Sunday May 29th the Syrian American community from Chicago, New York, New Jersey and around the United States came together in Washington DC for a day of remembrance and solidarity with the Syrian democracy protesters. The Syrian Emergency Task Force hosted a protest in front of the White House at Lafayette Park to remember the martyrs who have been killed by the brutal “Mokhabarat”, government Security Forces, and call for an end to the killing of innocent civilians.
After the demonstration the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) hosted a dinner for the community to raise awareness and support for both the humanitarian crisis and the lawsuit they have filed against the regime. Working with Muslims without Borders and Islamic Relief, SETF helped them highlight the urgency of this crisis.
SETF asked for help from the community to build support for the cause of the democracy protesters and a free Syria. The lawsuit they filed is constantly growing because more and more victims come forward, and they are always looking for more people who were affected by the violence to add their names. In addition to supplementing the lawsuit they asked for help with lobbying their congressmen and senators to pass a resolution and condemn the president and the regime for their cruelty. They also asked everyone to call the Russian and Chinese embassies to implore the governments to step away and stop vetoing UN resolutions on Syria.
Chinese Embassy in DC
(202) 338-6688, (202)5889760
Or find another consulate: http://www.visarite.com/chnConsulate.htm?gclid=COWk86CAkakCFQl75QodsVjroA
Russian Embassy in DC
(202) 298-5700, (202) 298-5735
Contact your Congressman: http://house.gov/ you can find your Congressman by entering your zip cod top right of the page.
To contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/ you can find your Senetor by looking up your state on the top right of the page.
Call the White House: 202-456-1414 http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Call the U.S. State Department: 202-647-4000 and 202-647-6575
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Chairman of Foreign Relation Committee: 202-224-2742
Dear fellow Syrian American,
Greetings of peace, salam. Please accept my sincere thanks for heeding the call of the Syrian American Council to gather in Washington, D.C., on May 24. You came from across the United States representing different walks of life of the Syrian American community. Your overwhelming response on this day was clear evidence of your genuine concern and unwavering support of the Syrian people‘s right to freedom, dignity and democracy. Your individual participation in the unified effort transformed this concern and support into an organized, honorable and sustained plan of action. Rapidly escalating events in which innocent Syrians are being killed, tortured and detained by the thousands makes a timely response crucial.
The day started early for many of the attendees as they met with members of Congress or their senior staff, expressing our Syrian American stance in support of Syrians’ right to freedom, dignity and democracy, and that we are against any foreign military intervention in Syria. With a larger base of SAC members in the future, we hope to increase the effectiveness of our lobbying effort by ensuring that every member of Congress meets with a group of his or her constituents.
As you know, the day continued with a powerful rally in front of the Syrian Embassy. A SAC delegation met with Dr. Imad Moustapha, to present the demands of Syrian Americans both verbally and witha written letter. While he held fast to the Syrian government’s position, we left the embassy making the following points clear: we, as Syrian Americans stand in full solidarity with our fellow Syrians’ right to freedom and democracy, we hold Dr. Bashar and his government fully responsible for the bloodshed, the sole deciders of Syria’s future are the peaceful protesters on the Syrian street, we will not take part in any negotiations with either the embassy or the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and we are against any foreign military intervention in Syria.
At the afternoon meeting at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, it was inspiring to see more than 400 Syrian Americans from across the US filling the hall. The meeting started with a policy statement by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jake Walles. He was followed by speakers from different backgrounds who echoed the demands of Syrian Americans calling for freedom, dignity and democracy for all Syrians, and declared that a regime that systematically kills its own people is illegitimate.
“Freedom for Syria Day” was a watershed moment in Syrian Americans’ activism for Syria, but the real success will be measured by our joint efforts after this event. As you learned at the meeting, several national committees have been formed. The chairs of each committee will be communicating with those who expressed interest in them in order to put these committees into action (SAC .
We are also calling on you for your financial support for Syria and for the Syrian American Council. Please help SAC continue our advocacy work by donating online at https://sacongre.ipower.com/donate.php or by sending a check to P.O. Box 371, Willow Springs, IL 60480. With your continued support, we can remain a strong advocate for Syrians’ right to freedom, dignity, and democracy.
President, SAC National
تحركت الجالية السورية – الأمريكية في اتجاه العاصمة واشنطن من كل الولايات لتسجل بذلك أكبر حضور جماهري مناهض لنظام بشار الأسد في أميركا منذ انطلاق موجة الاحتجاجات في البلاد، تزامنا مع الضغوط المتزايدة على النظام السوري
حمل السوريون – الأمريكيون أعلام سوريا وصور الضحايا وانطلقوا من أمام البيت الأبيض يجوبون شوارع العاصمة الأمريكية في اتجاه السفارة السورية بحثا عن صدى يعكس تذمرهم ونداءاتهم بوقف العنف على إخوانهم في داخل البلاد.
Editor’s note: Watch Damon and Ajami discuss Syria here.
(CNN) – Two more people died amid protests in Syria today, as government troops and tanks surrounded one town and apparently shelled another for a second day, according to protest organizers and a witness.
That takes the total number of dead to about 830. One of those deaths is giving a new face to the atrocities happening in Syria: 13 year old Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb. After his mutilated body was returned to his family, Syrians gathered in what may be their biggest and most significant protest yet. Hamza’s apparent torture has caused widespread outrage.
So will this new symbol of the brutality of the Assad regime rally Syrians to a critical mass?
Tune into AC360° tonight beginning at 10pm ET for a discussion with CNN’s Arwa Damon and the Prof. Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University. Damon has what may be surprising reporting on why the Syrian government may want people to see Hamza’s body, and Ajami explains why he believes “we live in a cruel world” in which the West won’t be coming to the aid of the Syrian people.
The United Nations has condemned the “shocking” brutality of Bashar al-Assad‘s government, with activists saying that at least 15 people have been killed in the latest crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
“The brutality and magnitude of measures taken by the governments in Libya and now Syria have been particularly shocking in their outright disregard for basic human rights,”
she told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
For a second straight day on Monday, dozens of tanks circled towns and villages in the Homs area, north of Damascus.
At least 14 people were shot dead on Sunday and Monday in Rastan and Talbiseh, towns in the flashpoint central region of Homs.
Among those killed was “a little girl called Hajar al-Khatib”, the AFP news agency reported.
“Two bodies were found at dawn on Monday in the Baba Amr neighbourhood of Homs”,
which the security forces had closed off with several roadblocks, an activist, who said he had a list of names, told the AFP anonymously.
For its part, Syria’s deputy foreign minister accused Western powers of seeking a return “to the colonial era” in his country by initiating action against his country at the UN, the official SANA news agency reported.
“It is about imposing hegemony on Syria and using the United Nations as a way of re-establishing colonialism and to justify interference,” Faisal Meqdad said.
‘Culture of violence’
In her remarks, the UN’s Pillay said “resort to lethal or excessive force against peaceful demonstrators not only violates fundamental rights, including the right to life, but serves to exacerbate tensions and tends to breed a culture of violence”.
She also renewed a call to the Syrian authorities to allow a fact-finding mission to visit the country.
At least 13 people were arrested on Monday in Daraa, a hotbed of the unrest, Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.
“The security forces have encircled Mleiha in Daraa province” and carried out arrests, he said, adding that he had the names of 13 detainees.
Also on Monday, police continued to sweep the Homs region as hundreds of people wounded in the crackdown were hospitalised in the nearby city of Hama.
SANA said four soldiers were killed and 14 wounded by “terrorist groups” in Talbiseh on Sunday before a number were arrested and a large quantity of weapons seized.
Activists said protesters took to the streets of Hama and Saraqeb, near Idleb in the northwest, during the night to call for the downfall of Assad’s government. Hundreds of people also marched on Sunday in Douma and Jdaidat, on the outskirts of Damascus.
More than 1,000 people have been killed and 10,000 arrested since the revolt began, human-rights groups say. Syrian authorities say 143 soldiers, security forces and police have been killed.
Egypt joined on Monday the chorus of countries urging Assad’s government to enact reforms to satisfy pro-democracy protesters.
“We hope that the Syrians in a peaceful manner resolve their problems,”
Nabil al-Arabi, Cairo’s foreign minister, said during a trip to India.
“Whatever reforms the people would like, it should be looked at in a positive manner.”
The Week Ending 29 May 2011
30 May 2011
Eight people have been killed on Friday of Homeland Protectors (Homat Al-Diyar). The Syrian authorities have meanwhile continued the broad campaign of arrests, which according to Syrian rights sources have so far resulted in more than ten thousand detainees and one thousand, one hundred civilian deaths. Reports have emerged of the killing of five civilians in a military operation carried out by the Syrian army in the city of Rastan, close to Homs. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem has meanwhile stated that it is Europe that will suffer as a result of the sanctions it has imposed on prominent Syrian figures, among them the Syrian president Bashar Assad. Syrian activists this Friday called for demonstrations on Saturday, naming them ‘the Saturday Revolution of the Fallen Hero Hamza Al-Khateeb’ after the child who was tortured and killed. Lebanese Hezbollah MPs have promised not to add any pressure to the international pressure on the Syrian authorities. In a telephone conversation with the Syrian president, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed that Turkey is intent on maintaining the strategic relationship with Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reassured the Syrian authorities by announcing that he will reject the tabling of the Syrian issue at the international Security Council. Meanwhile the leaders of the G8 summit have stated that reforms would allow Syria to play a positive role in the region.
The Finance Ministry has issued a general communication asking all public authorities not to send any additional requests or undertake any transfers from the public budget for 2011. The Ministry of Finance, in coordination with the Central Bank of Syria, has promised to repay the loans provided by banks operating in Syria to finance last year’s grain season. A reduction in diesel prices in the Syrian market has had a positive impact on agricultural production in Syria in particular. Numerous campaigns to encourage depositing in Syrian governmental banks have continued, in order to support the Syrian pound and the national economy. Meanwhile a decrease in revenues of as much as 50% has been recorded by shipping and transfer companies.
The child martyr Hamza Al-Khateeb – who was only thirteen years of age – has become a symbol of the Syrian revolution following the revelation of his tragic torture and killing. Meanwhile a Reuters correspondent has related the details of his bitter experience of degradation and cockroaches while under arrest in Syria. Syrians who have participated in the demonstrations in Syria have told stories of the torture they faced at the hands of the Syrian security forces. The Syrian actor Jamal Suliman has topped Syria’s list of honour created by Syrians on Facebook, which includes artists who support change in Syria.
Syria in the International Press
Western sources are discussing a Turkish-American road map related to the crisis in Syria, in which the Syrian opposition conference represents an important and significant step. Amnesty International has meanwhile obtained a video showing members of the Syrian security forces shooting to kill in order to suppress the protests in Syria. Various agencies have meanwhile reported how a funeral of martyred Syrians transformed into new demonstrations. Analysts have considered that the Syrian president could face a coup by the Syrian army.
From the Syrian Press
Minister for Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Riyad Hijab has confirmed that the Ministry has allocated $6 million to stabilise the population in villages harmed by drought. So called “armed gangs” have been accused by the Syrian media of attacking a policeman and his children in the area of Zabadani. Meanwhile the people of the eastern region are missing out on job opportunities because of errors in the population register. The “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) chanting called for by Syrian activist as a means of announcing their protest has been seen by the Syrian press as a means of incitement and provocation.