Eye witness reports of the military attack on the Syrian city of Latakia. British web users are rallying around for a Malaysian man who was mugged during the riots. The New York Police Department sets up a special unit to monitor social media.
Syrian army attacks Lattakia
After Hama, Deir al-Zor and Homs, troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad have now stormed the north western coastal city of Latakia. The latest assault on protesters began on Saturday and according to reports dozens of people have already been killed and many others wounded.
A lot of amateur video footage has been uploaded onto sharing sites since the weekend, providing eye witness accounts of the violent clashes in Latakia. We can see thick clouds of smoke cover the city and hear far off gun fire.
Although difficult to verify, other footage appears to show military tanks entering the city or armored vehicles strategically positioned, like here on a beach. These war ships were filmed off the coast of Latakia, and according to reports from Syrian opponents, the gunboats shelled several neighbourhoods across the city.
These pictures suggest soldiers and loyalist militia have taken over these neighbourhoods. They have reportedly been patrolling the city streets since Saturday looking for rebels and even set fire to this bridge to stop residents from the Al-Raml area getting to other parts of the city.
As we can see in this piece of amateur video footage, filmed in Latakia on Sunday, many of the city’s traders have shut up shop as a sign of protest and to express their support with opponents of Bashar al-Assad.
British web users feel for mugged Malaysian student
These images of 20 year old Malaysian student Asyraf Haziq were broadcast on the web site of British daily “The Guardian” and then circulated all over the web shortly afterwards. He was wounded during the London riots last week, and then robbed by looters as he sat bleeding from the mouth. The thieves pretended to be helping him but actually took the opportunity to rummage through his rack sack and take what they wanted. This shocking footage has been met with widespread outrage in the UK.
A number of Facebook pages like these ones have been set up. British web users have been posting messages of support for Asyraf Haziq and wishing him a speedy recovery. Jamie Cowan was particularly moved by the story and has launched a campaign via his Twitter account, called “something nice for Asyraf” The aim is to raise money for the Malaysian student, and 22 000 British pounds, so 25 000 euros has been collected so far.
Asyraf Haziq has posted a message online to thank everyone for their support. We can see from the video that he has recovered from the shock; he was discharged from hospital last Thursday and says he is feeling much better.
After undergoing surgery for a broken jaw, the Malaysian student did confirm he wanted to stay in England and continue his studies, despite his family’s reticence. During the interview (which is available on the Guardian’s web site) he also says he feels sorry for his attackers and the younger ones in particular.
A multitude of online campaigns and initiatives were set up during and after the riots in the British capital, denouncing the destruction and looting. And on this blog, web users are being asked to send in photoshopped pictures of looters … the hooded thieves no longer seem threatening when we see them playing basketball, skipping, jumping or playing the saxophone.
NYPD to track criminals via social media
The New York Police Department has set up a special unit for tracking criminals via social media. The officers will be monitoring Facebook, Twitter and Myspace users that announce criminal plans or boast about crimes they have committed. This is not the first time police in the US have had an online presence. The FBI and the Boston police force have similar units…
Video of the day
This comical ad pokes fun at Google’s’ internet messaging service Gmail, and in particular the way they send targeted ads to web users by looking at the contents of their emails. The video clip was made by another web giant, Microsoft, to promote its new service Office 365, it also remind web users of the Mountain View Company’s Email Confidentiality Policy.