Syrian tanks continued to press into the city of Hama today, with dozens reported slain in the first couple of days since the Sunday massacre which killed upwards of 140 people. Despite the massive crackdown, protests continue in the streets nationwide.
The overall death toll in the past few days of crackdowns is still unclear, but is likely to be the largest since the pro-democracy protests began five months ago. The violence has brought a particularly somber tone to this year’s Ramadan, with opposition figures calling for nightly rallies in several major cities.
And the religious holiday has the regime cracking down on the nation’s Sunni majority, with reports that troops have closed a number of major Sunni mosques across suburbs of Damascus, saying they were being used by protesters to organize against the Shi’ite-led government.
The rising death toll has the United Nations again mulling putting forward a resolution condemning the crackdown. Such a measure might be significantly easier if it were not for the March resolution against Libya being used as a pretext for a NATO war, as a number of nations, particularly Russia and India, expressing concerns about a redux in Syria.
At the same time, the US is adding to ties with certain preferred Syrian opposition factions, with Senators pushing for “crippling” sanctions against the government as part of a bid for regime change. The US involvement is likely to only make matters worse for the opposition, however, as it will bolster the regime’s claims that the protests are being driven by overseas enemies. Still, military leaders insist, they don’t believe a US invasion is in the cards.