Topic: Protests in Syria
NEW YORK, November 19 (RIA Novosti)
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Despite the government's Internet crackdown, Syrian opposition has launched its own iPhone application to broadcast anti-government news, the Mobiledia online portal said.
The "Souria Wa Bas" ("Syria Alone") application was created by underground Local Coordination Committees to refute official media reports, which the opposition sees as "deliberate attempts to distort facts."
The debut message said the Free Syrian Army struck several key points in the capital Damascus and the Air Force Intelligence headquarters in Harastra. The message also contained a map of the attacks and an aerial photo.
The app also offers a collection of videos and jokes poking fun at the incumbent president Bashar al-Assad.
"But the iPhone app is not likely meant to reach only those within Syria, a country where Apple's handset is both extremely expensive and not officially available," the portal said. "Instead, it appears meant to reach the wider world with news that otherwise might not become public."
Protests and violence in Syria have continued for nine months. The UN says 3,500 people have died in clashes while Syrian official statistics put the figure at 2,600. The opposition wants President Bashar al-Assad to quit, a demand backed by the United States and the EU.
Two weeks ago, Damascus agreed to accept an Arab League peace plan for Syria, in which Damascus would release political prisoners detained in the current conflict, and remove all military equipment from urban areas.
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- lmMore sad news for Russia they will never learn.10:43, 19/11/2011Killers of Russian child released the news said.
Yet another slap in the face for Russia, i am 100% sure if it was the other way around the a max prison term would of given to a Russian. But as i said Russia will never learn if they keep up this chidlish foreing policy.
- PutinFree Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for a rocket grenade attack on a building belonging to the ruling Baath Party in the heart of Damascus, the Syrian capital. - Middle East - Al Jazeera English15:22, 20/11/2011-- Illegal,US Syrian Regime Chang! --
Defectors claim Damascus grenade attack -- Free Syrian Army says it carried out dawn attack on Baath Party building in heart of Syrian capital.
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2011 10:30
The Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for a rocket grenade attack on a building belonging to the ruling Baath Party in the heart of Damascus, the Syrian capital.
Witnesss reported a loud explosion on Baghdad Street in the centre of the city early on Sunday.
Activists from the Local Co-ordination Committees told The Associated Press news agency that several rocket-propelled grenades had been fired at the Baath Party building.
A witness told the Reuters news agency that the attack had occurred just before dawn when the building was mostly empty.
"Security police blocked off the square where the Baath's Damascus branch is located. But I saw smoke rising from the building and fire trucks around it," the unnamed witness said.
Thabet Salem, a journalist who lives a kilometre away from the party building, told Al Jazeera, "This is a clear-cut escalation of what's going on ... It will bring us into a dangerous phase."
If confirmed, the attack would appear to be the most serious attack in the centre of the capital since protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March.
The Free Syrian Army mostly consists of army defectors who have taken up arms against state security forces. Last week they claimed responsibility for an attack on an air force intelligence base on the outskirts of Damascus.
Al Jazeera's Nisreen El Shamayleh, reporting from Amman, said the targeted Baath office is located in the Mazraa district, an area of the capital "supposed to be safe and secure, where Assad enjoys a lot of support".
Our correspondent also said the Free Syrian Army had claimed responsibility for an earlier attack that killed 22 people at a government checkpoint in the Mesraba area of Douma in the Reef Dimashq governate.
Al Jazeera cannot verify reports from Syria because of media restrictions imposed by the government.
In an interview with a British newspaper, Assad said that his government would continue to take action against opposition protesters and would not bow to mounting international pressure to end the crackdown that has left thousands dead.
"The conflict will continue and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue," Assad told the Sunday Times.
"I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it."
Assad again repeated his assertion that any international military action taken against Syria would create an "earthquake" across the Middle East.
"If they are logical, rational and realistic, they shouldn't do it because the repercussions are very dire. Military intervention will destabilise the region as a whole, and all countries will be affected," he said.
'My daily obsession'
Asked if his own forces had been too aggressive in cracking down on protesters, Assad said mistakes had been made but those were the fault of individuals, not the state.
Assad also said there would be elections in February or March when Syrians would vote for a parliament to create a new constitution, and that would include provision for a presidential ballot.
"That constitution will set the basis of how to elect a president, if they need a president or don't need him," he said. "They have the elections, they can participate in it. The ballot boxes will decide who should be president."
Damascus is becoming increasingly isolated over its assault on protesters, which the United Nations says has killed at least 3,500 people. Assad said the civilian death toll was 619 and that 800 government forces had been killed.
"My role as president - this is my daily obsession now - is to know how to stop this bloodshed caused by armed terrorist
acts that are hitting some areas," he said.
"The only way is to search for the armed people, chase the armed gangs, prevent the entry of arms and weapons from
neighbouring countries, prevent sabotage and enforce law and order."
Meanwhile, violence continued across Syria on Saturday, just before an Arab League deadline for the government to end the crackdown on anti-government protesters expired on Saturday night.
Twenty civilians were killed on Saturday, according to a statement from the Syrian Revolution General Commission. Among them were two army defectors who died when they clashed with the army in Homs.
The Arab League deadline had been set by the 22-member bloc a day after Syrian security forces killed at least 17 civilians, including two children.
Syria has already been suspended from the Arab League and could face further sanctions if it is deemed to have failed to comply with the bloc's call for the crackdown to end.
The country has agreed "in principle" to allow hundreds of Arab observers into the country to monitor implementation of a peace deal agreed earlier this month, but with conditions attached.
Under the agreement, the Syrian military would pull out from around restive areas. The Arab League said it was examining Syria's request to make changes to the proposal.
Al Jazeera and agencies