The situation in Syria is getting worse and worse. On Sunday, at least three gunboats pounded the indigent Mediterranean coastal city of Latakia, once a summer tourism hot spot, killing 10 people and wounding at least 30.
As the gunships blasted waterfront districts, ground troops and tanks stormed nearby neighborhoods. Latkia is made of a population Sunnis, Alawites (Assad’s sect) an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and a small minority of Christians, ethnic Turks and other groups.
On Saturday, some 20 tanks carrying armored personnel rolled into the city’s al-Ramel district amid intense rebellion gunfire sending residents fleeing. At least ten people died in the shooting in al-Ramel.
Amateur videos posted on the Internet by activist showed at least one gunship patrolling the coast opposite al-Ramel, as well as tanks moving along the waterfront. Syria has banned most foreign media and has put a strong restriction on local coverage.
So far at least 1,700 civilians have been killed in bloody crackdowns on protests calling for the ouster of the Assad regime.
The United States has called for a global trade embargo on oil and gas from Syria, warning America’s closest allies they must “get on the right side of history” and cut links with a government that uses violence to repress protesters.
The Dutch Foreign Ministry said that the European Union may decide in the next week or two to broaden sanctions against the Syrian regime and its state-run businesses.
Canada has also broadened economic sanctions on Syria by banning additional members of Assad’s government from traveling to Canada and freezing assets of entities linked to the regime.
The Syrian uprising was mostly inspired by revolts and calls for reform sweeping the Arab world, as activists and rights groups say most of those killed have been unarmed civilians. An aggressive new military offensive which began with the Muslim holy month of
Ramadan at the start of August has killed several hundred people in just one week.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said that Washington believes President Bashar al-Assad’s government is responsible for more than 2,000 deaths asserting that Washington believes Assad has “lost his legitimacy to govern the Syrian people”.
“We are working around the clock to try to gather up as much international support for strong actions against the Syrian regime as possibleâ€¦I come from the school that actions speak louder than wordsâ€¦with actions that will send a very clear message to the Assad regime, the insiders there, that there’s a price to pay for this kind of abuse and attacks on their own people.”