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Al Jazeera Syria Live Blog

Al Jazeera Syria Live Blog
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Syria Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

An example of the huge wrong done throughout the world of persecution for many different reasons.
From: AMERA - UK

Conflict, persecution and violence cause persons who lack protection from their national governments to flee their countries and become refugees. People who are forced to leave their country for fear of persecution on grounds specified in international conventions are, by definition, refugees.

A refugee is a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return home and avail himself/herself of the protection of that country. However, international protection is provided only after a refugee has been recognized by a host country. In the past, African and other governments in the South have granted asylum seekers refugee status automatically on the prima facie basis of their nationality. Today, it is increasingly common for asylum seekers to have their refugee status determined on an individual basis. This approach results in many rejections of otherwise legitimate claims because of procedural flaws, language barriers, and other concerns.

Legal aid, especially during the process of status determination, is a right of all refugees. However, this right has been sorely neglected in the poorest regions of the world. One of the most essential and practical forms of assistance required by refugees is legal aid for their claims for asylum. Being granted refugee status is the first step towards refugees taking an active part in governing their own lives and determining their own futures. However, it is only the first step. Accessing their other rights, including health services, education and employment may also require legal assistance and involve policy research. In addition to legal aid, there is a need for psychosocial assistance as many have endured torture and/or are victims of sexual abuse. Children may also need help to overcome the trauma of separation from their families, as well as assistance with reunification. A great many refugees suffer severe depression in the face of adapting to their new environments.

See this for the contrast of modern secularism versus the people in the souk. Syria: Global Science: 10 Theses For A Scientific Conception Of The 21st Century « Kawther Salam

The people in the souk caught between all the wrongs.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission, an opposition group that monitors the uprising, said at least 21 people were killed on Wednesday, five of whom were said to be defectors from the army.

The commision said 11 of the victims fell in Homs, five in Idlib including a woman and a defector, two in Saqba outside Damascus and one in Hama, Daraa and in Aleppo.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces killed a civilian in a village in the northwestern province of Idlib and the body of a youth detained nearly two weeks ago turned up in Homs.

A group of 140 Arab rights groups has demanded the withdrawal of the "flawed" Arab League observer mission from Syria and called for UN intervention to halt the violence.

The coalition sent a letter to the pan-Arab bloc urging it to withdraw the mission given the "flaws that have severely undermined" its efficiency and the Syrian government's failure to implement the Arab League peace plan.

The letter also urged the UN Security Council "to take action to address the violence".

The heavily criticised monitoring team has been in Syria since December 26 to oversee an Arab road map under which Damascus agreed to end the violence, withdraw the army from the main cities, give journalists and observers access to all parts of the country and free political prisoners.

The Arab League is due to meet on Saturday and Sunday to discuss its mission's future, as well as a proposal by Qatar to send Arab troops to Syria that Damascus has flatly rejected.[AFP]

British Prime Minister David Cameron says Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement are supporting Syria's violent crackdown on the country's uprising.

Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons on Wednesday that both were offering backing to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He described Assad as a "wretched tyrant who is killing so many of his own people".

Thousands have been killed in Syria's crackdown on the 10-month-old uprising, and Cameron has pledged to press for tougher international sanctions - despite opposition from Russia and China.

He says there is "growing evidence that Iran is providing a huge amount of support" to Syria's ruling regime.

Cameron is seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the violence. [AP]

The Muslim Brotherhood has rejected an Iranian proposal to play a leading role in Syria's government in exchange for President Bashar al-Assad staying in power, one of its leaders told Al-Hayat newspaper.

Iranian intermediaries proposed that the Brotherhood "lead a government (in Syria) on condition we give up our demand to replace Bashar al-Assad," the group's deputy secretary, Mohammed Faruk Tayfur, told the London-based daily.

"It is the responsibility of the international community to protect civilians and establish security corridors," as French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe stated, said Tayfur.

"We must ask the Arab League to publish a report and transfer it to the (UN) Security Council," added the Islamist leader, who was speaking from his office in Istanbul.

Tayfur, who is also a member of the Syrian National Council, an opposition umbrella group, dismissed reports the uprising against Assad's regime is turning more radical.

He accused the regime of "pushing (the revolt) towards militarisation and sectarianism."

"The regime has primary responsibility for what is going on in Syria. The Syrian revolution is peaceful; demonstrators insist on the non-sectarian aspect" of their action, he added.

"The people... will continue to demonstrate no matter the intensity of the repression, and act at the regional and international level to obtain an intervention aiming to protect civilians one way or the other." [AFP]

Activists say four people have been killed in Hama, Homs and Idlib today.

Jonathan Steele writes in The Guardian that Assad's popularity and the Arab League mission to Syria have been "distorted in the west's propaganda war".

Citing a poll commissioned by The Doha Debate, Steel writes:

The key finding was that while most Arabs outside Syria feel the president should resign, attitudes in the country are different. Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a spectre that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria's borders."What is less good news for the Assad regime is that the poll also found that half the Syrians who accept him staying in power believe he must usher in free elections in the near future. Assad claims he is about to do that, a point he has repeated in his latest speeches. But it is vital that he publishes the election law as soon as possible, permits political parties and makes a commitment to allow independent monitors to watch the poll."

European Union foreign ministers are set to slap fresh sanctions on Syria next week, adding 22 individuals and eight companies to an existing blacklist, EU diplomats said on Wednesday.

"As long as the repression continues we will step up our restrictive measures," said an EU source speaking on condition of anonymity. [AFP]

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, who's been following events in Syria from neighbouring Lebanon and Turkey, tweets:


The Free Syrian Army risks dragging Syria into "chaos without end", prominent opposition activist Michel Kilo said in remarks published in French newspaper Le Figaro on Wednesday.

"He wants to attack 400,000 people with just a few thousand soldiers that don't make up an army," Kilo said of General Mostafa Ahmad al-Sheikh, a defected officer who has created a military council to co-ordinate the attacks of the Free Syrian Army. "He is going to send the country into chaos without end. It's madness."

Kilo's comments reflect continued disagreement among the opposition over whether to resort to force to seek the president's overthrow or try to maintain peaceful protests.

Kilo, a writer who spent six years in jail for opposing Syria's leadership, also said Assad had become "desperate" and was trying to regionalise the conflict.

He said Assad's pledge on the one hand to use an iron fist to crush "terrorists", while also issuing an amnesty for criminal acts committed during the uprising, showed he had become a "desperate man".

"All that he is promising is a war against terrorism in which he thinks he'll get the support of the West or scare it, but this is a false premise," Kilo, a Christian, said.

"In Homs, at the heart of the rebellion, there are no Islamists in the co-ordinating committee. I believe Assad wants to regionalise the conflict and draw in Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq and to threaten Gulf countries with a long war." [Reuters]

Syria's state-run news agency on Twitter:


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