More Than 40 Dead In Syria: Censored and Uncensored


Witnesses say police are redirecting peaceful protesters toward areas where snipers open fire.

Government attacks on protesters all over Syria today have left at least 40 people dead. CNN, citing eyewitness reports, puts the number at more than 40. Amnesty International and other groups say it's closer to 75. The New York Times calls it "scores," and unofficial sources on the worldwide cybertubes have plenty of nasty evidence. 

Iyad El-Baghdadi's Twitter feed has continuing coverage that is a lot harder on the eye than this photo to the right. Here is a seven-and-a-half-minute video said to be from Douma, showing shooting, wounded and dead protesters being carried to a sedan, and amazingly, protesters still trying to keep a chant going while under fire. El-Baghdadi says the uprisings and the crackdown are going on in at least 11 cities, including the capital Damascus, Hama (site of an infamous Liditz-style massacre in 1982), and the town of Homs, whose residents were the traditional butt of dumb-Syrian jokes (which I don't countenance: I know two Homsi who are wealthy and successful engineers). Here is a guy in Homs apparently dying on camera. Here is a list of the names of about 40 dead protesters. Here are some bodies. By the most conservative count, more than 200 people have been killed since government violence against public demonstrators began. 

I list these not only to provide internet snuff but to make it clear that the lack of destination media on the ground and heavy government censorship (to this day, much of the media in Syria and Lebanon are showing only pro-government demonstrations and ignoring the slaughter) mean you should ignore anybody who's telling you things aren't so bad. Unless you can think of legitimate reasons president-for-life Bashar al-Assad could have for trying to prevent third parties from sharing information, you can assume the worst-case scenario is the most accurate one. 

At this point, it's not clear who, other than the fashion magazine Vogue, is still taking the Syrian regime's self-description seriously. A new narrative depicts the protesters as U.S. stooges, but by now the funding and support of the protests is beside the point. This is not to say the U.S. should be meddling in Syrian affairs or, worse, considering another violent intervention. But as El-Baghdadi puts it: "If Bashar knew about this, he's lost legitimacy; and if he didn't know about it, he's also lost legitimacy." 

Somewhat-safe-for-work video of a non-fatal bullet wound. Maybe rubber bullets get harder in the dry Syrian climate: