Wash. Post Claiming Syrian Resisters Clamoring for Weapons

Opposition calling for NATO, weapons

BEIRUT – The success of Libya’s rebels in toppling their dictator is prompting calls within the Syrian opposition for armed rebellion and NATO intervention after nearly six months of overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations that have failed to dislodge President Bashar al-Assad.

LIZ SLY; THE WASHINGTON POST

BEIRUT – The success of Libya’s rebels in toppling their dictator is prompting calls within the Syrian opposition for armed rebellion and NATO intervention after nearly six months of overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations that have failed to dislodge President Bashar al-Assad.

The young Internet activists who have helped guide the uprising are arguing against the strategic shift.

So too are the older dissidents who long have dreamed of the nonviolent revolution now unfolding against a regime that has proved every bit as brutal as the one led by Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.

But some activists have concluded that peaceful protests alone will not be enough to overthrow a government that has used live ammunition, tanks and artillery to try to crush its opponents, killing more than 2,000 and imprisoning tens of thousands.

Protesters in recent days have carried banners calling for a no-fly zone over Syria akin to the one that facilitated the Libyan revolt. “We want any (intervention) that stops the killing, whether Arab or foreign,” said one banner held by protesters in the beleaguered town of Homs.

Yet although President Barack Obama called this month for Assad to step down, world powers, including the United States, have shown little appetite for any form of entanglement in Syria.

An armed rebellion in Syria, which straddles the region’s most volatile ethnic and sectarian fault lines, would have ramifications far more profound than in Libya. A civil war in Syria could spread beyond its borders to Lebanon and Iraq, perhaps embroil Israel and destabilize the countries of the Persian Gulf.

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