Escalating Violence in Syria
The Syrian military launched an offensive attack in the surrounding suburbs of Damascus to attempt to regain control. Five civilians were killed on Sunday, raising the death toll to 17 in this most recent attack, and sending many to flee the areas. Witnesses said, around 2,000 soldiers in buses and armoured personnel carriers, along with at least 50 tanks and armoured vehicles, moved at dawn” into the suburbs of Damascus. ”Mosques that have turned into field hospitals are requesting blood. They cut off the electricity. Petrol stations are empty and the army is preventing people from leaving to get fuel for generators or heating,” said an activist. Though the higher levels of violence had been more prevalent in the outskirts of the country, some believe the attack closer to the capital is a sign of a weakening regime.
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council is due to meet with the Chief of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, to discuss a resolution that would call on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Elaraby will be joined by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who has shown strong initiative within the international community in pressuring Assad to step down. “Syria’s UN representative Bashar Jaafari remained defiant, saying: ‘They are talking about my country without consulting us, without sharing with us their concerns, their remarks.’”Arab foreign ministers are also scheduled to meet in the next week to discuss the Syrian crisis.
Additionally, the Syrian National Council released an official statement, announcing that a delegation headed by Dr. Burhan Ghalioun would be holding an emergency meeting with the Security Council. The SNC said it seeks to demand international protection for civilians in Syria. Also, the SNC is calling on all Syrian expatriates to conduct a peaceful sit-in in front of all Russian embassies and consulates as a sign of solidarity for their fellow Syrian citizens. The full text of the press release can be found here.