Sunday, June 26, 2011

Istanbul, 'attractive' & Beirut 'too dangerous' for anti-Assad elements

"... Turkey's growing diplomatic anger at Syria has made Istanbul an attractive hub for the Syrian opposition movement, which has received scores of defectors in recent weeks. Beirut, which is less than three hours' drive from Damascus and offers easy access to Syrian citizens, is now considered too dangerous for anti-regime dissidents. "It is a clearing house only," said one Syrian activist who directs a network of dissidents across the border. "There are many ways that the regime can get to people here – they don't even have to be here themselves. They just use their proxies."
One Syrian journalist who fled to Beirut has told the rights group Avaaz of his capture by Lebanese military intelligence officers. The journalist says he was seized from a coffee shop in Jounieh, 25km north of Beirut. He said he was first asked by a stranger to step outside for a conversation, then seized and taken to a fetid barracks where he was interrogated for several days.
"During the days I spent in Beirut, some other Syrian activists were kidnapped and extradited to the Syrian security police," he said. "The Lebanese authorities have also captured the few fugitive Syrian soldiers who had fled Syria through the borders, and then turned them in to Syria, claiming that it had to because of the security agreement signed between the two countries."..."

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