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Dan Rather Reports, “Inside Syria”


If you did not know you need to know,

Please do not stick your head in the sand.

It is about time, please get involve, help in stopping the killing, the right to self-determination is a basic universal rights and everyone should have that right.

Freedom for Syria Day in Washington D.C


Syrian American Council

invites you to

 Freedom for Syria Day

 on

May 24, 2011

at

Hyatt RegencyWashington DC

The Syrian American Council (SAC), a grassroots organization representing many Syrian Americans, is organizing a day of solidarity with the Syrian people to support popular demands for freedom and political change in Syria.
This event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, 2011, and will take place at Hyatt Regency, Washington DC. The meetings are open to all Syrian Americans who support the calls for political changes, and are concerned about the increasingly violent suppression of peaceful protests demanding freedom and political changes.
Agenda
The Freedom for Syria Day in Washington DC will include meetings with representatives of human rights organizations, US congressmen, representatives of Arab American and Muslim American organizations, and members of the diplomatic corps of key countries. We hope to achieve the following to objectives:
  • Visits to congressmen to demand a resolution in support democratic changes.
  • Draft a plan to support the demands of the Syrian people for freedom.
  • Form committees and task forces to help implement the plan.
Schedule
  • 10:00 am -12:00 noon:  the morning session involves a rally in front of the Congress at the Capitol Hill in support of Syrian People demands, and visits to congressmen on Capitol Hill.
  • 2:00 -6:00 pm: Afternoon session is devoted to meetings with human rights organizations and other representatives, approving plan for action, and forming the committees and new chapters, and will take place at Hyatt Regency.
Participation is free but advanced registration is required. 
To register, please send an email to syriaday@sacouncil.com
or
call (630)642-0026
Please visit www.sacouncil.com for more detail and update
Participants will be responsible for travel, hotel, and meals.  Participants traveling from other cities who plan to spend the night in Washington DC are advised to contact Hyatt Regency directly for booking, and mention SAC for discounted rates. The hotel is located at 400 New Jersey Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20001.
Please call 202-737-1234 for reservations and to obtain other hotel information.
We urge all Syrian Americans who care about human rights and the future of Syria to attend

Opposition says Assad vows not to fire on rally


An adviser to Syria President Bashar al-Assad has promised government forces will not fire on protests planned for Friday, an opposition leader says.

Louay al-Husein told the BBC he and other opposition leaders had been in talks with adviser Buthaina Shabaan to negotiate an end to the crisis.

Reports say tanks and soldiers are already being set up in some cities in preparation for Friday’s rallies.

Hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested since protests began in March.

Mr Assad’s government insists it is pursuing “armed terrorist gangs”.

Meanwhile, government forces continued to arrest democracy campaigners in several cities on Thursday, a rights group said.

‘Getting ready’

Mr Husein, who was detained at the start of the unrest but freed a few days later, said Ms Shabaan had told the opposition that security forces had been given strict orders not to fire on crowds on Friday.

Ms Shabaan also said talks would continue next week, Mr Husein added.

Thousands have been arrested in two months of protests against President Assad

It seems they are getting ready for tomorrow”

However some reports suggested security forces were being deployed in cities where protests are expected.

In the central city of Homs, a resident told AP news agency that soldiers had set up sand barriers with machine guns perched on top, and said that three tanks were still in the area.

“It seems they are getting ready for tomorrow,” he told AP.

Syrian soldiers and tanks also surrounded the city of Hama, the news agency reported.

On Wednesday, 18 people were reportedly killed as tanks shelled Homs and clashes were reported in towns and villages around Deraa, where the protests began.

Security forces also broke up thousands of students taking part in a demonstration in Aleppo, Syria‘s second largest city, witnesses said.

The protest, thought to have been be the city’s

Continue reading the main story

Are you in Syria? What is happening where you are? Send us your pictures, videos and comments using the form below.

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to61124 (UK) or +44 7725 100 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

US Secretary Clinton Toughens Tone Toward Syria (Washington Post)


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By   Published: May 12, 2011

NUUK, Greenland — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clintonmoved the United States a step closer to calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Thursday as she denounced his government’s intensifying crackdown on protesters.

“The recent events in Syria make clear that the country cannot return to the way it was before,” she said at the opening of remarks with Denmark’s foreign minister before a meeting here among Arctic nations. “Tanks and bullets and clubs will not solve Syria’s political and economic challenges.”

The Obama administration has criticized Syrian government repeatedly and imposed largely symbolic sanctions on three senior security officials, but it has stopped short of calling for Mr. Assad’s removal or pursuing more aggressive diplomatic measures at, for example, the United Nations Security Council. Its patience appears to be running out.

Mrs. Clinton said that the United States would pursue “additional steps to hold Syria responsible for its gross human rights abuses,” which she cataloged in her remarks: hundreds of deaths, unlawful detentions, torture and the denial of medical care to the wounded.

“There may be some who think this is a sign of strength,” she said, “but treating one’s own people in this way is in fact a sign of remarkable weakness.”

A senior official elaborated that the administration was now considering imposing sanctions on additional Syrian officials. That could include Mr. Assad himself. The American sanctions have so far frozen the assets of three officials, including Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother and a brigade commander involved in the military operations against protesters. Since Syrian leaders are believed to keep their money in European or Middle Eastern banks, putting it…

Read the full story… Washington Post 

Death Toll Mounts in Syria as Army Deploys Tanks Against Demonstrators


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By Massoud A. Derhally – May 12, 2011

Syria’s government deployed tanks against demonstrators, boosting the death toll after almost two months of unrest, according to Syrian human-rights activists.

At least 24 protesters have been killed in the last two days, including 13 who died when the village of Hara outside the southern city of Daraa was shelled, Mahmoud Merhi of the Arab Organization for Human Rights said by phone from Syria today. At least six people died in an assault on the city of Homs yesterday and five in Jassem the past two days, said Merhi and Ammar Qurabi, the head of the National Organization for Human Rights. Two soldiers were killed, Merhi said.

Security forces also forcefully dispersed about 2,000 people who had gathered at a demonstration at the residential compound of a university in the city of Aleppo, Merhi said, adding that protesters were beaten with clubs.

The Bab Amro neighborhood of Homs, which tanks began shelling yesterday morning, remains closed, a resident of the city said in an interview today. Electricity, water and telecommunications in the neighborhood have been cut, he said. Buildings were destroyed in the shelling and the number of people killed may be much higher than what has been reported, he said, adding that people are calling for protests tomorrow.

Homes Searched

Yesterday’s operations followed attacks the previous day on demonstrators in the capital, Damascus, and flash-point cities including Daraa, where the uprising began in mid-March. The continuing suppression of protests in Syria and Yemen comes after revolts against longtime leaders in Egypt and Tunisia helped spread unrest through the Middle East.

House-to-house searches and a “large number” of arrests that began two days ago have continued in the Damascus district of al-Muadamiya, which was encircled on May 9, Qurabi said. A curfew is in effect and people have been barred from prayer at the mosques, he said.

The army has said it is pursuing “terrorist elements” in the suburbs of Homs, where it arrested “dozens” of wanted people and confiscated arms and ammunition, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported. The government said on May 5 the army had begun a gradual retreat from Daraa, where the protests began in mid-March, after completing its mission by arresting “terrorist elements and restoring security and calm.”

Hundreds Killed

More than 750 demonstrators have been killed since the uprising began, according to Qurabi and Merhi, who have compiled lists of the names of victims. The number of dead probably grew after yesterday’s shelling and in light of the large number of people the two men say are missing. As many as 10,000 have been detained in the past two months, Qurabi has said.

Tanks were headed toward the city of Hama, near Homs, Merhi said yesterday. Hama was the site of an Islamist-led uprising in 1982 that was crushed by President Bashar al-Assad’s father and predecessor, Hafez al-Assad, leaving 10,000 people dead. About 100 tanks are positioned along the 45-kilometer (28-mile) road between Homs and Hama, Qurabi said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Assad can’t deny his people’s “indispensable requests for peace and democracy.” Assad should take immediate democratic steps as the momentum toward democracy in the Middle East is “irreversible,” Erdogan said in an interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose in Ankara aired today.

EU Sanctions

The Syrian uprising drew initial pledges of reform from Assad, who lifted an emergency law in place since 1963 and named a new government. He hasn’t repeated the…

Read the full article 

To contact the reporter on this story: Massoud A. Derhally in Beirut, Lebanon, atmderhally@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

3 Rules to Establishing Truth through a Video


Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 7:53 | James Miller

The first casualty in war is truth, but the first casualty in the Arab Spring is a reliable video feed. In places like Syria, as in Iran, independent media has been kicked out, shut down, or censored to the point that the only people who can document the protests and the violent crackdown against them are the demonstrators themselves.

For the last two years, those of us who follow the opposition in Iran have picked through streams of YouTube videos to separate the real from the faked. Now an exiled Syrian activist, writing under the screen name “Revolt for Your Life”, has posted three guidelines for protesters to assist journalists trying to cover their stories.

1. “The person filming the demonstration gives the time, place and location of the protest.” We know it’s a tough job, trying to video a protest without getting caught, but some sort of marker, especially of the time/date, is crucial. There are a lot people out there, cheerleaders, manipulators, and regime agents who want to discredit the protesters and the media by faking videos. The easiest way to do this is to show an old video, claim it to be taken that day, and get some usually-reliable journalists or Twitter accounts to run with it.

“Revolt for Your Life” gives two examples, videos where the videographer narrates the time, date, location, and other relevant information. There are other ways of doing this. Holding a newspaper, or perhaps changing the name of the event (every Friday’s protest has a different name, so mentioning that name can pinpoint time and date). If the video is a series, even adding information to the first video would help corroborate the rest. The more information, the better.  This is your revolution, and it is your neck on the line, so it would be a shame to take a risk, video a protest, and have the footage get ignored by the journalists because they can’t trust it.

“2. The video shows signs or highly-recognisable landmarks to confirm the location of the demonstration.” As an EA correspondent remarked one day, he couldn’t tell if some of these protest videos were taken in Khamenei’s palace or in Los Angeles.

3. The demonstrator films the identity cards of the people whom he interviews as a way to identify witnesses’ accounts.” I’m weary of recommending this one. Protesters are taking their lives in their hands by letting their identity be known. On the other hand, nothing adds more credibility to an eyewitness account than a video, taken in country, and on the record.

Click here for more

Syrian Revolution News Round-up Day 56: Monday, 9 May 2011


Syrian Emergency Task Force

“Inglorious Bastards”, with a Syrian Twist!

As the Assad-orchestrated crackdown takes place, the statements made by Assad officials proclaiming victory, make it clear that the Assads are not waging war against protesters only, but reality itself.

As Assad wages his reforms upon an unarmed population and his First lady teeters on the heels of her Louboutin shoes, protesters cannot but surrender themselves to the guttural urges of defiance.

There are currently 12 security checkpoints on the road from Damascus to Lattakia. Lattakia itself is filled with checkpoints and army barricades. No one is allowed in or out of Banyas. Only residents are allowed in and out of Jableh. Basic services in Deraa City, Banyas, major sections of Homs, Deir Ezzor, and the Damascene suburb of Mouaddamiyyeh are still down. There are no clear reports yet from Mouaddamiyyeh as to the exact nature of heavy gunfire and shelling overheard yesterday. The few reports we have spoke of “numerous” casualties, house-to-house man-hunt and hundreds of detentions, troops taking control of all local mosques, and fire raging in several locations.

Perhaps when the Presidential Advisor Bouthaini Shaaban speaks of “gaining the upper-hand” and of “containing the crisis” in the country, she’s simply referring to the recent success of the Assads in tightening their grip on the flow of information from Syria. But the demonstrable truth is that the Assads control doesn’t extend far beyond the shadows of their tanks and security officers. True, they took control of Deraa City, but they still don’t feel confident enough to allow UN humanitarian mission to pay a visit to the beleaguered place. Meanwhile, all other towns and villages in the Horan province (the Deraa Governorate) remain in a defiant mood with people holding daily protests calling for toppling the regime, and refuting official lies about armed gangs and infiltrators. Naturally, due to the absence of any security officers or army troops in these places, no violence has been reported. People are clearly safer and more secure in the absence of army and security officers in their midst – a clear sign as to the true identity of the infiltrators, who might just come aknocking soon.

For perhaps the Assads are not that far gone, and have not completely surrender themselves to that parallel reality yet, perhaps they do realize that the situation is still very much beyond their control and that the crackdown has not yet delivered the desired fruits, perhaps their statements are meant to stall and to fool whoever is willing to be fooled in the international community, perhaps that’s why they sent their troops to lay siege to another rebellious town in Horan yesterday: Jassem, and by default the nearby Ankhel as well.

Whatever the case maybe, if these kinds of statements are meant in any way to dampen the spirit of protesters, they are bound to fail, just like the crackdown itself is failing.

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