At least 11 villagers have been killed today in the Jabal al-Zawya region of Syria, just south of the border with Turkey. The deaths came when Syrian troops attacked the region, with a number of tanks backing them up.
The troops reportedly were carrying out searches in the region following anti-regime sit-ins staged by lawyers. The attacks spurred calls for major protests on Thursday, in addition to the massive protests held regularly held on Friday.
The latest deaths add an additional layer of intrigue over the prospect of a “national dialogue” early in July, and has convinced more and more protesters that the offer is not sincere. The Syrian government’s offers for reform and dialogue have not slowed their crackdowns.
At the same time, that crackdown has done absolutely nothing to dampen the spirits of protesters, who after months of rallies and 1,500 deaths seem more determined than ever to see the demonstrations through to the end. Ultimately some offer of talks is going to have to be sincere if the Assad regime is to survive, because nothing short of massive reforms is going to satisfy the protesters.