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Revolution spreads in Syria

Bradley Hughes

March 26, 2012

One year after the start of the uprising in Syria, demonstrations are spreading to the capital city, Damascus, and defections from the regime continue.

Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad has responded to the people’s demands for democracy with widespread terror. More than 8,000 people have been killed so far, and the regime has regularly shelled it’s own cities and towns where the opposition is strongest. Government troops have even forced civilians to march in front of them as human shields.

Despite this, the uprising continues to fight back and grow. In March, large demonstrations spread to the suburbs of the capital city of Damascus. Smaller demonstrations have occurred in the capital but so far they have been quickly shut down by mass arrests.

With the typical ingenuity of protest movements the people of Damascus have found other ways to protest. The Calendar of Freedom movement has put red dye in large fountains across the city, turning them into fountains of blood to represent the crimes of the regime. This includes the fountain in front of the headquarters of the security forces. They have thrown cassette players in garbage bags into garbage bins on crowded streets. Recordings of an anti-Assad song then blare out. The singer of the song, Ibrahim al-Qashoush, had his throat cut by security forces after he chanted the song in a protest in the central city of Hama.

The defections from the army and high levels of the regime continue as well. The Free Syrian Army is made up of soldiers who have refused orders to attack protesters and have joined the opposition. One senior member of the regime who was in charge of collating information from across Syria on the uprising, Abdel Majid Barakat, has been passing on this information to the resistance. He has now fled to Turkey, and passed on hundreds of documents to Al-Jazeera.

The former Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, has travelled to meet al-Assad twice so far to try to negotiate an end to the bloodshed, with no success.

The determination of the Syrian people has so far stayed the hand of western nations like Canada and America which invaded Libya to limit the spread of revolution there. The same countries that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and regularly sell arms to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are holding a meeting on April 1 of the “Friends of Syria,” to discuss how to limit the democratic gains of the people of Syria. The problem that these “friends” face is that the opposition is too strong to be defeated by the regime, and many don’t want an invasion. At the same time, any popular government of Syria will remain a foe of Israel and oppose intervention by the west to limit the Arab Spring. Our solidarity with the people of Syria can help prevent western intervention.

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