Syria Continues Vicious Clampdowns on Activists

Syria Continues Vicious Clampdowns on Activists

In a bid to crush an anti-regime protest movement in the coastal city of Banias, shots rang out in a Damascus suburb surrounded by troops, and Syrian security forces rounded up thousands of men as they went house to house. Youths, have been rounded up by the army and security forces to be interrogated and they are being beaten.

This and other reports confirmed the escalating oppression witnessed in Syria since the people began their uprising against President Bashar and his regime. According to the European Union an arms embargo and sanctions against 13 Syrian officials deemed responsible for the regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters would come into force on Tuesday.

While the UN complained that Syrian authorities blocked one of its teams from entering the southern town of Daraa, known as the epicentre of the protests, concern was also voiced for the plight of Palestinian refugees there.

On Tuesday Protest organisers called for a day of solidarity with "prisoners of conscience" held in Syrian jails, according to a statement by the Syrian Revolution 2011, an Internet-based opposition group.

Activists also reported that water, electricity and telephone lines were cut off in Banias, on Syria’s northwest Mediterranean coast. Residents’ hopes were disappointed after the army instead of arresting regime supporters who have terrorised Banias arrested unarmed residents. Protest leaders and doctors at a hospital which was encircled by the military, according to the Syrian Observatory were also detained.

Women too were involved in protests taking to the streets demanding the release of men arrested by security forces.

Witnesses report that the women in fact charged checkpoints venting their anger.

Oblivious to events President Assad addressed the people stating "The crisis will pass and end, and the question of administrative, political and press reforms will advance”.

However actions undermine the president’s words as the military continues launching its action in Banias and Homs after ending a 10-day lockdown in which dozens were killed and scores detained in Daraa and the Committee of the Martyrs of the 15 March Revolution puts the death toll at 708 while the Observatory says 621 civilians were killed and 120 soldiers and security forces.