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Deraa, Syria: Surrounded and Decimated by Syrian Military

Updated on May 2, 2011

It began on April 25th. The Syrian 4th Division, commanded by President Assad's brother, slowly began systematic destruction of Deraa, a city of 80,000. At first, the main approaches to the city were sealed off with roadblocks, then, the lesser minor roads were cut., then electricity and telecommunications were cut with only a few international cellphone lines and satellite phones in to inform the world in operation. These were smuggled in from Jordan. If that was not enough, the water was cutoff. There is more. All schools have been closed in the city for over a month. And food? That is limited and bread is smuggled in carts from surrounding villages on horseback along trails, assuming the smugglers can dodge the bullets from their own military!

The Syrian military is taking a chapter from the Russian crushing blow of Grozny, a city of over 200,000. Then, in 1995, the Russian military carried out a crushing blow on the 3000 Chechen fighters housed there despite their own Russian citizens not involved in the fight.

Syria sends its tanks and snipers to keep its citizens off the street. Anyone who is on them, could be killed. When the unit first entered Deraa, President Assad told its citizens that it was they who had requested them to protect them from the demonstrators. Obviously, a lie. The military is leaving nothing in its wake, even the city's main mosque was stormed and 30 citizens inside simply murdered. The military claims they are "hunting" the dissidents, now called, terrorists by the Syrian government. Mass arrests, which include kids, women and anyone deemed, "suspicious". The area around the al-Omari mosque has been razed and flatened.

Syrian military and security forces are everywhere. Ordinary citizens that are left, hide inside their homes, no different than the Nazis hunting down Jews in WW2 akin to Anne Frank. From a few hundred demonstrators that originally protested, the losses now make them only a few dozen. Suspected leaders have been simply shot upon capture.

The Syrian crackdown continues and the world does nothing. Yet, in Libya, similar situations arise, NATO and the US intervenes. How is Syria different? Its citizens not involved in the protests are hanging on, praying to God for help.

Meanwhile, the city's water tanks have been destroyed. Infant and insulin for those who need it have run out. Car batteries are used to operate satellite phones so the world is aware. Families hide and share what meager supplies remaining.

Deraa is in southern Syria. The situation in Aleppo, in northern Syria, has a totally different look. There, Syria's elite 11th Division, armed with the best equipment, has started to disagree with President Assad's tactics of brutality against the population and a rift has developed as to whether orders to quell unrest be obeyed. When Hezbollah in Lebanon heard this, they decided to begin removing Iran's medium range missiles from Syrian territory as a precaution just in case Assad's regime collapses. 

They wonder how much longer can they survive.


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