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  • » 05/30/2011, 00.00


    Syria and Yemen: army attacks protesters, dozens of deaths and injuries

    In Yemen the army attacks the crowd who have occupied Liberty Square in Taiz four months, and al-Qaeda groups occupy a city. In Syria, helicopters and tanks surround and attack the cities Rastan and Talibsa. International diplomacy absent, risk of civil war increases.

    Sanaa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Last night in Yemen, the army attacked thousands of people who have peacefully occupied Liberty Square (pictured) in the southern Taiz for four months, demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Meanwhile Syria has authorised military interventions against the population.

    In Taiz the protesters say the army removed the barricades with a bulldozer, attacking with guns, tear gas and water cannons and setting some tents on fire, killing at least 20 demonstrators and wounding 150 others. The crowd responded by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. News agencies reported the statements of al-Sadek Shugaa, head of a field hospital, according to whom soldiers indiscriminately fired on the crowd.

    Previously more than 3 thousand people protested before the Government Palace, also near Taiz’ Liberty Square, demanding the release of six protesters arrested May 26. According to Al Jazeera, some soldiers had joined the protesters.

    Since January, people have been protesting against the government, supported by some influential tribal leaders, but President Saleh has made no concessions and refused to sign an agreement obtained through mediation by the Arab Gulf States, for the transition to democracy. The fear is that the prolonged conflict favours the penetration of Islamic terrorists. Army sources claim that four soldiers were killed today and dozens were injured near the city of Zinjibar, in an attack by militants from al-Qaeda. Apparently the city is under the control of more than 300 armed rebels, possibly al-Qaeda since May 27.

    Tension is building in the country, last week there were violent clashes between the army and the Hashed tribal militias who support the opposition.

    Meanwhile, yesterday morning the Syrian army surrounded and attacked the cities of Rastan and Talbisa with dozens of tanks and helicopters. In Talbisa there was a large demonstration against the government on May 27. The troops then began a house to house manhunt to arrest opponents of the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Protesters say the military first cut water, electricity and communications in the cities and report at least seven civilians dead (11 according to other sources), and over 100 wounded, while the military says it is carrying out an operation against " armed terrorist groups." But it is difficult to get objective news, after the authorities expelled foreign journalists. The two cities have been the scene of protests since March, at first with a demand for democratic reforms, and later demands for the resignation of Bashar, which have continued despite the crackdown by armed forces. There is also talk of more than 1000 deaths and 10 thousand arrests. The authorities say 143 soldiers have been killed by armed rebels.

    In both countries the situation is beyond the control and the government trying to regain supremacy with progressive violence. But this is leading to an escalation of armed clashes, with the population and tribal groups who arm themselves with a growing risk of outbreaks a real civil war. Tomorrow at Antalya in Turkey 3-day conference of Syrian opposition groups will begin.

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    See also

    21/07/2011 SYRIA
    The Syrian army crackdown continues. Muallem prohibits movement of diplomats
    The infamous Fourth Division has surrounded Harasta, a suburb of Damascus, cutting electricity, water and telephone lines. The foreign minister announces a ban on ambassadors travelling more than 25 km from the capital.

    03/08/2011 SYRIA
    Hama: “inhuman” Syrian army offensive against the rebels continues
    The death toll from crackdown has surpassed 160 deaths. Yesterday three more victims in the clashes between protesters and those loyal to Assad. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expresses frustration and calls upon the Syrian president to resolve the situation "peacefully". For the second day the Security Council fails to agree on Syria.

    28/07/2011 SYRIA
    Tanks attack crowds in Syria, 3,000 detainees unaccounted for
    Eleven people are killed in an attack by tanks in the city of Kanaker. Since the start of the protests, more than 1,600 have died and another 26,000 have been arrested with more than 12,000 still in custody. The new al Qaeda leader refers to Syria’s protest movement in his first message. People are waiting to see what will happen during Ramadan.

    09/05/2011 SYRIA – YEMEN
    Syrian military lays siege to Homs, Deraa, Baniyas and other cities
    A Damascus suburb, Muadhamiya, is isolated. Hundreds of arrests are made. Heavy gunfire is reported. Since the start of anti-regime protests, more than 800 people have been killed, thousands have been arrested. Foreign journalists barred from entering the country.

    02/10/2013 SYRIA
    Chemical weapons inspectors arrive in Syria. Initial signs of dialogue
    The experts have nine months to verify and destroy Assad's chemical weapons programme. The UN, the Arab League, Washington and Moscow are preparing a Peace conference. Secret meeting between the Free Syrian Army and the Assad government.

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