Promises of Reform Fail to Satisfy Syrians

At least two people were killed in a crackdown by police in Syria’s third-largest city—coming as leaders promised reform but also threatened retribution if the protests do not end soon. Syrians weren’t impressed; they are seeking nothing less than the regime’s downfall. “They don't want to admit there's a Syrian revolution,” said one protester in Banias. “The people are not interested in small changes here and there anymore.” Tuesday’s tumult came after a month of Egyptian-style protests to end the 40-year rule of the Assad family. President Bashar al-Assad promised Saturday to repeal the emergency law that has been in place since the Baath Party seized power in 1963—but the reforms still have to be approved by parliament and Assad himself. Police cleared Abbassiyeen Square Tuesday after reports came that government forces had driven into the city and fired ammunition into the air to keep the streets clear.