Monday, April 11, 2011

Rebels kill Syrian hits

New armed attacks on demonstrators have been declared in Syria, a country that lives its fourth week of protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Baath Party, which asked "freedom." Groups of armed men in civilian clothes and loyal to the regime, which have shot took to the streets to protest in the coastal city of Banias.

At least nine people, including a 11 year old boy, were killed and two others were injured by the alleged shooting of the security forces at two locations in northwest Syria, according to opposition organizations. The rest of the city remained relatively quiet after Bloody Friday in which 37 people were killed by gunfire from security forces, according to the account of a Syrian human rights organization.

Most victims (30) occurred in the southern city of Dera, the epicenter of the protests. On Saturday, the city remained surrounded by the army, after security forces opened fire on funeral processions. Syria Protests spread last Friday a large number of cities, which represents an unprecedented challenge to President al-Assad, who accumulates 11 years in power and who has promised reforms to the protesters.

Syria is a key piece in the puzzle of the Middle East, where it maintains alliances with Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia-party. The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, called the Syrian president to investigate the deaths of civilians and called it "unacceptable" attack on peaceful demonstrators.

For his part, Assad spoke for the first time since he delivered a televised speech sounded that protests blamed a foreign conspiracy. Any spiral of instability in Syria would have broader strategic implications, as the country is at the heart of the conflict in the Middle East, maintaining an alliance with Iran against Israel and supporting Hezbollah and Hamas militant movements.

The political system in Syria is considered one of the most closed in the Middle East, with strict limitations on freedom of expression, association and press. Syria's emergency law gives sweeping powers of arrest and detention by security forces. The human rights record of the government in Damascus is rated "poor" by specialized agencies such as Amnesty International, Freedom House and Human Rights Watch.

Officially, Syria is not a one-party state, but Article 8 of the Constitution states that the Syrian ruling Baath is the "leading party in the state and society, very similar to the formula used by the Party communism in the former Soviet Union or China.

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