The persistence of protests in Syria calls for greater attention from media and world leadership.
Facile analyses whither in the face of the unyielding constancy, perseverance, and geographical range of citizens in the face of full military aparatus.
Despite—or because of—a Ramadan military crackdown by Bashar al-Assad’s regime, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Syrian cities.
It’s hard to imagine a more cynical ploy. As millions of Muslims prepared for Ramadan in Syria last week, the regime was planning for something else entirely: a military assault. Hundreds of troops and tanks laid siege to Hama, Homs, and a handful of smaller cities in an all-out effort to squash the five-month old uprising that has nearly paralyzed the country. On Thursday, the regime felt confident enough they had crushed the protests that they took a handful of Turkish journalists for a look at Hama, one of the centers of the uprising. The journalists reported seeing heavily damaged buildings and deserted streets. It wasn't George W. Bush on an aircraft carrier with a “Mission Accomplished” banner, but the regime seemed to be gloating all the same.
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The regime just got a reality check. Protests sprang up in more than half a dozen cities on Friday, including Hama, according to Syrian human-rights activists. And, tellingly, thousands of demonstrators also came out in Damascus and Aleppo, the two biggest cities in the country that have been largely quiet. The Ramadan crackdown completely backfired. “The violence has only increased the anger toward the regime,” says Rami Nakhle, a prominent Syrian activist who now lives in Lebanon. “And it's made the people want to break the chains of oppression.”