As expected, the lifting of the emergency law in Syria hasn’t deterred government crackdowns on protesters. Today was the bloodiest day since the uprisings began in Syria, with probably dozens killed after Bashar al-Assad’s forces opened fire on crowds of demonstrators. The Guardian reported:
Although firm information was difficult to obtain, at least 49 people were reported killed, including two in Douma, at least one in Homs, at least six in the southern town of Izraa, and others in Moudamiya, outside Damascus, the activists said. With more casualties being reported by the hour, there were fears the final toll may be significantly higher.
As Max wrote yesterday, the Obama administration’s response to the violence in Syria has been curiously demure. Such coyness can’t continue, not after this latest clash. At the very least we should be thinking about recalling the ambassador we sent to Syria, since his presence there obviously hasn’t done any good. But there are many other steps we can take, short of military intervention, that would help encourage the protesters and put more pressure on Assad. Sitting on our hands is no longer an option.
Update: Quoting Syrian human rights organisation Sawasiah, Reuters is now reporting that the death toll in Syrian demonstrations today has risen to 70.