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Coveting Freedom
Keeping eye on democracy movements and ongoing democratization efforts throughout the world
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Where in the World Is Bashar Al-Assad!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Where in the World Is Bashar Al-Assad! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
Tuesday 10, 2011: Information blackout and military siege imposed on Deraa City, Jassem, Banyas, parts of Homs and the Damascene suburb of Mouaddamiyyah remain in place * Syria withdraws candidacy for a seat in UN Human Rights Council * Massive detention campaign is still under way throughout the country * On the other hand, Syrian authorities released opposition activists: Hassan Abdel Azim (81), Hazem al-Nahar, Fayez Sara, Kamal Sheikho and George Sabra * In interview with New York Times, Assad’s notorious cousin, Rami Makhlouf promises a fight to “the end.” * Protesters remain in defiant mood, and plans are under way for a new Friday of defiance to underscore, yet again, the futility of violent crackdown * A variety of small demonstrations took place in communities across Syria as well, including the besieged city of Homs, in which people called on Bashar to leave and demanded end of regime * Turkish PM issues another statement condemning violence in Syria, saying death toll exceeded 1,000 and refuting officials stories about armed gangs * Meanwhile, someone should remind Lebanese authorities about their international obligations towards refugees from conflict zones as Lebanese police send fleeing Syrians back to face Assad regime's violence.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Inglorious Bastards, with a Syrian Twist!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Inglorious Bastards, with a Syrian Twist! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
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.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Death, Lies and YouTube!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Death, Lies and YouTube! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
ince many in the international community know that stories about Salafist infiltrators are lies perpetrated by the regime, then the incursions by armed troops into Deraa, Homs and Banyas can only be classified as war crimes. Since these crimes cannot be taking place without Bashar Al-Assad’s approval, it stands to reason for him to be indicted as war criminal. There is no good reason for delaying this any longer.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: The Plot Thickens!

Syrian Revolution Digest: The Plot Thickens! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
One of the Syrian artists to come out and take a strong public stand in support of lifting the siege imposed on Deraa is Syria’s top actress, Muna Wassef, a national icon known and respected all over the region who also happens to be my mother. In a carefully calibrated statement, my Mom voiced her strong sympathies with the protesters, saying that she is willing to “carry her shroud and stand among them if that would help curb the bloodshed.” She also expressed her wish for a “temporary halt” of the protests until the identities of the parties targeting protesters and security and military officers are clearly established. But she rushed to say that she doubts that anyone could actually stop the young protesters who, she said, need guidance, and that, in the final analysis, no one can trample on the Syrian people.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Lift the Siege!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Lift the Siege! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
Calls for toppling the regime adopted by Kurdish protesters in the city of Amoudeh on April 29 marks the first time Kurdish protesters have adopted this cry and signify an important milestone in Kurdish attitude towards the protest movement and their future in Syria. The movement has been a mostly Arab affair up to that moment. But now calls for ouster of the Assads are helping Syria’s Arab and Kurd communities find common grounds. While many analysts have taken pains to highlight the divisive effect of the protests movement, it is in actuality uniting most Syrians against their oppressors in a process that is helping the country’s myriad communities acknowledge their joint destiny.
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Family dynamics drive Syrian President Assad

Family dynamics drive Syrian President Assad | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad struggles to put down widespread protests against his government, the BBC's Kim Ghattas examines the family intrigue constraining his actions.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Waiting on Tenterhooks!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Waiting on Tenterhooks! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
Another Friday of Rage is upon us, the Assad regime has received ample earning this time that the world is watching. Let’s see how they behave. Meanwhile, the situation in Deraa is deteriorating by the hour, but it seems the recent show of force by the regime might indicate that the mutiny by the 5th Division has been contained. The show of force culminated in turning power on again in the city for 1 hour to allow for state TV to tape a staged fireworks celebration that was billed as “spontaneous” show of how happy the people of Deraa were with the arrival of the army to liberate them from the Salafist phantoms.
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Mutiny in the Syrian army?

With increasing military defections, the Syrian regime's violent crackdown may have backfired, analyst says.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: First to Crack!

Syrian Revolution Digest: First to Crack! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
In the morning of April 25, the city of Deraa was invaded from all four corners by units affiliated with the 4th Division, which falls under the direct leadership of Maher Al-Assad, the 5th Division, led by Muhammad Saleh Al-Rifai, with reinforcement from the 132 Battalion. Shortly thereafter, reports began trickling then pouring in speaking of a mutiny in the units affiliated with 5th Division and troops from these units standing up to and halting the advance of units from the 4th Division trying to reach Al-Omary Mosque in central Deraa. At first, many of us thought this might be a reference to a few more defections, as had transpired two weeks ago, but the reports continue to come from different sources and eyewitnesses that we managed to reach all through the day, leading us to believe that there might indeed be something worth monitoring here.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Backlash to Bloodshed!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Backlash to Bloodshed! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
Assad security forces killed eight more people today, perhaps by way of underscoring the “official” and “intentional” character of the Good Friday Massacres that left 112 civilians dead. While international reactions remain subdued and have been restricted to mere condemnations of the escalating violence on part of the Assads with no mention of any potential international repercussions or consequences, and as the Arab World watches on silently, the protesters continue to get more organized.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Bloodshed & Watershed!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Bloodshed & Watershed! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
Will the tragic bloodshed that took place in Syria on Good Friday usher in a watershed moment in the international community’s handling of the situation? This is what many Syrians hope for in order to prevent further escalation of violence on parts of the authorities.
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For Syrians, a Sense of Collective Identity Emerges Amid Battle for Reform

For Syrians, a Sense of Collective Identity Emerges Amid Battle for Reform | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
The U.S. called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the use of violence after government forces attacked protesters with live ammunition. Judy Woodruff discusses protesters' demands and the government's crackdowns with the International Crisis Group's Robert Malley and democracy activist and blogger Ammar Abdulhamid.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Intimidation vs. Defiance!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Intimidation vs. Defiance! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
Today, Assad’s militias-cum-mercenaries known as the Shabbiha drove around the streets of Lattakia and Jable sticking their Kalashnikovs out of car windows and shouting sectarian pro-Assad slogans. Meanwhile, security forces conducted large-scale raids of key neighborhoods, i.e. ones that played key-role in the protest movements, especially Al-Sleibeh, culminating in over 200 arrests. In Jableh, thousands of residents held new nightly vigil and chanted anti-Shabbiha slogans.
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Some see the hand of Iran in Syria's crackdown

Some see the hand of Iran in Syria's crackdown | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
Syrian security forces appear to be shifting their strategy for crushing the popular uprising against the rule of President Bashar Assad to a less bloody approach similar to that used effectively by its main ally, Iran , to end massive 2009...
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Deraa, Banyas, Homs: For the Assads tanks are the solution, not reforms!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Deraa, Banyas, Homs: For the Assads tanks are the solution, not reforms! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
For people who keep asserting that the Assads remain in control, let’s be clear on that: every major city, town, suburb and neighborhood where there is no mass army or security presence has joined the protest movement and fielded major demonstrations on Fridays, and more recently throughout the week. Only brute force is keeping the Assads in power now, there is no more political legitimacy involved. While a regime may go one for a long time in the absence of political legitimacy, it’s pretty hard to accomplish that in the face of an active and resilient protest movement.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: TGIF!

Syrian Revolution Digest: TGIF! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
30 protesters were killed, including 16 in Homs, 6 in Hama, 4 in Deir Ezzor, 1 in Lattakia, 2 in Jableh and 1 from an unspecified location. Riad Seif, former head of the Damascus Declaration Council was arrested during prayer at Al-Hassan Mosque in Damascus. Another prominent detainee is Mouadh Al-Khateeb, a young and well-respected Damascene Imam. Tanks were deployed in Homs. Still, Syrian activists consider today’s large and widespread protests to be a sign of the futility of the violent crackdown orchestrated by the Assad regime. The demonstrations come following a week of violent crackdown that led to the arrest of over 3,000 people, and the death of 500 protesters most of whom from Deraa City. In many protests, people are now carrying banners in English in an attempt to communicate directly with the international community. On the darker side, the city of Baniyas was raided overnight. Details are still coming out now.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Blood for Lions!

More protests in Aleppo and across Syria in support of Deraa as Hama Rules play out in “slow-motion,” and the world is too busy pontificating over significance of Bin Laden’s death.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Another Friday of Defiance & Bloodshed!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Another Friday of Defiance & Bloodshed! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
The anticipation is over and the message is clear: unarmed protesters are still bent on regime change despite the bloody crackdown orchestrated by the Assads since last Friday. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets all over the country. Deraa City fielded the higher death toll as usual, but Homs (30) comes close second as tanks and artillery were used in squashing protests, followed by Lattakia (5) and Damascus (1) shed their share of innocent blood as well. The latest reports suggest that over 62 people are confirmed dead. However, eyewitnesses insist that over 60 were killed in Deraa alone. There are also reports that neighborhoods around Al-Omary Mosque were shelled at dawn of April 30.
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Syria: Did Assad's latest crackdown backfire?

After Bashar Al-Assad sent in tanks to quell the Syrian uprising at its root, his own military reportedly suffered considerable defections. What's next?
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Mutiny Still Unconfirmed But Continued Defiance Is!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Mutiny Still Unconfirmed But Continued Defiance Is! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
The inhabitants of Deraa tell horrifying stories of streets strewn with the bodies of the dead that residents are unable to retrieve for fear of meeting the same fate, and of living in complete darkness and destitution as basic services, including water and electricity have been cut off by the invading Assad armies, who continue to lay siege to the city preventing the arrival of much needed food and medical supplies. Still, the eyewitnesses we have managed to talk to tell of brave stories of people defying army tanks with rocks, and smuggling food and water from the nearby Palestinian refugee camps. The Palestinians may not have Syrian citizenship, but have been living here since 1948, in fact, most have been born here, and to them Deraa residents are brothers, and the idea of taking a neutral stance vis-à-vis current developments seems unconscionable.
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Campaign to bar Syria from UN human rights body

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Human rights groups and a growing number of governments are working to prevent Syria from being elected to the U.N.'s top human rights body, as President Bashar Assad's security forces crack down on pro-democracy protesters. Syria's election to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council is all but assured as one of four candidates selected to fill four Asian seats unless another candidate enters the race or Syria fails to win a majority of votes in the May 20 election in the 192-member General Assembly.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Hama Part II, III, IV, etc.

Syrian Revolution Digest: Hama Part II, III, IV, etc. | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
The Assad Gambit seems to be to present the world with fait accomplit, then haggle his way out of the corner. By persisting on calling him a reformer up to the last minute, the international community has played a key role in making Assad believe that he can actually follow such a script. Unless certain measures targeting the Assads and their inner circle are enacted by the United States, the European Union, and eventually the UN, the Assads will never get the message. The calls issued by Human Rights Watch and International Committee of Jurists to sanction the Assads and bring them to trial should also be heeded. The Syrian situation now warrants the consideration of the UN Security Council as well the International Criminal Court. The government of Turkey should also be approached to see if Erdogan can play a role in pressing the Assads to think of an exit strategy rather than of painting themselves and the rest of the country further and further into an ever narrowing corner.
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Exiles Shaping World’s Image of Syria Revolt

Exiles Shaping World’s Image of Syria Revolt | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
A self-styled vanguard abroad is ferrying out images and news that are anarchic and illuminating, if incomplete.
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What Are The Potential Outcomes Of The Syrian Protests? : NPR

For more on the demonstrations happening in Syria Friday, Robert Siegel speaks with Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian democracy activist based in the United States. Abdulhamid is an informal spokesman for the protesters in Syria.
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Syrian Revolution Digest: Tension & Hope in the Air!

Syrian Revolution Digest: Tension & Hope in the Air! | Coveting Freedom | Scoop.it
As Syrians keep waiting for Aleppo to fully commit to the protest movement, small demonstrations, the latest numbering around 500 participants and lasting for a couple of hours before being dispersed by security, continue to take place in the northern bastion on a daily basis as more and more people break the barrier of fear and try to encourage others to join. Will tomorrow witness the resurrection of Aleppo? We shall find out soon.
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