Jun 14 2011
Nearly 6,000 Syrians fled their country over the past week, seeking refuge in neighboring Turkey. A days long siege beginning last last week by government forces on the Northern town of Jisr al Shoughur has reportedly left hundreds dead and wounded. Foreign media remain barred from Syria, and Turkey is tightly controlling access to refugee camps. However various media outlets report obtaining first hand accounts of what has transpired over the last few days, and witness describe wanton killing by elite security forces. A crew with Al Jazeera smuggled a camera to the Syria turkey border and filmed this refugee describing the scene he left behind. Survivors also reported being detained and tortured, and say there are many more people hiding in the 12 mile stretch of hills between the two countries. The onslaught of troops on Jisr al Shoughour was spurred by a bloody battle in the town one week before between anti-government protestors and soldiers. The Syrian government claimed 120 soldiers were slaughtered by armed gangs. Many witnesses claim the soldiers were killed largely by their own commanders after defecting. This week witnesses told the Guardian that a small-scale defection by Syrian soldiers in Jisr al Shoughour led to the larger mutiny, and military execution of soldiers, last weekend. Secretary General of the United Nations Ban ki-Moon has urged Syrian President Bashr al-Assad to end the violent crackdown. Yesterday White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US strongly condemned the violence and urged President Bashr to engage in political dialogue or step aside.
GUEST: Elaine Hagopian, a Syrian-American sociologist, a professor emeritus of sociology at Simmons College in Boston and political interviewer for Arabic Hour TV.