Syrian state media today reported at least 120 troops were killed by “armed gangs” in the area around the town of Jisr al-Shugur, the site of yesterday’s major protests and violent crackdown. The toll was impossible to verify.
Syria’s state TV said 82 were killed in the city itself as a result of an ambush, and that government buildings across the area had been attacked, many of them being set on fire. The toll has continued to rise throughout the morning, with reporters initially saying 20, then 40, then 80 were killed before settling on 120.
Residents of Jisr al-Shugur described the situation as relative calm, saying that a handful of protesters had attacked police with hunting rifles yesterday, and that there were an unknown number of deaths, but that the situation had quieted down.
Syria’s Interior Minister Ibrahim Shaar promised a “decisive” response to the deaths. Government officials have repeated termed the protesters “armed terrorists” and the like, and today’s massive putative death toll fits neatly into this narrative.
2 thoughts on “Syria: 120 Troops Killed Around Protest City”
A lie. Assad is as big a liar as Mubarak, Qaddafi, Israel and the US combined. As for the 'gangs' yeah, in Egypt they turned out to be thugs and in Libya they were mercenaries from Africa. What a tragedy!
What has transpired at the city of Jisr al-Shughour remains confused except for the possibility that the rebellion against Bashar Assad may escalate. Conflicting reports concerning the death of 120 government forces will be overshadowed by a major assault upon this city. This may very well be the start of civil war. Reports are coming out that the Muslim Brotherhood, who led the 1982 revolt, are equipping in anticipation of armed struggle. Even if the attack upon Jisr al-Shughour does not result in widespread destruction, the seeds for civil war will blossom. The spiraling of marches and repression has gone on too long and the desire for retribution increases. Reprisals and sectarian violence is almost a sure thing. International calls of outrage are pushing for greater response from the US and EU. Material support and/or armed intervention will only contribute to the territorial and national disintegration.
One of the strongest arguments President Assad has used to keep some semblance of allegiance from the majority of the populace is that outside sources are behind the uprising. The funneling of arms and money would lend credence to his case. It would divide the citizens into camps that would reenact the events of Lebanon and Iraq. US and/or EU armed intervention will not be a Libyan redux. It will take an effort similar to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The defeat of Syria’s army is a foregone conclusion–as was the Iraqi’s. But it is the aftermath that will see a long and bloody battle that will produce far more than 2,000 plus dead.
As distasteful as it may seem, those who wish to see a stable, unified and more democratic Syria must offer a different pathway. The 40 year regime of the Assads must end, but in arriving at this point negotiations must be reached between the protestors and government supporters that permits as smooth a transition as possible. Calling for criminal actions against Assad et al will not encourage them to surrender themselves for punishment. Neither will the continuing mass demonstrations allow Bashar the fig-leaf of acting without duress. It is here that outside parties could use their offices through backdoor channels to bring about an arrangement that would remove the present dictatorship, minimize reprisals, insure domestic tranquillity and avoid sectarian clashes, establish a temporary government that will protect civil and political rights, establish a formula for a new governmental system, and maintain territorial integrity and national unity.
Time is not on anyone’s side except death and destruction.
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