Hama lights on fire. The internet is cut off. Syria witnesses the biggest day of the crackdown as protests are animated by the death of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb. Many insist that no one will believe the Syrian government’s version of Hamza’s death unless there is an international investigation team allowed into the country. Syria will refuse such an idea; it will argue that to permit foreigners access will begin the country down the slippery slope of foreign investigative teams for every conflagration. But with the protest movement gathering renewed steam following the Antalya opposition meeting and gathering international outrage at brutality, the Syrian government finds itself increasingly isolate and with few options.
June 3, 2011
Picture 2 Syrian activist accounts say dozens of people were killed in the central city of Hama on Friday when Syrian military forces and pro-regime loyalists opened fire at a large protest rally against the rule of President Bashar Assad and the Syrian regime’s continued crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
A member of the Syrian activist group the Local Coordination Committees in Syria (LCCSyria) told Babylon & Beyond that the group had names of 24 people killed in Friday’s protests in Hama. The Associated Press reported that 34 people were killed in the city on Friday. Snipers were positioned on the rooftops of buildings in various Hama neighborhoods and the death toll was expected to rise, according to activist reports.
BY CHRISTOPHER RHOADS
Syria shut down most of its Internet and mobile data connections early Friday, adopting a strategy used by other governments in the Middle East during critical points of the uprisings.
But the attempt to gain an advantage over the opposition groups by unplugging or partially blocking the Internet, which has played a key role in the protests, could backfire. In some cases, most notably in Egypt, the move appeared to prompt more angry protesters into the streets.
“You are reaching a point of no return when you do this kind of stuff,” said Earl Zmijewski, a vice president at Renesys …
June 3 2011 Reuters
Syrian women living in Jordan adorn their faces and clothes with the national flag during a protest to demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad step down from power.
Human Rights Watch has called on the UN Security Council to impose sanction on Syria and to hold the government accountable to the International Criminal Court,
The regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad will not survive and will eventually collapse under the pressure of demonstrations in his country. This is the assessment of Israel’s military establishment – and this view is gaining strength. A senior …
Here a transcript ( edited for comprehension ) of live Twitter messages posted by @ProfKahf who attended the Antalya conference (Thanks for posting in comment section)
Poet, Syrian American academic
Start of transcript ______________
Antalya conference is electing a 31-member working-group to continue coordination among the conference workshops.
Will the “Tribe List” or the “Kid List” win the vote – who [will] continue Antalya conference work?
Antalya conference :
List 1 includes Ikhwan , Kurdish , Christian , Alawite , human rights organization chiefs
List 2: includes new names , emerging activists
It’s just a vote for a conference working-group, nothing more, but it was a thrill anyway.
Lists were compiled and you voted for the Whole Shebang ( one list or the other ).
total votes caste: 253
List1 : 203
Immediate breakdown, with color pie graphics projected on Antalya conference hall screen.
Oddly, some folks found out they were on a List just 5 minutes before the vote (eg. me , Mariam Jalabi).
Antalya conference Sloppy process
Mariam & I were on (losing) Kid List.
Goodwill all’round . Khawla Yusef, Sondos Soleiman, Melhem Drooby, Ammar Qurabi, on winning list
Young activsts were promised 10 seats
List1 ended up with only 3 , including @Mohammad_Syria who withdrew to protest level of youth inclusion
AND again, it’s only a conference WORK group. The young gen’ers were saying “ we are who will end up doing the actual work anyway”
You know, people are always gonna say stuff like this when you have a conference, and If you don’t have it, you’re also damned.
Beauty vibes , solidarity (which is not the same as no diffs) predominate at this conference ,despite differences.
New blood @ Antalya #Syria conference, says
“ Regarding List 1: Fine , let well-known “Opposition Faces” be the slap to the regime ; we will do the work.”
The call came after a New York Times report that an online video showed a 13-year-old boy, arrested at a protest on April 29, who it said had been tortured, mutilated and killed. UN seeks probe after Syrian boy’s torture-killing Tue, 31 May 2011 19 …
Hamza Ali al-Khateeb’s death explained by to the Syrian government, which claims that damage to the body was consistent with decay of 5 weeks that it sat unidentified. Sana in English
Here is video of the government’s response to the claimed torture of 13 year old Hamza. Here and here. Both are in Arabic.
By DAVID BROOKS
June 2, 2011
By now you have probably heard about Hamza Ali al-Khateeb. He was the 13-year-old Syrian boy who tagged along at an antigovernment protest in the town of Saida on April 29. He was arrested that day, and the police returned his mutilated body to his family a month later. While in custody, he had apparently been burned, beaten, lacerated and given electroshocks. His jaw and kneecaps were shattered. He was shot in both arms. When his father saw the state of Hamza’s body, he passed out…..
All governments do bad things, and Middle East dictatorships do more than most. But the Syrian government is one of the world’s genuinely depraved regimes. Yet for all these years, Israel has been asked to negotiate with this regime, compromise with this regime and trust that this regime will someday occupy the heights over it in peace…..
That’s why it’s necessary, especially at this moment in history, to focus on the nature of regimes, not only the boundaries between them. To have a peaceful Middle East, it was necessary to get rid of Saddam’s depraved regime in Iraq. It will be necessary to try to get rid of Qaddafi’s depraved regime in Libya. It’s necessary, as everybody but the Obama administration publicly acknowledges, to see Assad toppled. It will be necessary to marginalize Hamas. It was necessary to abandon the engagement strategy that Barack Obama campaigned on and embrace the cautious regime-change strategy that is his current doctrine.
The machinations of the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are immaterial. The Arab reform process is the peace process.