Killings in Syria despite holy celebrations

Seven people have been killed in Syria as security forces dispersed anti-government protesters on Tuesday, say rights groups. Meanwhile, the EU has confirmed that further sanctions on the Middle East country are imminent.

­Syrian security forces opened fire on thousands of protesters gathered in the southern province of Daraa, as well as in the central city of Homs, killing seven, say activists. Other reports suggest the toll includes those killed in similar protests in the suburbs of Damascus.

The violence in Syria has entered a new cycle, surging in the holy month of Ramadan, despite President Bashar Al-Assad’s pledge to halt military and police action against anti-government protesters. Reports of the latest deaths come on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim three-day holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

In Europe, which has been following the protests in Syria since they broke out in March, the European Commission has confirmed a new embargo on Syria is close to completion. The measures, including a ban on Syrian oil exports, will come into effect in the coming days, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Earlier this month, the UN condemned the Syrian government’s continuing crackdown on the opposition. The UN estimates that over 2,200 people have been killed since anti-government protests began to sweep the country in March.

The UN is currently divided over the next resolution to be adopted in regard to Syria. The US and some other countries propose to sanction President Assad and his entourage, while Russia and China say a call to halt violence and start talks would suffice.

But Dr. Ibrahim Alloush, a professor at Zaytouneh University in Jordan, believes that the West wants to instigate instability in the Middle East country. Whatever reforms President Assad promises will not matter for certain key players, he says.   

I don’t think that the US government or the allies of the US are interested to reform the Syrian regime. This is just a red herring they have thrown to justify meddling in the internal affairs of Syria. It does not matter what the Syrian regime does. What is required of the Syrian regime is to accept the dictates of the US and Israel,” Dr. Ibrahim Alloush told RT.

If the West gets the slightest opportunity to interfere in Syria, it will not be satisfied with toppling the head of the current regime, as happened in Egypt, concludes Dr. Ibrahim Alloush. The whole state will be removed and then recreated to be favorable to the US-NATO alliance and royal Arab regimes from Saudi Arabia to Morocco, he states.

­According Ahmed Badawi, director of Transform: Center for Conflict Analysis, smart sanctions combined with other types of measures could solve the situation in Syria.

“I would imagine the best way to deal with the situation is a mixture of all available tools,” he said. “One can safely exclude a military intervention. Syria is not like Lebanon. Military intervention is going to be very costly, and I do not think anyone is taking this option seriously anyway. So, it will have to be a mixture of smart sanctions and negotiations.”