Syria's Uprising & Crackdown

The forces of President Assad are continuing their push to crush the popular uprisings that broke out in Syria in March. So far, an estimated 1,700 civilians have been killed. Canada has both condemned the violence and sanctioned Syria. The U.S. is considering tighter sanctions, while other countries have recalled their ambassadors. And the U.N. Security Council has met to discuss possible ways to punish Damascus. But the international outcry appears to have had no effect. Today, we take you to the centre of the uprising and the crackdown and we examine how the situation in Syria is playing out in Canada among members of the Syrian-Canadian community.



Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current

Satire

It's Wednesday August 3rd.

The U.S. Congress and President Obama have approved a deal to raise the country's debt ceiling, averting potential economic calamity in the 11th hour.

On the downside, you'll still have to fly to Greece to see the ruins of a once mighty civilization.

This is the Current.

Syria's Uprising & Crackdown - Hama Resident

For three straight days, government tanks shelled the city of Hama where on Sunday, as many as 100 people were killed. We were joined by a resident of Hama. He has fled the city this morning and is on his way to Damascus. We are withholding his name for security reasons.

Syria's Uprising & Crackdown - Syrian-Canadian Protest Supporter

We started this segment with fears and anxieties that stretch right across the Atlantic. Some Syrian-Canadians believe they have plenty to fear as well. We shared part of a message that a Syrian-Canadian received on her Facebook page a few months ago after she posted a comment in support of Syrian protesters. She's posted videos and spread information about what's happening to the protesters. And she says that's made her a target of those loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. We are withholding her name out of concern for her safety.

Police in her city would not speak about her case directly, but confirm they have fielded a complaint. They added they did not regard this as a widespread enough problem to issue any kind of formal statement.

Syria's Uprising & Crackdown - Christopher Assad

We contacted the Syrian embassy in Ottawa for its reaction to this incident, but it did not respond to our request for an interview.

For his thoughts on the situation, we reached Christopher Assad who is, by the way, no relation to Bashar al-Assad. Christopher Assad is a past president of the Syrian Arab Association of Canada and current president of the Coalition of Arab-Canadian Professional and Community Associations. He joined us from Ottawa.

We did contact the RCMP, and a spokesperson said they had no information about these threats. But as we said earlier, we have spoken to others who say they have been similarly threatened.

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