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Syria Continues to Attack Civilians


In this citizen journalism image made on a mobile phone Tuesday May 10, 2011 and acquired by the AP, Syrian anti-government protesters carry candles during a rally in the northeastern city of Qamishli, Syria. Syrian activists and eyewitnesses said on Wedn

The Syrian government continues its brutal crackdown on Syrian civilians.

The Syrian government continues its brutal crackdown on Syrian civilians.

Human rights monitors now say that close to eight hundred people have been killed since March, as the government uses bullets and tanks in many areas throughout the country against unarmed demonstrators calling for freedom and democracy.

There are also reports that thousands of Syrians have been arrested and imprisoned, as security forces hunt suspected opposition sympathizers in a house to house roundup, a tactic honed to a black art by Syria's friend and ally, Iran. There are credible indications that not only is Iran lending material support to Syria to crush dissent, it is helping the Syrian regime monitor the internet and telephone services to arrest protestors and rights activists.

In another move reminiscent of Iran's dealings with its own pro-democratic protesters after the disputed presidential election of 2009, Syrian government television has broadcast confessions of so-called "terrorists" who supposedly admitted to trying to taking up arms supplied by outsiders to destabilize Syria.

Because of the vicious assault on Syria's civilian population, the United States has imposed additional sanctions on Syria, targeting several Syrian officials and governmental organizations, including Iran's Quds force, a paramilitary division of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps. Following the latest U.S. measures, the European Union sanctioned thirteen Syrian government officials, prohibiting them from travelling in the EU and freezing their assets. It also imposed an arms embargo on Syria.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. condemns the "abhorrent violence" of the Syrian government against peaceful protestors and has "made it abundantly clear that the Syrian government’s security crackdown will not restore stability and will not stop the demands for change:"

"The protesters are there because they want -- as they have been in many other countries -- they’re demanding to be heard. They’re demanding their rights. They’re demanding a government that listens to their grievances and respects their aspirations."

In a statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the Syrian government "to immediately cease the killing, arrest, and harassment of protestors, activists, and journalists. . . .We will continue to hold to account senior Syrian officials and others responsible for the reprehensible human rights abuses against the Syrian people," she said, "[and] work both unilaterally and with our international partners to determine the most effective next steps if the Syrian Government chooses not to abandon its current path."

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