Syria Hit List Targets Thousands

I am quoted many times below:

EXCLUSIVE: A detailed document obtained by Mother Jones appears to identify a vast group of Syrian dissidents targeted by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

By Hamed Aleaziz | Mon Feb. 27, 2012 9:01 AM PST

A 718-page digital document obtained by Mother Jones contains names, phone numbers, neighborhoods, and alleged activities of thousands of dissidents apparently targeted by the Syrian government. Three experts asked separately by Mother Jones to examine the document—essentially a massive spreadsheet, whose contents are in Arabic—say they believe that it is authentic. As Bashar al-Assad’s military continues a deadly crackdown on dissent inside the country, the list appears to confirm in explicit detail the scale of the regime’s domestic surveillance and its methodical efforts to destroy widespread opposition. Continue reading “Syria Hit List Targets Thousands”

U.N. chief calls on Syria to stop killings as Assad issues amnesty

A mention in The Los Angeles Times:

It was Assad’s third amnesty offer in the last 10 months. Activists remain skeptical and claim few detainees have been freed after earlier orders. No lists with names of released detainees appear to have have been published. Assad, who succeeded his late father Hafez in 2000, has also vowed to hold parliamentary elections under new constitutional principles later this year. Continue reading “U.N. chief calls on Syria to stop killings as Assad issues amnesty”

Obama Administration Designing Mideast Policy

Quoted by NPR

KELEMEN: Secretary Clinton says she raised human rights issues with her Egyptian counterpart yesterday, but some activists feel the Obama administration has been far too quiet. It’s diplomatic outreach to Syria is another troubling factor for Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident who runs the Tharwa Foundation.

Mr. AMMAR ABDULHAMID (Founder, The Tharwa Foundation): If you are only going to talk about Syria’s regional involvement and adventurism and forget about the internal dimension, then this will be a major blow to Syrian human rights activists in the sense it will make the regime behave with greater impunity towards human rights activists.

KELEMEN: Abdulhamid says that’s happening already. It is, quote, “open season” on human rights and democracy activists in Syria, he says, adding so far, the Obama administration’s silence is deafening.


Only Attention Will Keep Imprisoned Bloggers Alive

Quoted in Mideast Youth

At the Committee to Protect Bloggers, we have occasionally been contacted by people who knew they were going to have to go in for interrogation and possible arrest. One of them was the Syrian poet and novelist, Ammar Abdulhamid, who has since left Syria to take up a position in Washington, D.C. as a non-resident fellow at the Saban Institute of the Brookings Institution.

“In times of trouble, activists and their families are often told to shy away from publicizing their ordeal,” said Abdulhamid. “They are advised that this is indeed the best way to make it short and to navigate back to safety. In my case, however, international attention eased my way to freedom. Without it, I might not even be alive today. Still, there are no hard-fast rules here, and the best thing that international supporters and sympathizers can do is to follow the wishes of the (effected person), when they can be reached, or the wishes of their family members and/or friends.“