The number of Syrian protestors shot down in the streets yesterday rose from 33 to 44 overnight. Assad appears to be catching up with Gaddafi for the coveted title of "Middle Eastern Brute of the Year" despite the Libyan dictator's one month head start on the body count.
Lest anyone think I am making light of people being gunned down for protesting, I can only say that I am treating the crackdown in Syria with more seriousness than the White House:
The National Organization for Human Rights said Saturday that most of the deaths took place in the western province of Idlib and the central region of Homs, after Syrian security forces cracked down on demonstrators. Witnesses and activists had earlier reported about 30 deaths.
On Friday, news organizations quoted witnesses in several cities who said security forces used live ammunition on demonstrators who took to the streets to rally against President Bashar al-Assad's government.
The accounts could not be independently verified as Syria has banned foreign journalists from the country.
Syrian rights activists say more than 850 civilians have been killed since mid-March, when protesters began calling for democratic reforms and Assad's ouster. Authorities have arrested at least 7,000 people as part of a government crackdown.
Even with Iran's help, Assad is having trouble keeping the lid on. Eventually, he will either run out of people to kill or he'll get the Gaddafi Treatment from the UN. The protests don't show any sign of slowing down or being intimidated by the live fire exercises of Assad's troops which means they will continue as long as Assad refuses to act like the reformer Hillary Clinton says he is.