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Policy Alert

Assad Continues Violent Attacks on the Opposition

Jeffrey White

Also available in العربية

April 17, 2012


Data from one of the key Syrian opposition groups, the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), shows a persistent pattern of violent, armed regime actions against the people despite the ceasefire that supposedly went into force last week (view the Syria Incident Database). The regime has effectively continued its struggle against the armed and unarmed opposition, even using heavy weapons at times, though less frequently than before. Around twenty people are dying each day since the beginning of the ceasefire.

From Friday through mid-Sunday, the LCC reported some sixty-eight violent regime actions across the country. All major centers of opposition were targeted: Aleppo, Deraa, Homs, the Damascus countryside, Idlib, Deir al-Zour, and Hama. Regime tactics included shelling of cities with heavy weapons (artillery, tanks, and BMP armored vehicles), shooting at demonstrators and other individuals, raids with armored vehicles on opposition towns and neighborhoods, breaking up demonstrations with gunfire, physical assaults on demonstrators, and arrests.

The widespread use of violent tactics will be a challenge for the UN monitoring mission, even if it reaches its projected strength of 250. The regime's actions also suggest that it has no intention of negotiating anything but the opposition's surrender.

Jeffrey White, a former senior intelligence officer, is a defense fellow at The Washington Institute, specializing in the military and security affairs of the Levant and Iran.