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Protesters Detained in Syria as Clashes Breakout

11:09 AM, Mar 17, 2011 • By LEE SMITH
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Cairo

Here's a YouTube video of protests outside the Syrian embassy in Cairo today, presumably conducted in sympathy with Syrian demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Damascus and other cities throughout Syria:

With the press virtually silent on events in Syria, most of what we know is coming via Facebook and Twitter. So far we know that after yesterday's demonstrations in front of the Interior Ministry in Damascus, 34 protesters were detained. According to one Facebook page: "The opposition is using different tactics. Instead of naming locations, they have assigned different numbers to streets, corners, and meeting places. It forces the regime to deploy a large number of security forces to cover a whole city."

Now there are reports of clashes between protesters and Syrian security forces in Damascus. And more demonstrations are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, following Friday prayers, across all of Syria.

Given the violent nature of the regime in Damascus—its support for terrorism, jailing and torturing its own citizens—and the fact that this minority Alawite regime may get even more violent if it winds up fighting for its life against the country's Sunni majority, it may seem strange that news of arrests and skirmishes seem to be encouraging the protesters instead of keeping them home. But it's worth keeping in mind that given the tightly knit nature of Arab families, if a family member is roughed up then it's the responsibility of other family members to stick up for them. That is to say, there seems to be some middle ground with regime violence, or before it reaches the Qaddafian stage of full-on warfare, which may in fact be counterproductive in putting down protests; it may instead empower them.

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