Inside Syria's unrest - Al Jazeera English

Inside Syria's unrest

Rallying in support of the Syrian pro-democracy movement in the Middle East and around the world. The Arab awakening continues.

While the eyes of the world shifted to Libya after the Egyptian revolution, March 16 marked the first pro-democracy demonstration in Damascus, the Syrian capital. Around 150 men protested in the capital city, sparking uncertainty as to what was going to happen next.

The majority of the world remained oblivious of the extent to which this first relatively small protest meant for a country like Syria. Meanwhile, the world was waiting for news and the people of Syria knew that they were responsible for giving that to the rest of the world, consequently, more people hit the streets.

Pro-democracy protests spread to neighboring towns and cities in Syria while the government continued its violent crackdown - killing and arresting protestors.

International pressure mounted on Syria to end the violence, meanwhile the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an international probe of the deaths. Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights(OHCHR)said “We welcome the decision to investigate the killings and reiterate our call for this investigation to be independent and impartial; those responsible for the killings must be held accountable.” The US and Britain said they will be looking into the possibility of imposing sanctions on Syria.

Subsequently, journalists and world media were expelled from Syria leaving the world without any official contact point in the country. To add to the international pressure the European Union placed sanctions on Assad's brother and 12 other officials resulting in more tension and uncertainty in what was to happen in the days ahead. Syrian president, Bashar Al-Assad said that "Saboteurs tried to undermine and divide Syria and push an Israeli agenda." He blamed foreign power agenda for the demonstrations and said Syria will “have fought the domino project and made it fall", thus advocating for dictatorship in the region and against the revolutions which he reiterated was a foreign plot.

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