Protesters against the government of President Bashar al-Assad held a giant Syrian flag on Friday in Hama, which has claimed a measure of independence. Reuters.
By Nada Bakir, NY Times, July 22, 2011 — BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets on Friday across Syria, residents and antigovernment activists said, with enormous protests in two of the country’s five largest cities suggesting a growing momentum that the government of President Bashar al-Assad seemed at a loss to stanch.
Though the death toll was lower than in past weeks — five, by the activists’ count — the scenes in Hama, in central Syria, and Deir al-Zour, in a drought-stricken region in the east, showed the tenacity of the protest movement, which, after four months, can claim wide popular support for an uprising against Mr. Assad’s leadership.
The government’s response seemed to hint at its priorities. . . .