Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Google Was Making A Space Elevator And A Hoverboard, But Couldn't Get Them To Work

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bitter pill to swallow

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Investors take fright over Google results

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism (part 2)

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Rwandan singer amongst terror plot suspects

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

  • Algeria heads to the polls: ‘This election has nothing to do with us’

    Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine to begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

Middle east

'The regime in Syria is not as strong as it seems'

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-04-11

Faced with an unprecedented movement against its authority, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government is not as powerful as once thought, a Syrian rights activist tells FRANCE 24.

At least 37 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the southern Syrian city of Deraa on Friday, as the protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad entered a fourth week.

Haytham Manna, a spokesman for the Arab Commission of Human Rights and an exiled Syrian, tells FRANCE 24 that despite the brutal crackdown, protesters are not giving up their demands.

FRANCE 24: What is the death toll so far in Syria and who is behind the crackdown?

Haytham Manna: We have a list of 180 names of people killed in Syria since the uprising began four weeks ago. There have been 130 victims alone in the city of Deraa, in the south of the country. We also have around 40 missing people and 600 others that have been arrested by security forces. As to who is giving the orders to fire live ammunition at crowds, there are two theories. The first is that the orders are coming from the central leadership, and in this case not only the shooters, but also President Bashar al-Assad must be held accountable. The second possibility is that the orders are not coming from a central command, in which case the Syrian president must separate himself from the criminals by bringing them to justice. Who governs Syria, the security forces, the president or his younger brother Maher al-Assad? The question has not yet been answered.

F24: What possible outcomes can you envision, and will protesters agree to stop?

H.M.: The entire population has rejected President Assad’s speech, and his many promises. Neither he nor his entourage are capable of responding to the country’s demands. Despite all the deaths and the regime’s attempts to provoke violence in order to discredit the movement, the population insists on peaceful protest. Freedom is their first demand. That can only happen if the emergency rule is lifted and if the constitution is changed to promote the rule of law. This will guarantee individual freedoms and tackle the corruption that has plagued the country for years. All this to end the authoritarian regime in Syria. People are impatient to see results, just as we saw among Egyptians and Tunisians.

F24: The Syrian government seems to be resisting popular pressure. How strong is it?

H.M.: Despite all the repression, the regime is not as strong as it seems. It is certainly a strong force against organised political opposition, but when faced with the people, it is in turmoil. Faced with young people, the traditional security methods do not work. The accumulation of uprisings and the phenomenon of civil disobedience is gaining pace. Something has definitely changed in Syria, and there is no turning back now.

Date created : 2011-04-10

  • SYRIA

    Demonstration turns deadly as police open fire

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Assad seeks to appease Kurds by granting citizenship

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Assad names new premier to appease reformists

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)