Astonishing video from #Syria. Shells fall, but protesters continue to dance & sing

This is Friday in Bashar Al Assad’s Syria, still uprising after 14 months and possibly 12,000 lives have passed.

1000 GMT: Syria. Ahmad Fawzi, the spokesman for United Nations envoy Kofi Annan, has declared that the proposals for peace are still on course to be fulfilled, “The Annan plan is on track and a crisis that has been going on for over a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week. I agree with you that there are no big signs of compliance on the ground. There are small signs of compliance.”

Annan will brief the United Nations Security Council on the Syria situation next Tuesday by video link from Geneva.

The Local Co-ordination Committees in Syria claim 16 people have died today: five in Idlib Province, three each in Aleppo and Homs Provinces, two each in Deir Ez Zor and Hama Provinces, and one in Daraa Province.

0630 GMT: Syria. According to the Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria, 32 people died across the country on Thursday at the hands of security forces.

On this day. however, it would be a specific set of casualties that would hold political significance. At least four students — the LCCS claims six — were killed when their dormitories were stormed after campus protests. The decision to attack the students brought a defiant response, with their colleagues continuing to express anger and resistance even as authorities announced classes were suspended until 13 May.

Beyond the immediacy of young people challenging the Assad regime, the decision to attack them had a whiff of desperation. Amidst the uprising from March 2011, Aleppo has had the reputation of being a city unlikely to rise up, given its business and financial interests linking it to the regime’s survival. Now security forces were having to take over its university, ending the lives of some of those who might have been expected to be among Syria’s elite.

Whether President Assad’s men can close off that incident or whether it is yet another spark for the fire of demands for significant reform or even the removal of the regime remains to be seen. However, given that the dead students do not fit the official model of the “armed terrorist groups” who must be defeated, this event has undercut Damascus’s claim of legitimacy.

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