The violence in Syria continues to escalate: On Friday, at least 26 were killed as thousands of protesters gathered in Damascus—the country's capital, which had never before seen serious clashes—and in the coastal town of Baniyas. Though the turnout still does not compare to the vast demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia, Syria's people seem unwilling to relent even in the face of violence, and the Syrian regime appears to be slipping. The mass protests came a day after President Obama's Mideast policy speech, in which he urged President Bashar al-Assad to "lead that [government] transition, or step out of the way." Assad promised in a Syrian newspaper that the unrest would soon come to an end, but violent clashes have shown no sign of dissipating. So far, hundreds have been killed in the nine-week uprising and thousands more arrested.