Syria's military tightens grip

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

[Intro music]

Lisa Mullins: I'm Lisa Mullins, and this is The World. Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad, has been one of the Arab world's most authoritarian rulers for more than a decade. He's been secure in his power until last month. That's when the Arab uprising spread to Syria. Well, yesterday was a turning point in the revolt. Troops and tanks entered the city of Deraa. There are reports of more gunfire there today. Syria's official news agency says some soldiers were killed. Anti-government activists say dozens of people were detained. We spoke yesterday with one man who fled Deraa, earlier in the day, with his family. He's now in Damascus. We are not using his name. Thank you very much again though, for joining us, and I wonder what news you've had from Deraa today, and how you received it?

Interviewee: Well, we just get the information from those vegetable distributors who are gone with their [coach???] this morning, out of the city, to distribute their goods in the wholesale market in Damascus, from the villages, because nobody can get out from there, or get inside easily. So, these [kars???] are telling us that all the electricity and water supply has been cut off since 24 hours now. And there's no water to supply for drinking water, and there has been lack of food even now. For 24 hours, nobody can get out because, if anybody goes out, he will be exposed to be shot down by gunshots from the troops who are controlling all the streets of Deraa. And, because there is no communication, you cannot call on any mobile, on any usual phones; only we have access to a couple of people who have satellite phones, but they're not available all the time because they are afraid to be detected. A lot of deaths, bodies are thrown on, all over the streets, and the situation now is getting worse, hour after hour, not day after day, because of the lack of electricity and the water supply. We know that they have been arresting hundreds of people.

Mullins: Do you know if any protestors have already resorted to using arms? Because, the official news agency in Syria is claiming that some soldiers were, indeed, killed by protestors.

Interviewee: Yes, we are not using arms. Many protestors have arms, because many of them are farmers. It's like the States, or any other country, who can give the permission, or the allowance, to have a personal small gun to protect your farms if you're living outside...

Mullins: So the farmers have them?

Interviewee: The people have this, you know. But, they are not using it. We have been now protesting in one month, and nobody has used any arms. Nobody has used any resistance, any military resistance. We didn't use the resistance, yet. We are still saying that we are peaceful people who have peaceful demands. That's what we want the world to know us. We are the people of Syria asking for peaceful demands, for the essential rights of life. We will keep using the peace against the heavy guns of Bashar al-Assad. That is what we want to use, but, I don't know until what time we will endure this situation; until what time? Until our children and our women are all killed by lack of water? Can we endure all this? Because, there will come a point, we will reach to a point that we will, maybe, start using arms against the troops, against the security forces.

Mullins: From Damascus, Syria, a resident of Deraa -- a protestor. We're not using his real name because his hometown is now under military occupation. Thank you, again, for speaking with us.

Interviewee: Okay, thank you very much.