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Syrian protests continue

Albeit in lesser numbers, the New York Times reports that Syrians are continuing to take to the streets to protests against the current regime, despite the major crackdowns of the past few weeks.

“We don’t like you!” crowds chanted in Homs, referring to the president. “You and your party, leave us!”

The following passage best captures the current stalemate there:

“It looks like we have reached a dead end and we don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” said Aref Dalila, a leading dissident who met this week with Bouthaina Shaaban, a government adviser, who has opened talks with opposition figures. “The country that we know will not be able to survive; it is from the past. The current situation is dead; it is from the past. We should acknowledge the fact that change is needed and very necessary, and it will happen no matter how hard we try to resist against it.”

Mr. Dalila suggested that the stalemate would force the government to relent in its crackdown and offer reforms. But despite some tentative concessions early on, the government has shown no signs of willingness to introduce broad changes in a leadership that relies on family and sectarian loyalties, underpinned by the power of security forces

The United States continues to mostly dither, but perhaps that is changing.

The Obama administration has criticized the Syrian government repeatedly and imposed some sanctions on several senior security officials, but it has not yet pursued aggressive diplomatic measures, including action at the United Nations Security Council.

Mrs. Clinton said that the United States would now pursue “additional steps to hold Syria responsible for its gross human rights abuses.”

“There may be some who think this is a sign of strength,” she said, “but treating one’s own people in this way is in fact a sign of remarkable weakness.”


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