Update on Syria from Rita

Sept 16:  Spent the day talking to people about Syria who had just returned or had been asked to leave by their companies and are coming to Jordan.  A lot of the UNRWA and other NGO’s have closed their offices.  The American Embassy is still open but has only 28 people still there for now.  They are stating that Ambassador Ford will just finish the year and then it might be closed.  That is really sad when you think that it just re-opened.

The fighting is still taking place with both groups doing atrocities to the other.  I was told by a friend that Asma, the wife of Bashar Al Assad, is still in Damascus and she went to visit the Red Cross, trying to talk to people and see if she could help in cooordinating talks between both sides.  There are also rumors that Mazin is not letting her leave the country with the kids, but we are not able to say if that is true or not.

I was trying to figure out before I came why there are no curfews, I have been told that if they had curfews similar to during the reign of his father that you might have a lot more violence and bloodshed.  This way people still have some freedom to get out and say what they want. One of the main slogans is “Alawites out (this is the ruling party in Syria) and the Christians to Lebanon”.

The people in Damascus and Aleppo, the two major cities in Syria, are more upper class and have made lots of money during Bashar’s reign and they want to keep him.  Life has been good for them. Better than the time of his father.  That is one of the reasons that there are very few demonstrations there.  The places having the most trouble are the border cities and also in Hama and Homs were massacres years ago during the reign of the Bashar’s father, Hafez Al Assad.  That is another one of the slogans: “Revenge for our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters”.

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