With the popular uprising in Syria completing its first month, protests against Bashar al-Assad’s regime have spread to encompass most Syrian regions and cities, including now the capital, Damascus. On Friday, April 15, crowds from surrounding suburbs swarmed the city, heading downtown to Abbasiyyin Square where the police fired on protesters and closed all roads and entrances leading toward the square.
It’s not on the front pages of the Western press, and it’s not leading the hour for the main Arab satellite networks like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, but the Syrian uprising continues apace, while the Assad regime’s countermeasures are becoming increasingly brutal.
The Lebanese seem to be keeping mum after Bashar al-Assad’s speech this afternoon. Sure, there are no doubt plenty of opinions to go around, but why bring unnecessary attention to Lebanon’s own problems?
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:
It's hard to tell how many protesters are in the streets of the Syrian capital, but it's hardly surprising that, after Egypt and Libya, the regime in Damascus might be next in line. Bashar al-Assad and his security chiefs guessed as much, which is why the last few weeks they warned the foreign and Arab press corps not to cover the protests scheduled for today and the only record we have so far is from YouTube.
Since taking office in 1999, Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chávez has embraced just about every anti-American dictator and strongman on the planet. So it was no surprise last weekend when Syrian boss Bashar Assad made his first trip to Latin America and met with Chávez in Caracas.