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Entries from May 2011

Activists admit the opposition has taken up arms

May 30th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Politics

Activists, who have been very careful to paint a picture of a peaceful Syrian uprising, have finally admitted that some protestors are armed. Of course, this does not justify the security forces’ crackdown, but it means that there is some truth to the crude state propaganda that we have been rejecting since March. It also […]

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Syria’s ‘general strike’ fails

May 18th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Politics

As well as the sanctions, the other news is that the ‘general strike’ called for today has, by all indications, failed entirely. This was the first real test of the opposition’s reach. Could it convince the silent-middle to stay at home, a relatively safe form of protest? It seems not. And that would stand up […]

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Obama sanctions Assad

May 18th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Politics

Two big pieces of news tonight. First, in the past hour, the US has sanctioned Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad for the first time. He hasn’t been personally targetted until now. Vice-President Farouq Al-Sharaa is also being sanctioned. The other five officials on the list are: Prime Minister Adel Safar, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar, Defense Minister Ali […]

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Counting the cost: fewer deaths as Syrians protest

May 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Politics

Another Friday, another day of demonstrations across Syria. But unlike in previous weeks, the death toll was significantly lower (it has been falling week-on-week since April). Reports of six deaths make this the quietest Friday since March. It came a day after the president’s spokeswoman Buthaina Shaaban promised an opposition leader that the security services […]

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Divisions in the Syrian regime?

May 13th, 2011 · 4 Comments · Politics

You wait weeks for a Syrian regime spokesperson, and then two come along at once. A New York Times reporter was granted access to the President’s closest aide, Buthaina Shaaban. She said she hoped the worst of the violence was over and that things would start to calm down. But then twenty four hours later something […]

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Times undercover reporter: Assad won’t fall for now

May 11th, 2011 · No Comments · Politics

A Times (UK) reporter, Martin Fletcher, has just spent six days undercover in Syria, and he’s been speaking to Sky News. @fieldproducer (Neal Mann) has posted his report here. It’s worth listening to in its entirety. In his quite incredible report, he says that the regime will not fall, for two reasons: people are scared […]

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Some more Syria on the BBC and Radio France

May 8th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Politics

On Five Live again, this time talking about the military action in Banyas: Why Banyas, how widespread is the Syrian uprising, why hasn’t the regime fallen, how bad is media coverage, how will this all end? (Parts of this are already old news…) Listen! And if you speak French…a very, very out of date piece […]

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