early hours of Friday morning, none of whom the authorities had acknowledged holding in detention.
    "We are not counting people who we know have been detained. We are strictly talking here about people whose families do not know if they are dead or alive. People who have disappeared," said Wissam Tarif, executive director of Insan.
    The rights group and its network inside Syria had spoken to close family members of all 221 missing persons, said Tarif, and while some had yet to make contact with the security services, most families had been told by authorities that their relative was not being held.

    'Abused, beaten, detained'
    "Family members have been shouted at, abused, beaten and even detained when asking at political security branches for the whereabouts of their relatives," said Tarif.
    Under the terms of an international treaty, enforced disappearance is defined as the arrest, detention or abduction of a person by the state or agents of the state followed by the refusal of authorities to acknowledge the whereabouts of the missing person, thus placing them outside the protection of the law.
    Enforced disappearance is a crime against international law, according to Amnesty International, the London-based human rights watchdog.
    "The circumstances of each disappearance vary," said Insan. "Many were kidnapped from the streets after or during anti-government demonstrations. Others were kidnapped from the streets of their neighborhoods by security forces or by members of the recently established local Baath Party community watch."
    According to Insan, Wissam Araji, one of the disappeared, was last seen late Thursday night in Duma, the town close by Damascus that has become a focus for protests and where nine people were killed on Friday.
    "We do not know where Wissam is. I am scared for his life and scared that security comes and raids our house and takes me or any other family member," said Alaa Araji, Wissam's brother.
    Click for comprehensive coverage on the unrest
    "Since Wissam disappeared my mother did not stop crying and my Dad does not know what to do. His disappearance has paralysed us."
    Abdel Aziz Kamal al-Rihawi, an 18-year-old Syrian, was last seen on Friday afternoon in Harasta, a town in the Damascus countryside where three people were killed on Friday.
    A relative told Insan Rihawi had contacted him by phone, saying, "They are shooting at everyone. I will go home as soon as we can get out of here" That was the last time family heard anything from him.
    "We expect that some of the people on the list are dead. We know there are bodies being held in Tishreen military hospital and in the military hospital in Aleppo," said Tarif of Insan.
    The majority of the missing people disappeared during the wave of protests across towns nearby the capital and its suburbs, while some 68 people went missing in the central city of Homs alone. A further 41 people have disappeared from Daraa and its surrounding villages.
    In a meeting last month the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance discussed the case of thousands of Syrians who vanished during the rule of late Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad.
    In a written statement to the UN Human Rights Council, Radwan Ziadeh, head of the Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies, put the number of Syrians who disappeared between 1980 and 1987 at some 17,000.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Things have gone extremely bad there.

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    Default Re: Syria

    Americans and British citizens are being ordered out of Syria "while commercial transportation still exists".
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    Default Re: Syria

    Inside Syria's torture chambers: 'This regime is brutal but also stupid'

    Adnan, a young Syrian professional in his thirties, tells of his experience as one of hundreds detained in President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on dissent





    • guardian.co.uk,
    • Article history A Syrian says he was detained in Bashar al-Assad's torture chambers, beaten over a 12-hour period and denied sleep. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

      Adnan was arrested last Friday in Moudamiyeh, a town near Damascus, after protests in which he did not take part.
      "We saw about a thousand protesters come out of the mosque and then more people came to join them. The mosque was surrounded by riot police and troops, but it was peaceful until the protesters tried to start marching, chanting "God, Syria, Freedom, that's all!". Some protesters threw stones, then we saw the security forces open fire. One seemed to target the protest leader; they shot him in the head.
      We were trying to leave the town when someone shouted "Stop!" and ordered us to kneel down. It was troops from the Fourth Division [the elite unit commanded by President Bashar al-Assad's brother Maher, which has been involved in suppressing protests in Deraa, the south-western town that has become a focus for unrest].
      We have always regarded the security forces with fear, but not the army. They are conscripts – even in the lower ranks of the Fourth Division. They pulled our tops over our heads so we couldn't see clearly and pinned our arms behind our backs. Then they hit us on the back and head, sometimes with the butts of their guns. They accused us of being foreign agents, and of trying to film protests to send to the media.
      We were thrown in the back of an army truck and taken to the base on the outskirts of Damascus. We were put in a room and beaten from 4pm to 4am. Can you imagine? For 12 hours without sleep. It would stop for 15 minutes and then someone else would come in and start. They accused us of working for [former Lebanese prime minister] Saad al-Hariri and the Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan. There was no point in arguing – they would only beat us more.
      In the morning we were taken to the Air Force Intelligence. We were put in a 15 metre square cell with more than 50 people. There were 15-year-old boys and 80-year-old men. We could only stand up; there was no space to sleep. I thought, why are they locking these people up? This is why protests first started. None of them had been at protests. Some were arrested just because they were from Deraa. Many were fathers and sons. People were covered in blood: they had bad bruising and cuts on their bodies or bashed in faces.
      I tried to lift the spirits of the young people by talking to them. One 15-year-old boy asked me why we were there if the president had lifted the emergency law. I didn't know what to say: this country doesn't run on law. A man my age was crying. I asked him why. He told me he had heard his elderly father being beaten and he had begged them to beat him instead. 'He is old, he can't take it like I can,' he said. 'But they ignored me'. Another man with cancer asked if he could go home. They replied: 'We don't care about your illness. If you die, we will dig a grave for you here.'
      The whole experience is built around humiliation. We were blindfolded. We were shouted at. We were only allowed to the toilet once a day, for three seconds. We had to strip down to our underwear and someone would stand outside the door counting. If you didn't finish within three seconds you were beaten. I often didn't go; I was too worried. We were given water and food, but you don't want to drink when you can't go to the toilet.
      We were taken out of the cell to be beaten and I was interrogated several times. One time they took us to a room with an electric chair. I said no, this is too much, not this. They didn't use it but they have one – I saw it with my own eyes. They accused me of working for foreign gangs. They were angry about videos of the protests being leaked and they searched everyone's phones. They finally decided to let me go in the early hours of the morning, exhausted and bruised and battered. It was a horrible experience. This regime is brutal but also stupid. Everyone in there said they were angrier, not more afraid. You cannot forgive a regime that does this to you."
      Adnan's name has been changed to protect his identity

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    Default Re: Syria

    Middle East In Transition

    Anti-Government Protests Erupt in Syria, Security Forces Respond

    VOA News April 29, 2011
    [IMG]http://media.voanews.com/images/480*269/ReutersSyria29Apr2011-resizedpx480q100dpi96shp8.jpg[/IMG] Photo: Reuters

    Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration after Friday prayers in the Syrian port city of Banias, April 29, 2011

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    Thousands of anti-government demonstrators poured into streets across Syria on Friday, defying a days-long deadly government military crackdown on protesters.

    Western news reports quote witnesses who say security forces have opened fire on protesters in the coastal city of Latakia while forces fired warning shots into the air in an effort to prevent a protest in the southern flashpoint city of Daraa.

    Earlier, opponents of President Bashar al-Assad had called for nationwide "Day of Rage" protests after Friday prayers, in what has become a weekly outpouring of anger and dissent against President Assad's government.

    Syria's banned Muslim Brotherhood, for the first time, directly joined the call for protests. The group urged citizens to take to the streets in a statement saying "do not let the tyrant enslave you."

    In Geneva, the United Nations Human Rights Council has opened debate on a U.S. resolution calling for the creation of an independent commission to probe allegations of rights abuses in Syria.

    U.N. human rights deputy chief Kyung-wha Kang on Friday said the Syrian government "risks creating a downward spiral of anger, violence, killings and chaos."

    The U.N. Security Council failed earlier this week to agree on a statement condemning Syria's violence against protesters following resistance to the move by Syria's allies on the council - Russia, China and Lebanon.

    Hundreds of people have been killed in Syria since pro-democracy demonstrations first erupted six weeks ago. Much of the violence has taken place in Daraa, which has become the center of the protest movement.

    The government has sent soldiers into Daraa in the past week, backed by tanks and snipers, keeping residents off the streets.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syria army units clash as crackdown intensifies

    Published: 04.29.11, 08:57 / Israel News

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    Syrian army units have clashed with each other over following President Bashar Assad's orders to crack down on protesters in Daraa, a besieged city at the heart of the uprising, witnesses and human rights groups said.
    More than 450 people have been killed across Syria - about 100 in Daraa alone - and hundreds detained since the popular revolt against Assad began in mid-March, according to human rights groups. (AP)
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    Default Re: Syria

    Rudd tells Australians to leave Syria

    By Jeremy Thompson
    Posted 9 hours 13 minutes ago
    About 450 people are believed to have been killed during anti-government protests in Syria. (AFP)





    Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has told Australian travellers in Syria to leave as soon as possible.
    "Don't go. If you're there, use commercial aircraft to get out. That's what we're saying to Australian citizens," Mr Rudd said in London.
    He said Australia has four consular officials on the ground in the Syrian capital Damascus to help Australians leaving the country in the wake of recent violence.
    Human rights group Amnesty International says at least 55 people are believed to have been killed since protests erupted in and around the southern Syrian city of Deraa two weeks ago.
    They are part of the 450 believed killed in violence across the country amid anti-government protests.
    There are 300 Australian registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) as being in Syria and Mr Rudd said officials had contacted most of them.
    "The Australian Government, together with those of France and the United Kingdom, condemn absolutely the deployment of violence by the Syrian regime against its own people," he said.
    He said it was time the international community considered imposing sanctions on Syria.
    "Furthermore, we believe it's important that all countries of the world register through normal diplomatic means their views about the actions taken by the regime against their civilians."
    He said the senior Syrian official in Australia was called in to register Australia's "fundamental opposition" to the violence being meted out by the regime to its own people.
    Mr Rudd also plans to write to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, asking him to appoint a special envoy to Syria to find out exactly what is happening on the ground.
    Mr Rudd was in London meeting the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Perth in October.
    He said the group maintained its decision to suspend Fiji from the Commonwealth as a result of the 2006 military coup.
    "The reason being that we have seen no measurable change whatsoever by the Fiji military regime, in terms of the restoration of democracy in that country," Mr Rudd said.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syrian Forces Kill at Least Two Dozen Protesters


    Published April 29, 2011
    | FoxNews.com




    April 29: Lebanese soldiers stand guard as Syrian protesters carry pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and shout pro-government slogans in front of the Syrian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The banned Muslim Brotherhood urged Syrians to take to the streets on Friday as activists called for a "Day of Rage" against Assad's regime, which has stepped up its deadly crackdown on protesters by unleashing the army along with snipers and tanks. The Arabic on Assad's picture reads:" The crown of the nation." (AP)

    BEIRUT – Syrian security forces kill at least 24 people during anti-government protests Friday, according to Reuters.
    Thousands of Syrians chanting "We aren't afraid!" took to the streets Friday, calling for President Bashar Assad's downfall and pledging support for the besieged southern city of Daraa, where army tanks and snipers are trying to crush the six-week uprising, witnesses said.
    Syrian security forces opened fire on demonstrations in the capital of Damascus and the coastal city of Latakia -- the heartland of the ruling elite -- wounding at least five people. State-run television said a military post in Daraa was stormed by armed men who killed four soldiers and captured two.
    Other demonstrations were reported in the central city of Homs, the coastal cities of Banias and Latakia, the northern cities of Raqqa and Hama, and the northeastern town of Qamishli.
    Since the uprising in Syria began in mid-March, inspired by revolts across the Arab world, more than 450 people have been killed nationwide, activists say.

    A witness in Daraa, the city at the center of the revolt, said residents were staying home because the city has been under siege by the military since Monday, when thousands of soldiers stormed in backed by tanks and snipers. People were too afraid even to venture out to mosques for prayers, the witness said.
    "We are in our houses but our hearts are in the mosques," the witness said, asking that his name not be published for fear of reprisals.
    "Oh great Syrian army! Lift the blockade on Daraa!" protesters chanted in the Damascus suburb of Barzeh, according to video footage posted by activists on YouTube.
    Outside Homs, thousands chanted "We don't love you!" and "Bye, bye Bashar! We will see you in The Hague!" as the sound of gunfire crackled in the distance.
    Syria has banned nearly all foreign media and restricted access to trouble spots since the uprising began, making it almost impossible to verify the dramatic events shaking one of the most authoritarian, anti-Western regimes in the Arab world.
    Assad's regime has stepped up its deadly crackdown on protesters in recent days by unleashing the army along with snipers and tanks. On Friday, protesters came out in their thousands, defying the crackdown and using it as a rallying cry.
    Assad's attempts to crush the revolt -- the gravest challenge to his family's 40-year ruling dynasty -- have drawn international criticism and threats of sanctions from European countries and the United States.
    The government says the protests are a foreign conspiracy carried out by extremist forces and armed thugs, not true reform-seekers.
    Syrian TV said "armed terrorists" attacked a military post in the southern city of Daraa, killing four soldiers and capturing two. The station also said one of its cameramen was injured in Latakia in an attack by an armed gang.
    A witness in Latakia said about 1,000 people turned out for an anti-government rally when plainclothes security agents with automatic rifles opened fire. He said he saw at least five people wounded. Like many witnesses contacted by The Associated Press, he asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisal.
    In Damascus' central Midan neighborhood, witnesses said about 500 people marched and chanted, "God, Syria and freedom only!" in a heavy rain, but security forces opened fire with bullets and tear gas, scattering them. It was not clear if there were injuries.
    The government had warned against holding any demonstrations Friday and placed large banners around the capital that read: "We urge the brother citizens to avoid going out of your homes on Friday for your own safety." Syrian TV said the Interior Ministry has not approved any "march, demonstration or sit-in" and that such rallies seek only to harm Syria's security and stability.
    Many of the protests were held in solidarity with more than 50 people killed in the last week in Daraa. A devastating picture was emerging from the city -- which is largely sealed off, without electricity, water and telephones -- as residents flee to neighboring countries.
    At the Jordanian side of the Syrian border, several Daraa residents who had just crossed over said there is blood on the streets of the city.
    "Gunfire is heard across the city all the time," one man said, asking that his name not be used for fear of retribution. "People are getting killed in the streets by snipers if they leave their homes."
    An AP reporter at the border heard gunfire and saw smoke rising from different areas just across the frontier. Residents said the gunfire has been constant for three weeks.
    The Muslim Brotherhood urged Syrians to demonstrate Friday against Assad in the first time the outlawed group has openly encouraged the protests in Syria. The Brotherhood was crushed by Assad's father, Hafez, after staging an uprising against his regime in 1982.
    "You were born free, so don't let a tyrant enslave you," said the statement, issued by the Brotherhood's exiled leadership.
    But he has acknowledged the need for reforms, offering overtures of change in recent weeks while brutally cracking down on demonstrations.
    Last week, Syria's Cabinet abolished the state of emergency, in place for decades, and approved a new law allowing the right to stage peaceful protests with the permission of the Interior Ministry.
    But the protesters, enraged by the mounting death toll, no longer appear satisfied with the changes and are increasingly seeking the regime's downfall.
    "The people want the downfall of the regime," said an activist in the coastal city of Banias -- echoing the cries heard during the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions.
    Syria has banned nearly all foreign media and restricted access to trouble spots since the uprising began, making it almost impossible to verify the dramatic events shaking one of the most authoritarian, anti-Western regimes in the Arab world.
    Witnesses and human rights groups said Syrian army units clashed with each other over following Assad's orders to crack down on protesters in Daraa, where the uprising started.
    While the troops' infighting in Daraa does not indicate any decisive splits in the military, it is significant because Assad's army has always been the regime's fiercest defender.
    It is the latest sign that cracks -- however small -- are developing in Assad's base of support that would have been unimaginable just weeks ago. Also, about 200 mostly low-level members of Syria's ruling Baath Party have resigned over Assad's brutal crackdown.
    Meanwhile, diplomats say the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency is setting the stage for potential U.N. Security Council action on Syria as it prepares a report assessing that a Syrian target bombed by Israeli warplanes in 2007 was likely a secretly built nuclear reactor meant to produce plutonium.
    Such a conclusion would back intelligence produced by Israel and the United States. Syria says the nearly finished building had no nuclear uses. It has repeatedly turned down requests by the International Atomic Energy Agency to revisit the site after allowing an initial 2008 inspection that found evidence of possible nuclear activities.
    Three diplomats and a senior U.N. official said such an assessment -- drawn up by IAEA chief Yukiya Amano -- would be the basis of a Western-sponsored resolution at a meeting of the 35-nation IAEA board that condemns Syria's refusal to cooperate with the agency and kicks the issue to the U.N. Security Council. All spoke on condition of anonymity because the information they discussed was confidential.
    Separately, the United States and the European Union urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate possible abuses in Syria and insist that Assad allow in foreign journalists and ease Internet restrictions. Diplomats from Nigeria and China, however, warned that any council action could be interpreted as meddling.
    The U.S. and Western diplomats also plan to rally opposition to Syria's unopposed candidacy to join the 47-nation council.



    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/04...#ixzz1Kvx1J8TM
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    Default Re: Syria

    Muslim Brotherhood Urges Protests In Syria

    6:17am UK, Friday April 29, 2011

    The banned Muslim Brotherhood has called on Syrians to take to the streets to protest against the regime ahead of Friday prayers.

    VIDEO

    The declaration is the first time that the Brotherhood, whose leadership is in exile, have called directly for demonstrations since pro-democracy demonstrations against President Bashar al Assad's autocratic rule erupted six weeks ago.

    It comes as members of the country's army units have reportedly clashed with each other over the crackdown on protesters in the city of Deraa - the heart of the popular uprising.

    More than 500 people have been killed across Syria - about 100 in Deraa alone - since the revolt against President Assad began in mid-March, according to human rights groups.

    Ausama Monajed, a spokesman for a group of opposition figures in Syria and abroad, said the clashes among the troops have occurred since President Assad sent the army into the city on Monday.

    He said: "There are some battalions that refused to open fire on the people.


    Amateur video of a man throwing a rock at a tank reportedly in Deraa

    "Battalions of the 5th Division were protecting people, and returned fire when they were subjected to attacks by the 4th Division."

    The 4th division is run by the president's brother, Maher.

    The Syrian government has denied there have been clashes between army units.

    The reported infighting in Deraa does not indicate any decisive splits in the military.

    But the development is being seen as significant because President Assad's army has been seen as a bastion of support for the regime.

    The Assad regime has been heavily criticised internationally and the US is considering tightening sanctions against the country.

    European governments will discuss the situation on Friday.

    A push for the UN Security Council to condemn the crackdown was blocked by Russia, China and Lebanon on Wednesday night.

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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/wo..._r=2&ref=world


    Hundreds Reported Arrested as Syria’s Crackdown Widens
    By THE NEW YORK TIMES
    Published: May 9, 2011

    The scale and ferocity of the crackdown, which singled out activists in the Damascus suburbs and at least a dozen cities from the Mediterranean coast to the poor steppe of southern Syria, suggested that President Bashar al-Assad was more intent than ever on crushing the uprising, which echoes rebellions that have felled autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt.

    Mr. Assad’s government, which has barred most foreign journalists from reporting on the unrest, has repeatedly tried to portray the crackdown as a fight with militant Islamists, and state news media has carried detailed reports of battles between Islamists and the army almost daily.

    Al-Watan, a private pro-government newspaper, quoted Mr. Assad on Monday as saying that "the current crisis in Syria will be overcome and that the process of administrative, political and media reforms are continuing." His remarks, it said, came during a meeting with a local delegation on Sunday.

    Wissam Tarif, executive director of Insan, a Syrian human rights group, described the government’s actions Monday as part of what he called a cleanup operation to isolate antigovernment sympathizers and render them incapable of organizing.

    “They tried to rebuild the wall of fear, and they failed,” Mr. Tarif said. “So next, they will move to completely cut communications all over the country.”

    Nearly all communications to besieged locales have been severed since the uprising started in March.

    In Baniyas, one of Syria’s most restive cities and home to two oil refineries, more than 300 people, including women and children, were arrested on Monday, and gunfire was heard throughout the day, according to Mr. Tarif. Phones, electricity and water have been cut since Saturday morning when at least 30 tanks raided the northern coastal city of 50,000 people.

    “They want to arrest everyone who can participate in the demonstrations,” an activist in Baniyas said by phone. He also said that among those who were detained were two leading organizers of demonstrations, Mostapha Yasseen and Anas al-Shughrai, and the imam of the city’s biggest main mosque, Sheikh Anas Irotah.

    Al Baath, the Syrian newspaper that is the mouthpiece of the government, said in a report on Monday that the operation in Baniyas would “end within a few hours” and that “cautious calm” had been restored to the city.

    Army troops also raided Homs, Syria’s third largest city, where 14 protesters were killed on Sunday. The armed forces surrounded at least two neighborhoods and hundreds were reported arrested, residents said. Checkpoints were set up on major streets and intersections and people were searched upon leaving and entering the city, according to Abu Haydar, a witness reached by phone.

    He said there were reports of dead and wounded in Baba Amr, a neighborhood that was bombed overnight, but troops prevented ambulances from entering.

    “They want to finish everything this week,” a human rights advocate in Homs said by phone. “No one in the regime has a clear policy. They cannot keep this strategy for a long time. We need political solutions, not more tanks.”

    Al Maadamiyah, a town on the outskirts of Damascus, which has witnessed major demonstrations, was also raided on Monday with tanks stationed near two mosques and hundreds detained, according to activists, who said an exact number was hard to quantify because communications had been cut.

    Mr. Tarif said that residents reported seeing nine buses loaded with detainees, including women, leaving the town earlier Monday. He also said that nine other towns on the outskirts of Damascus were raided on Monday.

    Backed by at least eight tanks, Syrian troops swept through hundreds of houses in Tafas, an impoverished town in the south near the restive city of Dara’a, arresting men from the ages of 18 to 45. Activists said the town was now under siege and residents reported hearing heavy gunfire throughout the day.

    Lina Mansour, an activist in Damascus, said that human rights activists carrying food and water tried on Saturday to enter Dara’a, which has been under siege for more than two weeks, but that an army officer in charge told them they would have to shoot him before they could go on.

    “I think some army officers and troops are sympathizing with people, “ Ms Mansour said. “But they can’t do much.”

    Syrian state news media reported on Monday that Mr. Assad had met with local representatives from Al Maadamiyah and other Damascus suburbs and discussed problems in their towns and cities.

    The uprising in Syria began in mid-March after authorities arrested teenagers caught scrawling antiregime graffiti on walls in Dara’a.



    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Mid...#axzz1LssFo76P


    Syrian tycoon warns Israel of chaos, vows to fight
    May 11, 2011 03:59 PM
    Agence France Press

    NEW YORK: Syrian tycoon Rami Makhlouf warned Israel of instability if the regime of his cousin President Bashar al-Assad falls, vowing to “fight to the end,” according to The New York Times.

    “If there is no stability here, there’s no way there will be stability in Israel,” said Makhlouf, who is on a list of 13 Syrian figures subjected to European Union sanctions for their role in violence against protesters opposing Assad’s autocratic government.

    “Nobody can guarantee what will happen after, God forbids, anything happens to this regime,” Makhlouf told the U.S. daily.

    “What I’m saying is don’t let us suffer, don’t put a lot of pressure on the president, don’t push Syria to do anything it is not happy to do,” said Makhlouf who is a member of Assad’s Alawite minority.

    The regime of Assad has maintained calm along its borders despite close ties with Iran, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

    In videos posted on YouTube by Syrian activists, protesters have called on the Syrian regime to send its troops to the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 war and later annexed, instead of using them to attack Syrian demonstrators.

    Assad’s regime has been battling a pro-democracy uprising across the country since March 15. Between 600 and 700 people have been killed and at least 8,000 arrested since then, rights groups say.

    However, the Syrian regime appears determined to continue to fight for its survival. “We have a lot of fighters,” said Makhlouf.

    “The decision of the government now is that they decided to fight,” said Makhlouf, widely-despised by opponents for allegedly exploiting his relation with the president to build his commercial empire, including Syriatel, the largest cellphone operator in the country.

    “We will sit here. We call it a fight until the end.”

    For almost two months, near-daily protests have railed against Assad’s regime, while troops and security forces have brutally repressed the uprising.

    The EU is to look at fresh sanctions this week against Assad’s regime, its diplomacy chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday.



    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=220078


    Report: Lebanon turning away Syrian refugees at border
    By JPOST.COM STAFF
    05/11/2011 14:52

    Lebanese security forces are rounding up Syrian refugees and sending them back to Syria, The Guardian reported.

    In the small town of Tell Kalakh, near the Syria-Lebanon border, witnesses reported being rounded up by Lebanese security forces and facing roadblocks. The Guardian interviewed several local residents who said the Syrians had been placed in the custody of Syrian security forces.


    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



  19. #39
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/12/wo..._r=2&ref=world


    Syrians Report Shelling of City and Mass Arrests
    By THE NEW YORK TIMES
    Published: May 11, 2011

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — At least 10,000 protesters have been detained in the past several days in a mass arrest campaign aimed at quelling a seven-week uprising in Syria against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, activists said, as fresh shelling of a residential neighborhood was reported on Wednesday from Homs, the country’s third largest city.

    The shelling, most intense between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., appeared to signal a further escalation in the crackdown.

    “The situation is so bad this morning,” Abu Haydar, a resident there, said by telephone. “It’s been continuous shelling since Sunday.”

    He said he spent the night in a basement and described the city as paralyzed, with only grocery stores and pharmacies daring to open. Checkpoints had proliferated through the city, with security forces checking residents’ identity documents, Mr. Haydar said.

    The Syrian government has widened its crackdown to include more cities and towns. On Tuesday, activists said army troops, backed by tanks, entered Hama, in central Syria, and several southern villages near Dara’a, the impoverished and besieged town in a region known as the Houran that has become a symbol of the uprising.

    “The big question now is what’s next,” said Wissam Tarif, executive director of Insan, a Syrian human rights group. “They are about to announce victory, but what will happen when they pull the troops out?”

    As reports of violence continued, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, urged the Syrian government to put an end to its violent crackdown, pressing for an “immediate, verifiable cease-fire.”

    “I urge President Assad to heed the calls of the people for reform and freedom and desist from excessive force and mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators, and to cooperate with the human rights monitors,” he said at a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

    At least seven people were killed in demonstrations on Monday night — three in Maadamiyah, a Damascus suburb, and four in Deir al Zour, a town in northeastern Syria, he said.

    “The people are very angry and they swear they will be protesting again,” a resident who lives near Othman bin Affan mosque in Deir al Zour said by telephone. The protesters were killed in front of the mosque, which security forces closed two weeks ago to worshipers to prevent them from organizing demonstrations.

    Heavy gunfire was also heard Tuesday in at least four southern villages, including Inkhil, Dael, Jassem, Sanamein and Nawa. Activists reported casualties though the numbers were difficult to ascertain, given the difficulties in communication and the Syrian government’s suppression of independent news gathering. Phones have been cut in most besieged towns and cities.

    The military operations came as activists called for daily protests across the country on the Facebook page of Syrian Revolution 2011, an Internet-based opposition group.

    “The Tuesday of solidarity with prisoners of conscience in the jails of the Syrian criminal regime,” the page said. “The demonstration will continue every day.”

    In the capital, Damascus, security forces reinforced their presence, setting up more checkpoints and sending out more patrols, residents there reported. The measures came after 250 people, including university students and professionals, staged a small demonstration on Monday night in Arnoua Square in the heart of the city. The protesters, holding banners that read, “Stop the siege on our cities,” and, “A national dialogue is the solution,” were quickly dispersed by plainclothes police officers. Thirty-two of them were detained, Mr. Tarif said.

    Protesters in Homs said they are planning a demonstration, even as the city reels under heavy security measures.

    “We are changing strategies,” said Mr. Haydar, the resident in Homs reached by telephone. “We don’t want to reveal the location of our gathering. We want to surprise the security forces.” At least two neighborhoods have been completely isolated, with phones, electricity and water cut and no one allowed to enter or leave, Mr. Haydar said.

    The army was also conducting operations in cities along the Mediterranean coast, including Baniyas and Jabla, both under siege for several days. In Baniyas, 63 people have been arrested since Monday night, bringing the total number arrested since Saturday to 419, Mr. Tarif said.

    Meanwhile, Dorothy Parvez, a reporter who works for Al Jazeera English, the Qatar-based satellite channel, left Syria aboard a Ukrainian Airways flight headed to Iran on May 2, Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Mr. Assad, said on Monday. She said Ms. Parvez had entered the country on April 29 on her Iranian passport.

    Al Jazeera has reported that she was detained by Syrian authorities and, in an e-mailed statement Tuesday, it said it had nothing new to add.



    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/internat...ing-3-1.361048


    Syria forces open fire on protesters near Daraa, killing 3
    Reported crackdowns come amid The Guardian report according claiming Syrians crossing into Lebanon in the hope of finding refuge from violence back home are arrested and returned.
    By Haaretz Service

    Syrian rights activists say security forces have opened fire on anti-government protesters in southern Syria, killing at least three people as the government moves to crush a popular nationwide revolt.

    President Bashar Assad has dispatched army troops backed by tanks to a cluster of villages near the southern city of Daraa where the uprising against the regime began in mid-March.

    Demonstrators took the streets of some of those villages despite the heavy security presence, and activists said Wednesday that three protesters were killed after forces fired on crowds in the village of Jassem late Tuesday.

    The activists spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

    More than 750 people have been killed since the beginning of the crackdown, according to a rights group.

    The report came after on Tuesday British daily The Guardian reported that Lebanon was turning back refugees attempting to flee Syrian President Bashar Assad's violent crackdown against the country's civilians.

    According to The Guardian, hundreds of Syrians who crossed the border with Lebanon in the hope of finding refuge with Lebanese Sunni Muslims, were arrested by intelligence agents and sent back to face the violence at home.

    On Wednesday Syrian army tanks shelled the Bab Amro residential district in the country's third largest city of Homs on Wednesday, a human rights campaigner in the city said.

    "Homs is shaking with the sound of explosions from tank shelling and heavy machineguns," said Najati Tayrara.

    Earlier this week, Syrian security forces arrested scores of people on Monday in two restive cities where Assad has sent troops to crush a seven-week-old revolt against his authoritarian rule, a human rights group said.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said people were detained in the central city of Homs and in Banias on the Mediterranean coast -- the latest focus of Assad's escalated crackdown against protesters, as well as other regions.

    Rights groups say more than 600 people have been killed and 8,000 jailed or gone missing in Syria as part of a crackdown on protesters since March. Opposition groups put the death toll at over 700.


    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



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