Syrian activists for 'day of anger' against Russia
Pro-democracy activists in Syria have called for a "day of anger" against Russia on Tuesday to protest Moscow's backing for President Bashar al-Assad, who for more than six months has tried to stifle an anti-regime uprising.
"Do not support the killers. Do not kill the Syrians with your position" in favour of the regime, the activists urged Russia in a posting on The Syrian Revolution 2011, a Facebook page that has been the engine for anti-Assad revolt.
They wrote that a "day of anger" against Russia will be held on Tuesday with demonstrations across the country.
"We express our anger towards Russia and the Russian government. The regime will disappear, but the people will live," the posting said.
Russia has blocked attempts by the United Nations to sanction Assad's regime and is promoting a separate draft resolution that simply calls on the regime and the opposition to open direct talks.
On Monday, Assad's media adviser Bouthaina Shaaban told the Russian upper house of parliament's foreign affairs chief Mikhail Margelov that Syria favoured the cautious reform process seen in Russia since the Soviet Union's collapse.
"We want things in Syria to develop the way they did in Russia, in a bloodless manner," Shaaban said in Moscow Monday.
Also Monday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron it would be a mistake to put more pressure on Syria's regime for its crackdown on the opposition.
Medvedev told reporters after talks with Cameron that any punitive actions must be applied equally to both sides of the Syria conflict because the opposition was continuing to reject calls to engage Assad in direct talks.
"This resolution must be strict, but it must not lead to the automatic application of sanctions," Medvedev said in reference to a UN Security Council action proposed by Western powers.
Medvedev last week also identified some of those protesting against Assad as "terrorists" and refused to agree with Western states that no longer recognise Assad's legitimacy.
Since mid-March Syria has been shaken by a protest movement that has been met with a deadly government crackdown and unprecedented violence.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, 2,600 people have been killed in the violent crackdown.
On the ground in Syria, military operations continued, with communications cut in most parts of the northwest province of Idlib. In the southern town of Deraa, checkpoints were erected around Palestinian refugee camps, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
In the central city of Hama, security forces were looking for the local Attorney General, Adnan al-Bakkur, who defected last week, activists told AFP.
© 2011 AFP