In Syria, Reports Of Arrests Proliferate(NYT)
Insan, a Syrian human rights group, said it had documented more than 500 arrests in Dara’a since Thursday, and more than 300 in towns on the outskirts of Damascus.
Both regions have proved crucial to the persistence of the uprising, the gravest challenge yet to the more than four decades of rule by the Assad family. Protests over the arrest of teenagers in Dara’a, a poor town in a drought-stricken agricultural area, soon galvanized nationwide demonstrations. Unrest has been particularly pronounced in the capital’s suburbs, and the Syrian government has sought to stanch its spread to Damascus.
Since the uprising began, Insan said that it had documented 2,434 arrests across the country and was still trying to verify the fate of at least 5,000 others.
“This is just what we know,” said Wissam Tarif, the group’s executive director.
In one high-profile arrest on Monday, he said security forces in the capital arrested Diana Jawabra, an outspoken critic of the siege of Dara’a, her hometown. She resisted and was forced into a car at gunpoint, Mr. Tarif said, citing witnesses. Ms. Jawabra, 39, had been trying to arrange a relief convoy, departing Tuesday, to the town, whose plight has prompted solidarity protests in other regions of Syria and in neighboring Jordan.
Reformer? The butcher from Damascus.