SYRIA- Many Syrian activists have been set free along the last week after they have been detained upon their contribution at demonstrations which took place at many cities all over the country, and as usual they were set free on bail in order to stand in front of Official Courts in future. Activists were asked to sign a pledge that they are not going to apply or take part at demonstrations ever after.
Official Military Source issued a statement on Monday said “Armed criminal elements that employ smuggling and murder assaulted innocent civilians on Sunday, attacked border guard posts, vandalized public properties, erected blockades in al-Arida area in Telkalakh, and terrorized inhabitants and locals, which called for the intervention of the army.”
SANA reported that Official source added that as a result of the confrontation, 2 members of the army and security forces were martyred and 11 were injured, while a number of armed criminals were either killed or injured. A large number of criminals wanted for previous criminal charges, and a large number of guns, sniper rifles and ammunition was seized.
Syria’s security forces continue their nationwide campaign of arbitrary arrests and intimidation against political and human rights activists, holding them incommunicado, forcing them to sign undertakings to stop protesting, and in some cases torturing them, Human Rights Watch said.
“Syria’s leaders talk about a war against terrorists, but what we see on the ground is a war against ordinary Syrians – lawyers, human rights activists, and university students – who are calling for democratic changes in their country,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Syria’s emergency law may have been lifted on paper, but repression is still the rule on Syria’s streets.”
Human Rights Watch urged Syria’s authorities to immediately reveal the whereabouts of the targeted activists, to ensure that no harm is done to them in detention, and to release all those held for exercising their basic rights to free expression and association.
Syrian Activist Razan Zeitouneh told Human Rights Watch that she had asked her elderly parents to go into hiding because she could not bear the thought of the security forces detaining them to exert pressure on her.
An Official Source at the Interior Ministry on Monday said the number of those involved in riot and vandalism acts that turned themselves in to the authorities by Monday reached 8881 persons to date from different governorates.
The source added that they were all released after pledging not to repeat any act that may harm the security of the homeland and citizens.
The source told SANA that the Ministry had extended the date in which they will be exempted from punishment and legal consequences until May, 22nd as many persons in connection with rioting are still coming to police stations to turn themselves in.
Human Rights Watch has called for sanctions against Syrian officials who bear responsibility for the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and the arbitrary detention and torture of hundreds of protesters and for an international investigation into the grave human rights violations in Syria.
The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on certain high-ranking officials in the regime but have so far avoided imposing sanctions on President al-Asad.
International Christian Concern's (ICC) Aiden Clay, in Nairobi in Kenya where he is receiving reports about the crisis; he knows the protests are directed at ending the current form of government. "However, we've also seen anti-government protesters causing some of the violence, especially against Syrian minorities, including Christians in the country," he accounts.
Syrian Christians are telling Clay that they are more fearful of the anti-government protesters than they are of the government itself.
"The Syrian government under President Assad has been Ba'athist, which is similar to what we saw under Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003," the ICC spokesman explains. "Now, under the Ba'athist Party, there has been religious freedom, or at least tolerance towards religious minorities."