The signs began by demanding reform in a mood of optimism amid the Arab Spring. Then they stressed unity, not sectarianism. Now they are held by small children in a city stained with blood. And they simply say ‘Thirsty’ or ‘Please help – I am hungry’.
Deraa, where the uprising began following the arrest of teenagers for scrawling graffiti on a wall, is a city under siege. Elite troops under the command of President Bashar Assad’s brother Maher moved in on Monday and cut off all communications.
Terrified families now hide in their homes, with food and water supplies running low. Snipers even shoot water butts to worsen the agony.
At least 15 of the 62 people killed on Friday were from nearby villages, gunned down as they carried food and olive branches – a symbol of peace – in a bid to break the siege. More died inside the city, once again at the centre of national bloodletting that has left more than 500 dead. Read More