>Vestibulum sit amet libero vel neque

Almost a month of being sealed off by the army. Demonstrators put up barricades, cut the main roads and terrorized the citizens. The perpetrators started firing at the security forces and the army took the decision to enter the city.

The video clips showing armed militants in the streets among the demonstrators shooting at the security forces were terrifying, and even worse were the scenes of slaughtering security forces personnel, carrying their bodies in trucks like cattle and then dumping them in the Orates river in the full view of bystanders amid shouting of anti government slogans and chanting Allah Akbar (God is great) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaPrw7UWC00&

This forced the international community to recognize that there is truth in the government of Syria repeated claims that the demonstration is not peaceful and infiltrated with armed extremists. This was followed by a presidential statement issued by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemning violence from both sides and calling for an immediate ceasefire and implementation of reforms .

Do or Die Italy followed Qatar in recalling its Ambassador from Damascus and now Saudi Arabia is taking the lead for international intervention after King Abdullah on Monday recalled his ambassador to Syria for consultations and called for an immediate halt to all hostilities. Such a move by the Kingdom has raised curiosity because it will lead to military intervention like those from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for Libya, where Qatari tanks are roaming the streets of Libya, firing indiscriminately and taking part in the war against Gaddafi`s regime (http://waterput.yolasite.com/english/what-is-a-tank-with-the-flag-of-qatar-doing-in-benghazi-) especially after The Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab league and the European Union and others increased the pressure on Syria after all attempts failed to create a Benghazi - like situation.

 It is only this flare up of the situation during Ramadan that is the last straw, forcing the regime to succumb to the pressure. Turkey has raised the ante and sent a strong message to Damascus calling upon the Syrian army to go back to their barracks, but the Advisor the Syrian presidency has said a blunt reply is awaits the Turkish special envoy(http://sana.sy/eng/337/2011/08/07/362660.htm).

 When the Syrian government is making all efforts to calm the situation in the streets and enhance political and economic reforms, the violence appears to be spiralling a d spreading into many parts of Syria; Hama, Homs, Deir el Zour and other areas, as the religious sentiments are high, especially after daily special prayers (Tarrawih) during the holy month .

 President Bashar al Assad is firm in his stand and has said that restoring law and order in the duty of the state (http://sana.sy/eng/21/2011/08/07/362672.htm).

 Islamization of the state

It was clear from the beginning of the demonstrations that there is a definite move to get the Muslim Brotherhood a berth in the government and Ankara was pushing hard on Assad to accept involving the MB, a move which Damascus has resisted, being a secular regime. Such a move will lead to more sectarian violence and tarnish the image of Syria further.

 Matters got worse when the Ambassadors of the USA and France visited the city of Hama before the onset of the fasting, which was seen as inciting the extremists to take on the state, so blood will spill and the government would be indicted for human rights violations by the international community, which naturally, cannot ignore such  atrocities .

Washington has acknowledged keeping in constant touch with the Muslim brotherhood of Egypt and Syria, in addition to admitting that members of Al Qaeda are with the Libyan rebels fighting against Gaddafi.

 Hence the lack of foresight and the ramifications of such a move by the US and the West (who have never learned from the Afghanistan fiasco) to get the Islamists into power will have a huge impact on the future of stability and tranquility in the country and the region. This is what happened, and now the whole scenario is getting clearer by the day, that it is not for the reforms but for the chair that they are there. So Syria is targeted.

 All eyes are now on Syria and whether it will survive the onslaught by the giant media houses who have declared a war against her, and whether the President will be able to carry on with reforms and rally the masses behind his leadership.

 So far all attempts to cause a revolt in the army have failed. But open criticism by the opposition, academicians and intellectuals, about the composition of Syrian society, and attempts to divide loyalists and dissidents along ethnic lines is setting the stage for sectarian violence. This poses a grave danger and all those who speak in sectarian terms are implementing the agenda of countries with a vested interest in seeing Syria divided on sectarian lines.

 Such move must unite all patriotic Syrians to prevent this and ensure that Syria, with its multicultural and multiethnic fabric, retains its identity and defeats all moves to slide her into the dark ages. Syria has survived many assaults in the past and Syrians are capable of solving their own problems and will rise up again to face the challenges ,march ahead united in an open dialogue to settle all outstanding issues and choose their future. It is a mammoth task and requires all to save the ship.

 I made it a habit to call my parents every Friday for the last three decades, since most of my family members will gather in my parental house in a small town of Hama city, so I can keep track of their welfare. With the demonstrations in Syria after each Friday`s prayers, it made me more anxious to find out about their welfare. The latest news is that my brother's house was burgled earlier, and now his rented clinic. I could hear my father gasping and his eyes must have been full of tears when he said with his voice cracking :  Son, I lived my life with your mother and have helped in building this nation. I am now worried for the future of your children.  

 I tried to calm him down and keep him optimistic and not to worry about us, but I think he sees more than what I can see from afar.

 I don't know. Can Syria Survive?

 Dr.WAIEL Awwad is a Syrian journalist who closely follows unfolding events in the region. He writes this column exclusively for irgamag.com

August 8, 2011.

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