Saturday 24 March 2018

Assad offensive fails to crush spirit of anti-regime protesters

Adrian Blomfield

President Bashar al-Assad's brutal Ramadan offensive against his own people appeared to have failed yesterday after anti-regime demonstrations erupted across Syria.

At least 10 people were killed as the security forces responded with the familiar mercilessness that has characterised the authorities' response to the uprising over the past five months.

The defiance on the streets represented a major blow to Mr Assad, whose decision to escalate the use of force over the past fortnight seems to have misfired badly.

Fearing precisely such scenes, Mr Assad ordered tanks to invade a series of restive cities and towns on the eve of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, which began on Monday of last week.

More than 400 people were killed in the worst bloodshed since the uprising began, but by yesterday it was clear that he had not succeeded in crushing the protesters.

Two people were killed in Hama, with more fatalities reported in the cities of Deir el-Zor, Homs, Lattakia and in suburbs of the capital Damascus. If Mr Assad has failed to subdue his people, he has succeeded in alienating many of his global supporters.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, called on China, India and Russia to impose energy sanctions on Syria and halt arms exports to the Assad regime. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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