Ramadan begins tomorrow. Every night throughout the month Muslims will congregate for taraweeh prayers; in Syria, each night’s taraweeh will turn into anti-regime protests. During Ramadan people work less and therefore have more time for meditation – and for protesting. The security forces repressing these protests will be tired and snappy. The protestors will be quick-tempered from thirst and hunger, and also in many cases less frightened of death. For a pious Muslim, to die in Ramadan while standing up for justice is a very good death. At the same time, fighting in Ramadan is frowned upon. Regime violence during the holy month will outrage people even more than usual.
The regime would like to frighten everybody into their homes before the fasting starts. Hence the escalation today. The city of Hama, where between 10 and 20,000 people were massacred by the regime in 1982, was invaded by traitors before dawn. Up to 45 have been killed so far, and numbers are rising quickly. In the east, Deir-ez-Zor is also under tank attack. Several have been killed. A child has been murdered in Albu Kamal, right on the Iraqi border. Moadamiya and other suburbs of Damascus are being attacked. Hundreds have been taken away and many injured. Reports are coming in of heavy gunfire in Homs. (Updated figures at lunchtime claim 121 have been murdered so far today throughout the country).
Does the regime want to provoke an armed response? (In the tribal areas near the Iraqi border, it probably will). Or does it really think that after months of massacres Syrians will be intimidated by a larger slaughter? The barbarity, idiocy and treason of this regime are beyond doubt. As uniformed Syrians murder civilian Syrians, the Golan remains under Zionist occupation – as it has been since Hafez al-Asad lost it in 1967 – and the many Israeli violations of Syrian sovereignty, which the state assured us would be avenged ‘at a time and place of Syria’s choosing’, have not been avenged. The brave security forces of the Asad thugs – great at invading Syrian cities, shooting women dead, mutilating little boys. Absolutely shit at defending Syrian people, dignity and territory. I do hope the Free Syrian Army is real. (Joshua Landis thinks it isn’t; but then, Joshua Landis has, repulsively, started to refer to pro-regime Syrians as ‘pro-stability.’)