Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Syrian rebels call for new wave of protests in Arab capitals

Syrian opposition groups are planning to ignite a new wave of protests in Arab capitals to push President Bashir al-Assad from power by harnessing international anger at the state's brutal attack on demonstrators.

The protests are planned for the first week of July in the hope of persuading Arab governments to turn against the regime, Wissam Tarif, a prominent activist said.

Meanwhile, refugees who have set up camps inside Syria near Turkey are forming "people's committees" and arming against further government retaliation.

The committees, each 10 men strong, will patrol the hills around the camps, looking out for army snipers and other troops.

The move represents the worst fear of the Syrian government, that opposition groups will be able to gain a foothold from which to operate inside the country.

More than three months of protests have shocked the Syrian regime, which until March thought it had escaped the "Arab spring".

While the uprising has not overthrown the country's leader, or divided Syria like Libya, it has paralysed the nation.

The feared 4th Division of the army, led by the president's brother Maher, has put down successive waves of protest in individual cities, only for protests to resume when the military move on. (read more)