June 24, 2019

Syrian tanks storm Baniyas

Baniyas is the home of an ancient crusader fortress. At the moment the city is one of the key fortresses in the uprising. Shame about the tanks.

Syrian troops and tanks loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have swept into the port city of Baniyas to crush anti-government protests.

Government forces have been massing outside the city for days, while Assad’s ruthless crackdown was unleashed upon his own people in the southern city of Deraa.

Human rights groups report that three columns of tanks are converging on the Sunni districts of Baniyas.

“Residents are reporting the sound of heavy gunfire and seeing Syrian navy boats off the Baniyas coast. Sunni and mixed neighbourhoods are totally besieged now,” one rights campaigner, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters news agency.

The United States is ramping up the pressure on Syria, warning Damascus to end its brutal crackdown on protesters.

The White House said on Friday it would take “additional steps” if President Bashar al-Assad did not move to end the bloodshed. So far the noises coming from the White House has been thoroughly ignored by Assad.

Without foreign observers or members of the western media in Syria it is hard to get a fix on the level of the crackdown. The most reliable source of information are the human rights groups who are trying to monitor the reprisals across Syria.

So far the death toll in the nearly two-month long uprising, is estimated to be approaching 1000, with hundreds being detained without trial.

With numerous video clips of the crackdown against the protests flooding the internet, the worlds opinion is formly against Assad’s regime.

There is no sign of the protests buckling under the government onslaught, in fact if anything they are growing and becoming more widespread.

THe United States and the United Nations flushed with success over the tracking and assassination of Osama Bin Laden will have no qualms about cranking up serious sanctions against the United States former covert ally.

If Assad can be brought down from within it will also increase the pressure of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. The more authoritarian regimes that fall in the region, the more likely it is that Gaddafi will take the nearest exit.