The PJ Tatler

Syrians using soccer stadiums as prisons as unrest spreads

So reports CNN:

Syrian security forces were using soccer stadiums as makeshift prisons Monday in at least two cities — Banias and Daraa — after raiding homes and arresting hundreds of residents, the directors of two human rights organizations said.

In addition, security forces burst into homes and took residents into custody in the Damascus suburb of Modemiyah, where there were reports of gunfire Monday, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

And in the city of Homs, a doctor said tanks were dispersed and security checkpoints were set up at the entrance to each suburb, with security forces, often backed by secret police, searching anyone passing through. The security presence was so heavy that people were afraid to demonstrate, the resident said. …

Amnesty International said Friday that more than 540 people have been killed by Syrian security forces and that many activists in pro-reform protests “have been forced into hiding after receiving threats from Syrian authorities.”

Some Middle East experts have speculated that al-Assad is taking advantage of the current focus on al Qaeda and the death of Osama bin Laden to intensify his crackdown.

Yet Obama hasn’t made the gutsy call to oppose Assad’s rule.