Syrian defectors battle soldiers

2011-12-04 14:02

Beirut - Violence sweeping across Syria has killed 25 people, most of them in a battle between troops and a growing force of army defectors who have joined the movement to oust the autocratic president, activists say.

The Arab League, meanwhile, has agreed on the details of economic and diplomatic sanctions against the regime.

The revolt against Bashar Assad's rule began with peaceful protests in mid-March, triggering a brutal crackdown.

The unrest has steadily become bloodier as defectors and some civilians take up arms, prompting the United Nations' human rights chief to refer to it last week as a civil war and urged the international community to protect Syrian civilians.

Sanctions by the United States, the European Union, Turkey and the 22-member Arab League have so far failed to blunt the turmoil, but are leaving Assad's regime increasingly isolated.

Arab League ministers meeting in the Gulf nation of Qatar to finalise the bloc's penalties agreed on a list of 19 Syrian officials subject to a travel ban, among them cabinet ministers, intelligence chiefs and security officers, but the list does not include Assad.

Many of the Arab sanctions, which were first announced last Sunday, went into effect immediately, including cutting off transactions with the Syrian central bank, halting Arab government funding for projects in Syria and freezing government assets.

Flights between Syria and its Arab neighbours will stop on December 15.

  • Michael - 2011-12-04 15:52

    What a marvelous realization - that isolating the country just drives the authorities into a corner with a more powerful response and crackdown. The more you push to isolate, the bloodier it will all become, there will be no roll over here like in Egypt and even the Libyan option will not be in any way feasible (Want to start WW3?). And Ms Pillay, why do you continue to count in the fatalities as if they are civilians when they are armed soldiers that have defected and chosen to fight a war against the authorities. The total lack of rigor in the analysis in the halls of glory is pathetic. The whole shambles is a mish-mash of false and unverified information and duplicity by leaders aimed to weaken Syria and its relationship with other Arab nations all in advance of a political agenda which is slowly unfolding - get Iran!

      Berkold - 2011-12-04 17:05

      Michael, what is so wrong with the "get Iran" agenda you speak of? By far, it (IRAN) is the most serious threat to world peace since the Cuban missile crisis.

  • Michael - 2011-12-04 19:42

    Berkold So, it seems you agree with the scenario of this being about Iran. Why has Iran become a threat that must now be destroyed? Where have you been since 1967? Who has pushed Iran in just the same way- which of the countries in the region has a nuclear weapon and endless support from the USA ? Which country invades the territory of its neighbor and settles its population there? Don't you know?

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