The first evidence of civilians turning to weapons to defend their families came from Deraa, the city where the bloody story of the Syrian uprising first began after intelligence officers arrested and tortured to death a 13-year-old boy. Robert Fisk: The people vs the president

Map of the districts of Syria.

Image via Wikipedia

Syria in turmoil as resistance turns to insurrection


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Syrian protesters hold a national flag as they demonstrate in Hama, north of Damascus

Syrian protesters hold a national flag as they demonstrate in Hama, north of Damascus

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Syria’s revolt against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad is turning into an armed insurrection, with previously peaceful demonstrators taking up arms to fight their own army and the “shabiha” – meaning “the ghosts”, in English – of Alawi militiamen who have been killing and torturing those resisting the regime’s rule.

Even more serious for Assad’s still-powerful supporters, there is growing evidence that individual Syrian soldiers are revolting against his forces. The whole edifice of Assad’s Alawi dictatorship is now in the gravest of danger.

In 1980, Assad’s father, Hafez, faced an armed uprising in the central city of Hama, which was put down by the Special Forces of Hafez’s brother Rifaat – who is currently living, for the benefit of war crimes investigators, in central London – at a cost of up to 20,000 lives. But the armed revolt today is now spreading across all of Syria, a far-mightier crisis and one infinitely more difficult to suppress. No wonder Syrian state television has been showing the funerals of up to 120 members of the security services from just one location, the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour.


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