Daily Israel Report

Assad Declares War on Protesters

Embattled president Bashar Assad declared a 'state of war' in Syria in what may indicate he plans to follow in his father's footsteps.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 9/9/2011, 3:54 PM

Syrian President Bashar Assad declared a state of war Wednesday and issued a general mobilization of troops, Al-Quds newspaper reported.

Operation "Bayrak al-Assad" was implemented secretly, and is a "major military operation" requiring full mobilization of military forces in Syria for concentrated offensives on cities across the country in order to eliminate "terrorists who threaten us," according to the report.

On Friday Syria state television broadcast footage of 'terrorists' confessing to building bombs in order to attack civilians and Syrian forces in Latakia, Israel Radio reported.

Additionally, Syrian opposition leaders called on protesters to organize large demonstrations this, and every, Friday, according to the report.

Syria's new military operation are an escalation of President Bashar Assad's violent crackdown against the widespread protests against Assad's regime in March.

The newly declared state of war may be a sign Assad, whose internationally condemned crackdown has seemed half-hearted when compared to his father's 1982 crackdown thus far, is preparing to repeat history.

In 1982 Hafez al-Assad ordered the Syrian army to put down a revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood centered on the central city of Hama killing as many as 40,000. Assad's regime, who has maintained the protest movement was the work of "terrorists."

According to Al Quds, the stated goal of the new offensive is, "the elimination of armed rebellion, proclaimed by terrorist organizations against the civilian population and elements of the army and security forces for several months."

The move indicates Assad – knowing he does not face foreign military intervention – remains unmoved by sanctions from the West and broad criticism that includes his Arab allies.

Earlier this week Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi was told he would not be welcome in Damascus on the eve he was expected to carry a resolution from the body imploring Assad to stop the crackdown and make reforms.

Some 2,200 protesters have been killed in Syria since March.