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Syrian protesters demand UN help to oust Bashar al-Assad
Opposition activists voice anger over failed attempts to pass a UN security council resolution
On the first Friday protests since Libyan rebels reached Tripoli with the assistance of Nato forces, Syrian protesters have called for international intervention in their struggle against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Until now, most Syrian protesters have insisted they do not need outside help, but on Friday in the western city of Homs video footage showed protesters carrying signs telling the UN its silence was killing them, as they expressed their anger at failed attempts to pass a security council resolution in the face of Russian and Chinese objections.
The lack of a UN resolution has been the target of online activists too, with Twitter users trying to make the term #WakeUpUNSC trend popular.
A growing number of opposition activists are now calling for a no-fly zone or an international protection force. This stands in stark contrast to just weeks ago when most Syrians refused any form of international action other than sanctions and the cutting of diplomatic ties with Assad and his supporters.
But after almost six months of a brutal state crackdown, during which more than 2,200 people have been killed, the image of Libyan rebels in Tripoli's Green Square has led some to change their position. At least two more protesters were killed on Friday as security forces shot at demonstrators in areas including Douma, close to Damascus, and the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. Activists called it the "Friday of patience and determination".
Other protesters still vehemently reject calls for international help and western diplomats say there is no appetite for intervening in a situation which could be potentially explosive. "Let's be clear, France will not intervene without an international mandate," Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said on Wednesday.
While Syrian protesters have drawn the sympathy of the international community, it is largely toothless in pressuring the regime. The Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said on Thursday that Ankara would side with the Syrian people if it had to make a choice between the government and its citizens.
A Damascus-based analyst, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "We should not be calling for outside help but rather working to unite the opposition so there is a credible alternative. Without that we won't go anywhere."
Nour Ali is the pseudonym of a journalist based in Damascus
SyriaArab and Middle East unrestBashar Al-AssadUnited NationsFranceMiddle EastNour © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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august 2011 by blah

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