Bloody Standoff Continues In Syria
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
NPR's Deborah Amos is in Beirut, where she's monitoring this long, drawn out struggle in Syria. And Deb, what else are you hearing about what happened today in Syria?
DEBORAH AMOS: The activists online acknowledge that this uprising will take more time and will cost more than anyone realized six months ago.
BLOCK: And Deb, we mentioned that calls from the protesters were continuing until we bring down the regime after they saw leaders fall in Tunisia and Egypt and then Libya. Clearly, their expectations would be raised. That hasn't happened.
AMOS: And I called Tarek Masoud with the Kennedy School at Harvard to explain.
TAREK MASOUD: The senior military leadership is drawn from the same minority sect as Bashar al-Assad and the political leadership of that country and so that's where unseating the regime is going to be very hard.
AMOS: Now, there have been some army defections, but that movement took a blow this week. The most senior officer to defect showed up on Syrian television last night denouncing the antigovernment movement. Activists say that he was kidnapped from a refuge in Turkey, but the point is that the Syrian regime showed that they can find these defectors and make an example of them.
BLOCK: Deb, there was more criticism of Syria today from the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey a former ally of Syria. But today, Erdogan said the Syrian regime will not survive if it continues the repression. How important is that comment from Erdogan?
AMOS: This is another inching up of the rhetoric, but Turkey has drawn the line on economic pressure. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has called on Assad to stop. Even Iran, Syria's closest ally, has spoken out against the brutality on the streets. If you watch Arabic satellite channels, Syria dominates the news. The Arab street has turned against the Syrian regime in large measure and so these leaders have to appeal to public opinion, which is what they are doing. The rhetoric inches up, but the policies stay the same.
BLOCK: That's NPR's Deborah Amos, who's following news from Syria in Beirut. Deb, thanks so much.
AMOS: Thank you.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.