Protests Continue Demanding Overthrow of
Assad's Dictatorial Regime
September 19, 2011
Videos of today's protests:
More bloodshed in Syria raid
Maan, Published today (updated) 19/09/2011 21:45
DAMASCUS (AFP) --
Syrian security forces killed five people during a raid in the
flashpoint central province of Homs on Monday as the opposition
scrambled to organize against the regime, activists said.
York, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe accused Syria of "crimes
against humanity" and slammed the UN Security Council for failing to
take a strong stand on the regime's bloody crackdown against dissent.
His remarks came as President Bashar Assad's forces pursued their
repression of anti-regime protesters, killing five in the town of Houla
and conducting arrests in other parts of the country, activists said.
"Five residents, including a woman, were shot dead on Monday by
security forces, who have been conducting a sweep in Houla since
Sunday," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.
A 26-year-old man died of his wounds on Monday after being among a
group of people whom security forces shot at the night before in the
town of Irbin, near Damascus, the Britain-based activist group said
Security forces also opened fire on hundreds of
demonstrators in two other towns in Homs, and carried out arrests in the
second city Aleppo, eastern Deir Ezzor and the coastal cities of Latakia
and Banias, it said.
According to UN estimates at least 2,600
people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Damascus
regime's crackdown on pro-democracy protests since the movement was
launched six months ago on March 15.
Assad and his
Baath-dominated government have defended the repression, saying they are
battling "armed terrorist gangs" and that they will proceed with reforms
when Syria is rid of "chaos."
Since the anti-regime protests
erupted in mid-March, several opposition groups have emerged united in
their call for the ouster of Assad's autocratic regime but have been
divided about how to go about achieving it.
The latest group, the
Syrian Coalition of Secular and Democratic Forces, is meeting in Paris
where it issued a statement on Monday urging the international community
to protect civilians against the repression.
The appeal -- an
implicit call for foreign intervention -- conflicted with other pleas by
opposition groups for an end to the bloodshed in Syria and the launch of
political, economic and social reforms.
"We call on the
international community to adopt a United Nations resolution to protect
civilians," said a statement modeled on UN Security Council Resolution
1973 that authorized international action in Libya.
brings together a dozen parties and political figures representing
non-Islamist opposition groups from various Kurdish and Arab, Christian
and Muslim communities.
Other opposition groups include the
National Coordinating Committee for Democratic Change, a coalition of
Arab and Kurdish nationalists, Marxists and independents such as writer
Michel Kilo and economist Aref Dalila.
"We need to end the
tyrannical security regime. We must overthrow the tyranny and the
security [agents]," Hassan Abdel Azim, a senior member of the group said
on Sunday after meetings near Damascus.
On Thursday, as Syria
marked six months of anti-regime protests, opposition figures identified
members of the "Syrian National Council," revealing the names of just 72
of the 140-strong body for security reasons.
Two more opposition
groups were set up in Turkey at the end of August -- the mainly Islamist
"National Council" and the "National Council of Syrian Transition"
headed by Burhan Ghaliyoun, a Paris-based academic.
Juppe said on
Monday that "crimes against humanity are committed in Syria. The silence
of the Security Council is unacceptable."
Russia -- one of the
five permanent members of the Security Council -- has resisted attempts
led by the United States and EU nations to issue a resolution condemning
Syria, a key ally and buyer of Russian weapons.
Syria opposition vows protests until regime ousted
Maan, Published today (updated) 19/09/2011 18:35
DAMASCUS (AFP) --
Opponents of Bashar al-Assad vowed on Sunday to overthrow his
"tyrannical" regime, as the embattled president met Russian lawmakers
trying to help find a solution to the crisis in Syria.
to end the tyrannical security regime. We must overthrow the tyranny and
the security (agents)," Hassan Abdel Azim, a senior member of the
opposition National Coordinating Committee for Democratic change, told
"We welcome all those who have no blood on their
hands," he told a news conference a day after the group met near the
The group includes opposition parties of various
ideologies, including Arab and Kurdish nationalists, Marxists and
independent figures such as writer Michel Kilo and economist Aref Dalila.
Syria has been rocked by protests against Assad's regime that began
on March 15 and triggered a brutal crackdown in which the United Nations
says 2,600 people have been killed.
A delegation of Russian
lawmakers is in the country in a bid to broker an end to the violence.
Assad told them he welcomes the "balanced and constructive Russian
position toward the security and stability of Syria," the state-run SANA
news agency reported.
But Assad, who has blamed "armed terrorist
gangs" for the violence rocking his country, also warned against "any
foreign intervention that threatens to divide states in the region."
Ilyas Umakhanov, deputy head of Russia's upper house of parliament,
said "the country's leadership understands that one can only overcome a
political crisis by uniting all the country's healthy political forces,"
Russia's Interfax news agency said.
"We once again saw for
ourselves that the country's leadership intends to firmly move along the
path of political reforms, create all the necessary conditions to
consolidate society and all the patriotic forces of the country,"
Umakhanov was quoted as saying after meeting Assad.
opposed efforts led by the United States and the European Union to push
for a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian regime over
its deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
meanwhile, is trying to unite against the regime.
to announce the formation of a coalition that includes the Coordinating
Committee, liberal parties of the opposition "Damascus Declaration," the
outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and independent Islamists.
opposition groups were set up in Turkey at the end of August: the mostly
Islamist "National Council" and the "National Council of Syrian
Transition" headed by Burhan Ghaliyoun, a Paris-based academic.
"For the overthrow of the tyrannical and corrupt security regime and for
democratic change, the peaceful revolution of the Syrian people must
continue," said a statement read Sunday by Abdel Aziz Khayer of the
"We must end the military solution, allow
peaceful protests, withdraw the army to the barracks, try those
responsible for the massacre of protesters, release all political
prisoners and begin reconciliation between the army and the people," it
Another committee member, Rajaa Nasser, said that "all
movements of the Syrian opposition agree on the need for change. The
majority reject any military intervention" in Syria, he added.
Samir Aita, editor of Le Monde Diplomatique in Arabic and European
representative of the Coordinating Committee, announced a September 23
meeting in Berlin.
"It is necessary to unify (opposition) efforts
for the change to happen," he said, adding that it was important that
the various opposition groupings should "unite around common goals."
Saturday's meeting elected an 80-member central council, 25 percent
of them "young revolutionaries."
Meanwhile, the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights reported that four people, including an
11-year-old boy, shot in recent raids died on Sunday of their wounds.
As schools reopened, students demonstrated against the regime in the
central city of Homs and security forces arrested 70 civilians,
relatives of people wanted by the regime, in the northwestern province
of Idlib, it said.
The official SANA news agency also reported
that the annual Damascus film festival set for October has been canceled
because of the unrest.
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