“Defections in Deir Ezzor City and surrounding areas have increased dramatically over the last few days,” said Ammar Abdulhamid in his daily Syrian Revolution Digest. “Most of the city and the larger province seems to have fallen under the control of the local resistance.”
Abdulhamid, who has been a leading pro-democracy activist in exile from his native Syria, also commented in an email, “Increased death and suffering with an end-game in sight is something most Syrians would accept at this stage, because by now the only choice we have is to get to the other side no matter how high the cost will be. It’s the combination of death and abandonment that fuels extremism and kills hope.”
Abdulhamid also reported that authorities and pro-Assad militias in Damascus prevented a funeral for the Christian activist Bassil Shahada in order to avoid what he called “an embarrassing show of anti-Assad sentiments” by the city’s large Christian community.
“Assad and his supporters are still trying to portray the revolution as an exclusively radical Sunni phenomenon, but, in truth, discontent with Assad rule is endemic to all communities in Syria,” Abdulhamid said.