Syrian forces shot and killed mourners at a funeral on Saturday as the death toll in the uprising passes 300. Syrian President Bashar Assad faces a clear and present threat to his regime.
Syria has clamped a blackout on reporting from the country and has expelled most journalists from the scenes of protests. Smuggled YouTube videos and digital camera pictures have shown Syrian armed forces firing on thousands of protesters. Reports say close to 125 people were killed on Friday and Saturday.
The demonstrations in Syria, where Assad said last month “it can’t happen here,” have grown from demand for more political freedom to calls for the outright ouster of Assad, whose secret police have helped him to become a feared if not respected dictator with a tight grip on the country.
Muslim Middle East revolutions already have forced the ousters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the ruler of Tunisia. The Yemini leader Ali Abdullah Saleh also has bowed to mounting protests and has agreed to step down.
Assad’s offer to remove emergency laws, which have been in effect for almost 50 years, appear to have been “too little, too late” and have not quieted the surge of opposition.
Official state media reported that Syrian forces shot at "criminals” who attacked firemen and other government forces.