Saturday, April 23, 2011

Unlike regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, Syrian authorities retain tight control

"By late Friday, 81 people were confirmed dead, said Wissam Tarif, director of a Syrian human rights group. In at least 10 towns and cities, activists and witnesses said, government forces shot into crowds, beat protesters with batons and Kalashnikovs, and used tear gas against them... In Washington, President Obama made his toughest statement to date on the situation in Syria, condemning the use of force “in the strongest possible terms” and calling on Assad to “change course now.” For the first time, Obama directly blamed the Syrian president for the crackdown, saying Assad had placed his “personal interests” ahead of his people, and tied Syrian repression to Iran. But Obama stopped well short of calling on Assad to cede power. While his statement marked a sharp escalation in tone, it offered no indication that further U.S. action was being contemplated"

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