Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brief Notes on Syria

Each week more and more evidence of the gradual collapse of the Assad regime continues to accumulate. First of all, the regime in Damascus seems to be growing increasingly nervous about the prospect of protest in Aleppo, the merchant city.  An Aleppo merchant noticed an increasing number of checkpoints in his city, especially on roads leading north to Turkey and east. 12 people including a mosque preacher were arrested in the village of Tel Rifaat halfway between Aleppo and the Turkish border. The regime also arrested tens of Aleppo University students. The regime is adding checkpoints in the Aleppo area and arresting students in order to deter the residents from joining their countrymen in their protests. At the same time, the absence of an Aleppo committee among the Local Coordinating Committees is highly noticeable and may reflect the lack of an organized effort to challenge the regime in Aleppo.

A Syrian journalist in Damascus also noted brave examples of cooperation between Alawites and Sunnis in the mixed city of Lattakia. Upon learning that the regime was singling out Sunni college students in Lattakia based upon their identity cards and murdering them, Alawite families began sheltering Sunni university students in their homes. These Alawite families are to be highly commended for their courage because they are risking their lives to stand with their Sunni compatriots. In a remarkable demonstration of unity,”an Alawite imam started leading Sunnis in prayers, while a Sunni imam led the Alawites.” This display of religious unity is exactly the kind of unity that Syrians will need to demonstrate in order to free their country from Assad’s oppression. In light of the religious differences between Sunnis and Alawites, this action is even more significant.

Finally, I would like to publicly thank Mr. Farid Ghadry and the Reform Party of Syria (RPS) for visiting Italy and joining Jewish MP and Vice President Fiamma Nirenstein in a meeting with the Italian parliament to demand that Italy take a firm and clear stand against the Assad regime and in support of the Syrian people’s freedom struggle.  In addition, thank you to Mr. Ghadry for speaking in Rome at the dedication of a pro-Israel book and delivering his own pro-Israel speech. I hope that Mr. Ghadry’s brave stand for Israel and the Jews will help a free Syria to one day establish peace and diplomatic relations with Israel and the Jews.

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