Thursday, April 28, 2011

Deraa: A city under a dark siege - Features - Al Jazeera English

Deraa: A city under a dark siege - Features - Al Jazeera English

Is the indifference to the plight of these people racism?

They dress in black'

Speaking to Al Jazeera Arabic early Wednesday evening, a Deraa resident who gave his name as Nimr al Deraawi, described a situation in which residents were unable to move for fear of sniper fire while an apparent military battle raged around them.

"If you put your head out of the window you get a bullet in your head," said Deraawi. "Homes on Yarmouk highway have been destroyed. My home has been hit by machine gun fire. Six pharmacies have been burned down and the army has occupied all hospitals."

Leading the assault on Deraa are the elite forces of the Fourth Division of the army, commanded by President Assad's brother Maher al-Assad, who has deployed his troops in the city since the early days of the uprising, according to multiple eyewitness accounts.

"They dress in black and are large and muscular," said one resident, speaking of Maher al-Assad’s men. "They have a red stripe on one shoulder. I've seen them at night and members of my family have described them to me."

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