No to dialogue
An increasing number of opposition groups are rejecting the Board of the National Dialogue call for talks on Sunday 10th July. The Board was established following a speech by President Bashar al-Assad, but most groups are saying that there are a lack of proper conditions for the talks.
Meanwhile the official Syrian news agency reported that thousands of people had turned out in support of the Syrian government in a number of towns and villages. They reported that sits ins and solidarity stands took place in ‘Aleppo, Tartous, Damascus Countryside, Daraa, Homs and Latakia’.
They also show a picture of a 2300 metre long Syrian flag and their report states that “More than one million people from Aleppo province participated in carrying a 2300 meters long and 18 meters Syrian flag, stretching from al-Bassel square to al-Lermon square, to express support for reform, rejection of foreign interference in Syria’s affairs, and adherence to national unity.” The report goes on to show other areas where flags and balloons were used by pro-government demonstrators.
Whilst this was happening around 70 tanks were parked on the outskirts of Syria’s fourth largest city, Hama, where troops had entered on Monday following a mass protest on Friday of around 200,000 people; 23 people are said to have been killed by security forces this week. Hama was the site of a massacre by troops loyal to the current president’s father Hafez al-Assad in February 1982; around 10,000 to 20,000 people were reported to have been killed during that period.
Elsewhere, Amnesty International has submitted a 22 page report to the United Nations Security Council urging them to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity committed during an assault on the town of Talkalakh in May.