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Syria Video Analysis: "Beginning of End of Regime is At Hand"

View Syria - Friday 27/01/2012 in a larger map

Map of Friday's protests and clashes in Damascus, as reported by the Syrian Uprising 2011 Information Centre

On Friday, the talk about Syria was death, destruction, and a story about "Iranian soldiers"/engineers in the custody of the Free Syrian Army's al-Farouk Brigade in Homs. Amidst this, the most important piece of the narrative may have been missed:

The protests across the country, particularly in and around Damascus, are large, defiant, and increasingly confident in the face of the violence.

The BBC's Jeremy Bowen visited Saqba, a small neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital, where the Free Syrian Army was trying to defend mourners at a funeral for a victim of the security forces, who have often disrupted events such as these. It is a breathtaking look inside an area just miles from the center of power in Syria, an area where Assad's control is slipping.

Bowen concludes that the uprising will likely get bloodier before it gets better:

It's clear that the regime forces, when they deploy enough men, can enter the rebellious suburbs of Damascus. But they do not appear to have the force to hold them.

This does not mean that the president is about to fall. He has his own hard-core support, and he also has well-armed forces, in and out of uniform. It looks as if Syria faces more blood and more bitterness.

Another video shows the scale of the funeral in Saqba:

Saqba lies on the southern edge of a group of suburbs that have become a battlefield. While the most dramatic developments may have been in these eastern suburbs, protests further to the west--- and closer to the capital --- offer more evidence for an argument that we have been making for at least two month. Damascus is no longer a "regime stronghold".

Perhaps a more impressive protest, not for its size but for its location, was this gathering of youth in Kafer Souseh, a district that is the home of many government buildings.

There were protests in the Barzeh district, where one video shows a large crowd and another a Russian flag (with a Nazi swastika painted on it) burned in protest at Moscow's support for the Assad regime.

The images of these protests, and the ones that can be seen via the map above, are just a small sample of Friday's demonstrations.

The Syrian security aparatus has established that it is threatened by the growing protest movement. In the center of the capital, in the Midan district, video showed gunfire in the streets, as activists reported that a 10-year-old boy was killed by security forces:

In the Nahre Eshe district, security forces opened fire on demonstrators:

And this video, posted by the opposition Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, showing protests disrupted by security in the Hajar Aswad district:

The Free Syrian Army has won victories in Zabadani and has taken over large parts of the eastern suburbs of Damascus. It is trying to establish more strongholds north of Damascus, has won victories in Daraa in the south. It is looking to win the Qusair district of Homs, and the city itself.

Then there are the many locations in Idlib, around Aleppo, and across Syria that are now firmly loyal to the opposition There is a growing opposition. It is increasingly militarised but at the end of the day, the protest movement is still the main weapon that it is using to slowly erode President Assad's support.

The protest movement has always been defiant over these last 10 1/2 months. The difference is that, in recent weeks, it is growing increasingly confident.

Bowen is right, as he reports from towns held by the opposition: the end is not near. However, the beginning of the end of the Assad regime is at hand.

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