February 10, 2012

Syria and Assad

As calls for his resignation continue, we look at Syria’s leader.

Shelby: What began as peaceful protests almost a year ago has turned into what some are calling civil war. Untrained farmers and workers fighting against a highly trained and better equipped army. Many of the rebels are young, like Fouad Khashan, a 23-year-old mechanic. During this battle with the Syrian army, Fouad was hit and later died at a hospital.

This is the war raging in Syria. Rebels trying to overturn an brutal and controlling regime headed by Bashar al-Assad.

‘We will take revenge on you, Assad,’ this woman cried. ‘We will kill you.’

The United Nations resolution that would have required Assad to step down was vetoed last weekend. And now the United States is talking about sending humanitarian aid into Syria. And the UN is repeating calls for the president, Bashar al-Assad, to step down.

“There’s no question that he is operating with gross disregard for the health and safety and welfare of his own people. He is killing his own people.”

Shelby: Not everyone in Syria is against the president. Crowds gathered earlier this week in a show of support for Assad. It is estimated that 55% of the population still back him.

Assad and Syrian authorities say their military is fighting terrorists who are determined to divide and destroy the country. In a recent interview with the London Sunday Times, Assad insisted his military is merely protecting the Syrians from militant demonstrators.

“We’re not talking about peaceful demonstrations, we’re talking about killing. Whenever you have militants, you have killing. So, the role of the government is to fight those militants in order to restore the stability and to protect the civilians. Not by leaving them do what they want to do and talking about killing. This is our job and that is what we are doing.”

Shelby: Syria has been under the rule of the Assad family since 1970. Hafez al-Assad ruled the country until his son Bashar took over in 2000. But just who is Bashar? He was born on September 11th in 1965, the second son of the Assad family. He was never expected to rule and showed no interest in politics.


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