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The steady momentum to free Syria

Even other Arab dictators and Turkey are now fed up with Assad's brutality against protesters. The case for regime change builds as more Syrians stand bravely for freedom.

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It’s hard to keep a good idea – like liberty – down. But Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has certainly tried.

Over months of protests almost every day, he has used everything from bullets to Internet censorship to cutoffs of food to end an uprising that seeks freedom from his family’s 42 years in power.

Even other Arab dictators are embarrassed. The 22-member Arab League sent a delegation to see Mr. Assad on Wednesday. It demanded an end to the crackdown by Oct. 31 or else Syria might be thrown out of the league. It also wants Assad to agree to “the people’s demands.”

For neighboring Turkey, it’s gone beyond embarrassment. Ankara has turned on its neighbor, reportedly hosting armed Syrian militia fighting against Assad.

In most Syrian cities, a wellspring of opposition has pushed the regime to absurd reactions. This week, for example, thousands of merchants closed their shops nationwide in a general strike. What did the military do? It used force to open the shops – as if merchants would then simply conduct their business.

The Army’s foot soldiers are kept in the dark about the extent of the protests. Those who refuse to shoot their own citizens are themselves killed on the spot. In Washington, a Syrian agent was caught sending recordings of protests in the United States for use in targeting their families back home.

Assad lost even more foreign support this week after a smear campaign in the state media against American Ambassador Robert Ford forced him to leave the country out of concern for his life.

Step by step, as more Syrians accept the possibility of a new reality for themselves, the regime fumbles, exposing the bankruptcy of its claim to rule by force and fiat. A once-spontaneous uprising has now begun to coalesce into a single organized body, the Syrian National Council.


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