It was in many ways a typical Friday in Syria today, as Friday morning prayers gave way to massive pro-democracy protests nationwide, followed by violent crackdowns by the Assad regime, killing at least 32 people according to activists.
Reports from the crackdowns in the north saw the military using helicopter gunships in an effort to disperse protesters, which is the first reported case of aircraft being used in the months of demonstrations.
The violence in the north has seen a growing number of people fleeing into neighboring Turkey with estimates of some 3,000 families seeking refuge along both sides of the border. A number of the refugees cited fear of a “bloodbath” in the wake of the claims of 120 troops killed in Jisr al-Shugur.
So far, however, there was no bloodbath and this appears to be an extremely ordinary Friday, with a massive protest and a violent crackdown by security forces, and neither indicating a willingness to give an inch.