Syrian state military forces have forcefully taken the northern city of Jisr al-Shoughour from citizens resisting the ruling Assad family government. Open graves containing the bodies of local police officials were found during the attack in which state tanks and helicopters surrounded the city. Jisr al-Shoughour is twelve miles from the Turkish border to the north and, thus far, Turkey has set up a white-tent refugee camp to receive the thousands that have been forced to flee. The violence is a continuation of protests begun in the county in March.
What’s the Big Idea?
While the Assad regime in Syria has seemed immune to popular protests over the last decades, the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt encouraged revolt across the country. The government response has been brutal, consistently opening live ammunition on crowds and detaining thousands of citizens on specious charges. Until Syrian refugees fled to Turkey where they could tell their story, much of Syria’s internal affairs had remained unknown. Many foreign journalists have been banned from reporting and domestic censorship has keep information flow to a minimum.