Syrian Death Toll Marches On

Syrian forces killed 8 and arrested dozens, including artists and intellectuals, as the Arab League condemns 'foreign interference' in the country.

Gabe Kahn., | updated: 02:15

Syrians flee gunfire (archive)
Syrians flee gunfire (archive)
Israel news photo:screenshot YouTube ShamSNN


Syrian security forces killed at least eight people and arrested dozens, including artists and intellectuals, in the past 24 hours as President Bashar Assad's bloody crackdown continues, Reuters reported Thursday.

The killings and seizing of political prisoners took place in the capital, Damascus, the northern Idlib province and a restive area near the Turkish border in the northwest.

The continued repression of the Syrian populace runs concurrent with an Arab League statement defending Assad and condemning 'foreign interference' in Syria's domestic affairs after the UN condemned Assad's regime for not protecting foreign embassies.

The censure came after Assad loyalists attempted to storm the US and French embassies after their ambassadors traveled to the embattled city of Hama in a show of solidarity with opposition protesters.

The Arab League consists of many nations - such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen - who have executed their own brutal crackdowns in order to ride out what has come to be known as the 'Arab Spring.'

Assad is trying to crush a four-month-old uprising that refuses to blink despite the deadly government crackdown that has killed some 1,600 people since the middle of March.

Syria's government disputes the toll and blames the bloodshed on a foreign conspiracy and "armed gangs." Assad has acknowledged the need for reforms, but the protesters have refused dialogue while the killings and mass arrests continue, saying promises of reform are merely "ink on paper."

At least seven people were killed by Assad gunmen late Wednesday during army raids in the Jabal Al Zawiya region in the northern Idlib province, said Syria-based activist Mustafa Osso.

The province has been the scene of military operations for weeks, apparently aimed at preventing residents from fleeing to neighboring Turkey.

The Turkish refugee camps housing thousands of Syrians have been a source of deep embarrassment to the Assad regime.

The Local Coordination Committees, which track anti-government protests in Syria, said a 45-year-old man was shot dead Thursday in Deir Al Zour province, near the border with Iraq, when security forces fired at protesters.