International

Syria on the path of Libya

BEIRUT: On Friday Syrian protesters poured into the streets inspired by the scenes of euphoria in Libya.

President Bashar Assad’s regime will be the next to unravel now that ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is dead, shouted the protestors.

The Syrian uprising has proved remarkably resilient over the past seven months, but it has shown some signs of stalling in recent weeks as the government continue a bloody crackdown that the U.N. estimates has killed more than 3,000 people.

Syrian security forces fired on protesters Friday, killing at least four, activists said.

Although the mass demonstrations in Syria have shaken one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, the opposition has made no major gains in recent months, it holds no territory and has no clear leadership.

“Gaddafi is gone, your turn is coming, Bashar,” protesters shouted on Friday in the central city of Hama, long a hotbed of resistance to the regime.

Gaddafi’s death Thursday, after he was dragged from hiding in a drainage pipe, begging for his life, decisively ends the nearly 42-year regime that had turned the oil-rich country into an international pariah and his own personal fiefdom.

“Our souls, our blood we sacrifice for you, Libya!” Syrian protesters chanted Friday.

In many ways, the Syrian uprising has taken cues from the Libyans recently.

Syria’s opposition formed a national council like the Libyans’ National Transitional Council, hoping they could form a united front against Assad that Syrians and the international community could rally behind.

And with the successes of armed Libyan revolutionaries present in their minds, many Syrian protesters say they are starting to see the limits of a peaceful movement, particularly when compared to the armed uprising in Libya.

The regime has sealed off the country and prevented independent media coverage, making it difficult to verify events on the ground.

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