Monday, December 12, 2011
Syrians hold strikes
On Sunday a national strike was held across Syria. In Madaya (governorate of Damascus) shops were closed and people burned tires in the streets.
Opposition activists in Syria said they had shut down much of the capital and other towns with a strike on Sunday. The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), a Syrian rights group, organised the civil disobedience campaign, including the closure of shops and universities in protest, as well as sit-in demonstrations across the country.
"For the first time we have seen business close in multiple districts in Damascus and spread to most of the suburbs and provinces. The aim is to reach civil disobedience that encompasses all sectors and forces the regime down," said Rima Fleihan, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council.
Elsewhere Syrian troops and army defectors fought one of the biggest battles so far.ii the uprising. Troops mainly from the 12th Armoured Brigade based in Isra, 40 km from the southern border with Jordan, stormed the nearby town of Busra al-Harir. The sound of explosions and heavy machineguns was heard there and in Lujah, an area of rocky hills north of the town, where defectors from the army have been hiding and attacking military supply lines, residents and activists said. "Lujah has been the safest area for defectors to hide because it is difficult for tanks and infantry to infiltrate. The region has caves and secret passageways and extends all the way to Damascus countryside," said an activist, who gave his name as Abu Omar.
At least 26 people were killed by government troops on Sunday, including a woman and four children, activists said. Nine of them were killed in the city of Homs, six in Hama, three in Deraa, two in Idlib and another two outside of Damascus.
Syrians are casting ballots in local elections on Monday, but turnout is expected to be low as activists have called for a boycott of the polls.
Arab foreign ministers will meet on Saturday to discuss a response to Syria's conditional acceptance of an Arab peace plan aimed at ending its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, Egypt's MENA news agency said, citing an Arab diplomat.
And in a development likely to raise Western pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Paris believed Syria was behind attacks that wounded French peacekeepers in neighbouring Lebanon on Friday. "We have strong reason to believe these attacks came from there (Syria)," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on RFI radio. "We think it's most probable, but I don't have proof." France has been leading Western efforts to force Assad to end the crackdown.
Demonstration are still going on in Syria, but are now mostly held at night. Here Anadan in the Aleppo governorate.
Cruelties committed in Homs, a video leaked by people in the army.
Tanks move into the town of Tafas in the southern governorate of Dera'a.