Monday, April 18, 2011
By Mona Alami
"BEIRUT, Apr 18, 2011 (IPS) - Despite scarce official news reports emerging from Syria, information leaking out from activists on the ground describe the situation as deteriorating. While the government remains vague about events unfolding in the country, Friday prayers continue to ignite dissent that seems to be spreading to all social classes. "People are very angry, especially since men arrested in the city of Banyas were released and accounts of torture circulated among residents," says one activist, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons.....
But while promises of change are made, the violence continues. In recent weeks, killings among military ranks have spurred speculation that soldiers are being executed for refusing to shoot at demonstrators. Abdah contends that while there are ‘elite’ army units loyal to the Assad family, the vast majority is comprises ordinary Syrians. "The rift within the army has already begun. There are confirmed reports of conscripts and junior officers being executed for disobeying orders to fire on protesters. We have the names of these people. There are also confirmed reports of conscripts deserting in order to avoid killing civilians," he adds. If the use of excessive force against civilians persists, the army hierarchy will be faced with a difficult choice: either acting as an active participant in the bloody crackdown, or taking a stand against security forces. However, a recent statement issued by the Syrian ministry of interior does not indicate that the regime is likely to change its tactics, hinting that in fact violence against protesters could escalate: "There is no more room for leniency or tolerance in enforcing the law, preserving the security of the country and citizens, and protecting public order." "