Late one afternoon, a six-year-old boy was shot dead as he played on his front door step.

We joined the family for prayers in the mosque, men standing silently over the body, tears streaming down their faces.

They were in no doubt that a government sniper had done this.

Afamya, founded in 300 B.C. by one of Alexander the Great’s generals

Syria a land as old as antiquity. Truly part of the cradle of civilisation.

Damascus, the capital of Syria, is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Photograph: Khaled Al-Hariri/Reuters

60th Anniversary of the Ba'ath Party

What has happened in Syria?

Order of the Ba’ath: The Ba’ath party, which has dominated Syrian politics since seizing power in 1963, was founded in 1947 as a pan-Arab nationalist and socialist “renaissance” movement. Its slogan is “unity, freedom, socialism”. Under President Hafez al-Assad (1971–2000), the Ba’athists consolidated central government and brought a measure of stability to the country – though at a high cost in terms of repression.

Bashar al-Assad's violent repression of pro-democracy protests

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President Bashar: Bashar al-Assad was in London, pursuing a career in ophthalmology when his elder brother, Basil – heir apparent to the presidency – died in a car crash in 1994. Bashar was recalled to be groomed for power. When his father died in 2000, Bashar was made head of the army and leader of the Ba’ath party. But at 34, he was too young to become president under the Syrian constitution. The age qualification was hastily revised and he was “elected” president in a referendum. His wife, Asma Akhras, was born in Britain to Syrian parents. She formerly worked as an investment banker at JP Morgan.

Source: The Guardian – 20 things you need to know about Syria

Progress:

Mercedes-Benz Ponton taxis in use for 40+ years

Syria’s economic regime changed from capitalist to socialist and as a result, people were not allowed to buy cars on the open market. Instead, the government bought thousands of cars each year and sold them to the people.

Source: Mercedes Benz Ponton Taxies

A sixth had not made it. “We heard him screaming,” said Mahmoud Ali, one of the defecting soldiers, “but we couldn’t go back. There were too many troops pouring in.”

They had fought their way out of their base, running under fire to reach Bab Amr. Now, people were coming out into the street to embrace them.

Fresh from their flight, rapidly expelling plumes of breath into the night air, they explained why they had changed sides.

Their officers had told them they would be coming to Homs to fight “terrorists” but earlier that day they were ordered to fire on unarmed protesters in the streets of Homs.

Syrian protesters angry with the Islamic Republic’s deep ties with Syria’s dynastic regime

The people have had enough.

They want Syria free of the corruption and nepotism of Ba’ath.

More than 4,000 have died since the beginning of the year.

The people are close, but they need help, the same help that NATO gave Libya – a no-fly zone.

The world has to help those that want freedom.

Syria slowly inches towards civil war

“They’re asking for RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) in al Bayadah,” said the young fighter, naming another district in Homs.

“Assad’s armoured vehicles are coming and they have nothing to stop them.”

“Give them five or six of ours. God willing we will find some more,” replied the man in charge, sitting cross-legged on the floor.

This conversation took place in the Bab Amr quarter of Homs.

The man giving the order for the RPGs to be sent had an M-16 automatic rifle, complete with sniper sight. The weapon did not have a scratch on it. It was brand new, just smuggled from Lebanon, they said.

We had entered Syria the same way the M-16 had, from Lebanon, with men running guns to what is a growing insurgency.

Source: BBC News Read the rest (Blue quotes also from the BBC article)

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