Daily Israel Report

Assad Follows Speech for ‘Dialogue’ With Murder of 7 Protesters

Assad’s army and police killed seven more protesters 24 hours after he promised a “national dialogue.” Ehud Barak: Assad will fall in six months.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/21/2011, 4:52 PM / Last Update: 6/21/2011, 5:10 PM

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army and secret police killed seven more demonstrators Tuesday 24 hours after the Syrian president promised to initiate a “national dialogue.”

The protest movement’s Local Coordinating Committees reported that the bloodshed occurred in Homs, in central Syria, and in the eastern city of Deir el Zour.

The government propaganda machine stated that the army has found a huge cache of weapons as well as a mass grave, where protesters supposedly killed troops. The official government SANA news agency on Tuesday posted a picture of “millions” of people in Damascus rallying in support of Assad, but Syrian Youth Abroad posted a video of a demonstration in a suburb of the capital against him.

An unconfirmed report by the Reform Party of Syria claims that Rami Makhluf, Assad’s cousin and the country’s richest businessman, has fled the country with his immediate family in a private jet. ”It is highly likely he is heading to a location able to provide protection for the billions he has stashed under fake Syrian, Iranian or Venezuelan passports,” according to the party’s website.

Assad and the protest movement continue to stake their ground, with neither side budging despite the murder of approximately 1,500 protesters and the arrest of more than 10,000 others. Assad on Tuesday promised another amnesty, but a similar move three weeks ago resulted in the release of only several hundred political prisoners among thousands who have been jailed or who have disappeared.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an interview with the Associated Press, predicted that Assad’s ”demise” will occur in six months. "It's my personal judgment that Bashar Assad crossed the point of no return towards his demise," the Defense Minister said. "He probably will stay around for another quarter or two but that will not change his fate."

Jakob Kellenberge, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) president, announced on Tuesday that Assad has “agreed to give the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent wider access to areas of unrest.”