Syria: more massacres reported as US threatens "additional steps"
The military began to withdraw from the besieged Syrian city of Daraa on May 5, as more troop were deployed to towns in Homs province. Maj-Gen. Riyad Haddad, announcing the withdrawal form Daraa, did not give any figures of fatalities or detainees among what the Syrian government refers to as "terrorist elements," but he said that 25 soldiers were killed and 177 were wounded in the operation. This statement was denied by activists on social networking sites. At least 16 protesters were reported killed in Homs. Fresh protests were also reported in Hama and Aleppo. On May 6, a total of 27 protesters were reported killed at various locations around the country. (AlJazeera, May 6; Link TV, May 5)
The US threatened to take unspecified measures in response to the continued repression. "The United States believes that Syria's deplorable actions toward its people warrant a strong international response," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. "Absent significant change in the Syrian government's current approach, including an end to the government's killing of protesters...the United States and its international partners will take additional steps to make clear our strong opposition to the Syrian government's treatment of its people." (Reuters, May 6)