Entries in Uprising (5)


Letter From Damascus: ‘It Feels Like This Will Never End’


On this first anniversary of the start of the Syrian uprising, I wrote to a friend in Damascus to ask how things are going and where they might be headed. Syria’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have seen almost none of the violence that has gripped the rest of the country, except for a string of suicide bombings.

However, they certainly feel the effects of the regime’s crackdowns elsewhere and the impact of the harsh international economic sanctions that have followed.

The friend is Christian, middle class and agreed to let me publish her thoughts and observations here. I have made minor edits.

“Being in the capital things feel a lot less stressful than the outskirts. But still as girls we used to go out at night with no problems, now it’s definitely not as safe as it used to feel before. I try to be home by dark and if I need to park my car away from home and it’s late, someone from the house would have to meet me and walk with me to the house...Every once in a while you hear sporadic gunfire… Last night around 2:00 o’clock at night I heard four consecutive blasts.

“We have power cuts of six hours total a day and I try to arrange my schedules around the power cuts schedules. Talking to people and being part of it, everyone is so sick of the power cuts. In the suburban areas they have almost up to 12 hrs…

“The sanctions don’t end at the power cuts. For example now at the house we are running out of diesel and we are waiting for our turn for the fills. It’s more expensive and we just had enough to heat water for showers. There was a gas shortage ten days ago and there were long lines at the gas stations. Kids have to study and do homework on little lamps or even candles. The food has become expensive. Basic foods like eggs, milk for kids, chicken. Almost every product now costs double what it used to.

“It doesn’t matter anymore if I feel the regime is winning, which it looks like they are. The overall popular uprising will never stop, simply too many people have lost their dear family members and this will never stop. It feels more like when one area is silenced for couple of days another become active!

“It seems that if the international community wanted this regime out, it would have been out a long time ago. Now the case seems to have shifted on humanitarian aid rather than the uprising generally.

“I feels like this will never end. Now there are two armed sides with lots of blood and the regime will not give up. The only way is through negotiations which have failed to even start.

“People are definitely worried and depressed, the young now feel like the world has shut the door to them. I know many that have offers to work in the [United Arab] Emirates after a year of unemployment or so in Syria. But now they can’t go because they can’t get visas.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egyptians Gather to Celebrate One Year Anniversary of Uprising

A man in Tahrir Square celebrates as it's announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was giving up power. Chris Hondros/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Thousands of Egyptians are once again marching and gathering across Egypt on Wednesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The main events are taking place in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the anti-government protests that began across the country on Jan. 25, 2011.

Many are celebrating the end of Mubarak's 30-year rule but others are protesting the slow transition from the ruling military council to a civilian government, ABC's Alex Marquardt reports.
Even so, the gatherings have been peaceful, and police and military officers have not interferred.

In the wake of Mubarak's ouster, which was supported by President Obama, voting in Egypt has led to hard-line Islamists' rise to power in parliament. The terror-linked Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party recently won 235 seats in the 498 seat chamber, and one of its members was named parliament speaker.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Syria Uprising: More than 100 Killed Monday?

Hemera/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS) -- On the same day that Syria signed a deal to allow Arab League observers into the country, activist groups are reporting that more than 100 people were killed. If their estimate proves to be accurate, Monday would be one of the bloodiest days in the nine-month uprising.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – based on one eyewitness account -- said that 60-70 would-be defectors were mowed down by machine gun fire as they fled their posts in the northern Idlib province; another group, the Syrian Revolution General Commission told the BBC that that number was 72. Activists say another 30-40 civilians were killed across the country on Monday.

The Syrian government has not responded to these claims.

Here is the statement from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:

A defected soldier has told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that dozens of defected soldiers were killed today in gunfire by machine guns. They were killed while trying to run away from their military positions on the way between the villages of Kensafra and Kefer Quaid, in Zawyia Mountain, in Idlib district. He added that the Syrian authorities have dragged the bodies of the soldiers. The defected soldier who was wounded himself said that almost 60-70 soldiers were killed.

The death toll of civilians for today Monday 19 December 2011 has risen to 40 martyrs for whom we have their identity records and circumstances of death. 11 people were killed in Daraa and another 9 in Idlib including 2 children. Also, 3 people were fallen martyrs in the neighbourhood of Al-Meedan in Damascus, 3 martyrs were fallen in Deir Ezzor and 13 in Homs. And a person was killed in Hama under torture.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


UN: Death Toll in Syrian Uprising Exceeds 3,000

AFP/Getty Images(GENEVA) -- More than 3,000 Syrians have been killed since the uprising began there seven months ago, according to the United Nations high commissioner for human rights.

That death toll includes at least 187 children and over 100 people who were killed in the last 10 days, Navi Pillay said in a statement Friday.

"Since the start of the uprising in Syria, the Government has consistently used excessive force to crush peaceful protests...The result has been a devastatingly remorseless toll of human lives," Pillay said.

Along with the number of deaths, Pillay noted that "thousands have been arrested, detained, forcibly disappeared and tortured" since the movement began in March.

"The Government of Syria has manifestly failed to protect its population," she said.

Pillay continued, "all members of the international community to take protective action in a collective and decisive manner, before the continual ruthless repression and killings drive the country into a full-blown civil war."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libya Declares Immediate Ceasefire Following UN Vote

ABC News(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Libya’s foreign minister declared a ceasefire on Friday, just hours after the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that authorized the international community to take "all necessary measures" short of sending in ground troops, to protect civilians in Libya.

The UN’s vote on Thursday came just as Col. Moammar Gadhafi said his forces were planning a major offensive on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

The council voted 10-0 with five abstentions, including Russia and China.

With attacks likely imminent, Gadhafi warned rebels Thursday, "We will find you."

"We are coming tonight," he said. "There won't be any mercy."

The resolution also authorized the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya as a way to protect the opposition fighters and civilians from Gadhafi's jets.

Following the vote, Col. Gadhafi’s son, Saif Gadhafi, spoke to ABC News, calling the resolution "unfair because, as you know, from the beginning we told to everybody there were no air strikes against civilians, no bombing of civilian districts or demonstrations.  And thousands of those reports showed they were false."

“You are not helping to the people if you are going to bomb Libya, to kill Libyans," Gadhafi told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour.

“We have to be very careful.  This is a trick,” said Ali Sulaiman Aujali, the former Libyan ambassador to the U.S. who has sided with anti-Gadhafi forces, at a press conference Friday.  “[Col. Gadhafi] will commend the resolution, but in the same time, he’s invading Misratah, he’s killing the people, he’s moving his arms from to strategic points.  You have to be very careful.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio