Stories about Syria from March, 2011
President Bashar Al Assad finally made a speech Wednesday 30 March, 2011, at the Syrian Parliament after days of postponement and anticipation. The president's arrival at the Parliament was met with thundering applause and chanting by the Members of Parliament, and his speech was often interrupted by an MP reciting poems of praise. Twitter users did not receive this well.
Unrest in Syria enters its second week, as anti-government protests continue in their bid to oust President Bashar al-Assad. Whilst it may seem that the unrest in Syria is a natural progression of the Arab revolution spreading throughout the region, there are unique dynamics in Syria that distinguish it from other Arab states.
Egyptian Chronicles comments on the arrest of Egyptian-American Muhammed Radwan in Syria under espionage charges here. His cousins Nora and Tarek Shalaby also share their thoughts.
Egyptian-American Twitter user Muhammed Radwan (@battuta) was arrested in Syria and paraded on Syrian Television as a spy who is accused of allegedly visiting "Israel in secret and confessed to receiving money from abroad in exchange for sending photos and videos about Syria." His arrest is expected to unleash the wrath of the Egyptian cyberspace against the Assad regime.
Several Iranian bloggers react to the slogan of Syrian protesters during Wednesday's march where people chanted “Neither Iran, nor Hezbollah!” Syria is an ally of Iran and is also friendly with the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In Syria, the faces of President Bashar al-Assad and his father, former President Hafez al-Assad, are regularly seen on billboards, buildings, and in the form of statues. Visitors to the country are often surprised by the prevalence of such images, while Syrians have grown used to them as a daily feature of life. Yesterday, a number of videos surfaced in which protesters tear down the symbols of the regime: posters and statues of the ruling family.
Massive protests broke in several cities in Syria today in response to calls for a “Friday of Dignity” after a brutal governmental crackdown left dozens of protesters dead in the Southern city of Daraa and nearby villages. Videos emerging from across Syria show enormous protests in multiple cities.
As the crackdown on protests in Daraa continues and reports pour in of more deaths, citizen reporters in the town are capturing video and uploading it to YouTube, which was only recently unblocked in Syria. The videos in this post show the extent of the violent crackdown in Daraa.
The Arab Tyrant Manual is out, and is being tweeted as I type. On Twitter, Iyad Elbaghdadi is repeating all the excuses we have heard from the governments of Arab countries which have had protests calling for regime change and reforms since the Tunisian uprising at the end of 2010. Although they sound like one liners from a comic strip, they still get support from people on the ground.
Alarming news from Syria has dominated my Twitter timeline, with reports of up to 150 people allegedly killed by security forces in Daraa, in southern Syria, where anti-regime protests continue. Earlier estimates of six people killed as Syrian police attacked Al Omari mosque to disperse protesters are now being questioned, as reports of more doom and gloom start to seep out of the town, where communications, including phone and Internet, have been cut off.
The crackdown on protesters in Daraa, Syria continues. At dawn, a special army unit reportedly killed at least six people during an attack on Al Omari Mosque to disperse protesters using the mosque as a gathering place. At least one blogger has been arrested, while another is missing. Anas Qtiesh has the story.
Syrian Revolution Map is a new Ushahidi instance launched in Syria to track ongoing protests in several cities based on citizen reports of protests, security patrols, dangerous locations, clashes, and anticipated gatherings. Six protesters have reportedly been killed in Daraa, and dozens have been arrested. The website is in Arabic...
Monday 21 March, 2011, protests continue in Daraa, in the Syrian south, where five protesters have been reportedly killed yesterday and another one today. While news reports claim that protesters have later on set fire to public buildings, netizens argue that it was the state security forces who have burnt the buildings. Many on Twitter argue that Daraa would be what Sidi Bouzid was for the Tunisians.
Syria is the latest country to join the wave of erupting protests across the Middle East. While previous calls for protests on 5 February failed, a renewed call to take to the streets on 15 March managed to bring several hundred people to the streets in multiple cities including the capital, Damascus, and Aleppo. Today, in the southern city of Dara'a, 6 protesters have reportedly been killed.
On March 15, following a "day of rage" in Syria, a group of around 150 protesters gathered outside of the Interior Ministry in Damascus, demanding the release of political prisoners. So far, at least 38 have been detained.
Arab bloggers are vying for the Best of the Arabic Blogs Awards, Arabisk, which is now in the judging phase of the competition. The top 20 nominations in four categories are being judged now, and the competition results will be announced at the beginning of April. Haifa Al Rasheed has more on the competition.