Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Syria Surrounded

The government action in Syria marks perhaps the bloodiest week since the uprising began this year. The entrance of tanks into Hama and Deir al-Zour has caused the deaths of hundreds of people this weekend. As the brutality appears to continue, the neighbours around Syria are placing pressure on President al-Assad's regime and condemning his actions.

They follow on from a domino effect of countries openly criticising the Syrian government, calling for an end to the violence and an appreciation of human rights. The streets have been emptied by government forces that feel threatened by the possibility of increased protest accompanying the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Residents that have managed to flee the city say that 400 people have been killed over the past 4 days.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia shakes hands with Bashar al-Assad in Damascus (July 2010)

Today, Turkey's foreign minister will travel to Syria to demand an end to government violence. This follows King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who further criticises the government action on its own people. Kuwait and Bahrain have joined these neighbouring countires in recalling their envoys to Damascus.

The head of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi, stated that he wishes the crisis can be overcome by 'peaceful means' and 'serious dialogue towards the reconciliation that the people have been demanding.' Al-Azhar, the top Sunni Muslim authority, have also stated that the actions have 'gone too far.'

Pope Benedict XVI also called for Mr Assad to respond to the 'legitimate aspirations' of the people.

The 'strong statements' presented by influential figures within the region are praised by the US State Department, who say they are 'very much encouraged.'

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