Protestors take to the streets as Syria’s crisis enters its third year

A Syrian girl living in Jordan, with her face painted with the Syrian revolutionary flag, attends a protest marking two years since the start of the uprising, in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman. (Reuters)

The people of Syria woke up to news that regime forces have killed more than 50 civilians Friday, marking the two-year anniversary of the country’s crisis. The end of violence is nowhere to be seen as reports that Assad warplanes are shelling neighborhoods in Damascus and other parts of the country spread.

Despite the regime’s violent history in cracking down on unarmed protesters, who were inspired by the 2011 Arab Spring, Syrians took to the streets in major cities – including Homs, Aleppo, Daraa and Damascus – across the country demanding the fall of the regime and freedom.

By early Friday morning, insurgents in Aleppo’s suburb town of Khan Toman had claimed control over a regime’s weapons warehouse, which had a large number of missiles that the Assad forces have used to crush dissent.

 

Meanwhile, clashes broke out in the capital along the main road leading to Damascus International Airport and mortar shells fell on houses in various neighborhoods in Jaramanah and Jawbar killing and injuring civilians.

According to the United Nations, the rebel Free Syrian Army has seized 75 percent of the country’s territory, but a growing concern of developed tensions between liberals, moderate Muslims and powerful Islamists is raising international fears of a collapse into sectarian bloodbath.

The Syrian Human Rights Watch has released a report that an average of 135 civilians are killed daily, prompting an ever-growing number of Syrians to take up arms.

“There is nothing to fear anymore, whether we hide in our homes or get out on the streets, we see death every minute of the day,” said 27-year-old activist Mouayyed from Homs.

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s regional operation also commented on the shocking number of civilians killed every day, telling AFP: “Is deplorable that high numbers of civilian casualties are now a daily occurrence to which people are unfortunately getting accustomed.”

In the last two years, more than 80,000 people have been killed, at least one million have been displaced and the country’s economy has practically crashed.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000 after the death of his father, Hafez. The then 35-year-old president was popular among his people and was admired for his new approaches of reform and more liberal views.

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Last Update: Saturday, 16 March 2013 KSA 10:08 - GMT 07:08
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