At least 233 members of Syria’s ruling Ba’ath Party announced their resignations today in two key cities, as a way of protesting the violent crackdowns against protesters. The Ba’ath Party has ruled Syria since 1963, but is facing its largest public protests over the past several weeks.
The number included approximately 200 Ba’athists in the city of Daraa, the center of public protest and the most recent target of crackdowns. The others were in the coastal city of Baniyas, another early protest hub.
Resigning from the Ba’ath Party is political and career suicide in Syria, where their dominance is codified into law. The move reflects the massive outrage at the crackdowns, as well as the sense that the protesters may eventually force change in the nation.
The crackdowns on Daraa have continued to escalate throughout the week, with more tanks and heavy weaponry deployed to the city. The city’s mosques are said to be broadcasting calls for the military to stop killing civilians.