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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 of the regime, and so only tens of thousands – not hundreds of thousands – of people are on the streets. But people are ALSO scared of sectarian violence if the regime falls.

He says that 15% of the country hates Assad and 20% love him. The rest are indifferent, but they are angry with the protestors for bringing this chaos to their country. The economy is suffering badly. He was the only tourist in his hotel – massive news for a country that relies on foreign visitors.

Fletcher says there are hundreds of tanks on the streets, four at each road junction. There are police everywhere, sandbags outside government buildings and the fear is palpable.

He was pulled out of a taxi at a checkpoint and taken into a basement detention centre. He found scores of young people there – young men of fighting age are being rounded up and detained.

Go and listen to the three minute report. It is incredible.

Update: Fletcher also appeared on Channel 4 News, you can watch that here.

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