Top of the Morning: Syria Bloodshed; DRC Election Mess; Fearless Egyptian Women; and a Deceased South Sudanese Rebel

Top stories from (a newly remodeled!) DAWNS Digest.

Syria: Over 120 Killed in Past Two Days

Over the weekend, Bashar Al Assad said he would finally let Arab League observers into the country to implement a peace plan. Alas, it looks like this was yet another maneuver to manipulate the international community into believing they can work with Assad. “President Bashar al-Assad carried out a ‘massacre’ by killing 111 civilians in the northwestern town of Kafruwed on Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had warned earlier that ‘dozens of civilians’ were surrounded by the army in the town in the region of Jabal al-Zawiyah, more than 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Damascus. The revised toll brings to 123 the number of civilian deaths across Syria for that day, the majority of them in Idlib province and 12 in the flashpoint central city of Homs. At least 100 army deserters were killed or wounded in Idlib on Tuesday, the Observatory said, adding 14 security force members were killed in southern Daraa province, cradle of the nine-month uprising against Assad’s rule.” (AFP

Egyptian Women Fight Back

For the past five days, Egyptian protesters have faced a heavy handed violent crackdown by security forces. One of the indelible images of this violence was the beating inflicted by uniformed security officers on a women stripped down to her blue bra. Now, Egyptian women are fighting back. “Around 10,000 women marched through central Cairo demanding Egypt’s ruling military step down Tuesday in an unprecedented show of outrage over soldiers who dragged women by the hair and stomped on them, and stripped one half-naked in the street during a fierce crackdown on activists the past week. The dramatic protest, which grew as the women marched from Tahrir Square through downtown, was fueled by the widely circulated images of abuses of women. Many of the marchers touted the photo of the young woman whose clothes were partially pulled off by troops, baring her down to her blue bra, as she struggled on the ground.” (AP

Feared Rebel Leader Killed in South Sudan

South Sudan is the world’s newest country. It faces threats not only from its foe to the north, but also from internal rebellion. That’s why this is a potentially significant development. “George Athor, who left the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) saying the country’s dominant party had rigged an election last year, was killed in Morobo County in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state, SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer said. ‘George Athor was killed in Marobo County when he tried to enter South Sudan from Congo. He met with a clash with an SPLA patrol unit,’ Aguer said, adding that one SPLA soldier was killed and another wounded in the fighting. Athor was returning to recruit more soldiers, Aguer said. He did not say when the clash took place. The rebel leader was considered one of the biggest threats to South Sudan’s stability, although reports have varied widely over the size of his force, which remained focused in remote border areas between Jonglei and the oil-producing Upper Nile.” (AlertNet

DRC: Two ‘Presidents,’ One Big Mess

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the international chorus denouncing the recent DRC elections as flawed. That did not deter Joseph Kabilla from attending his inauguration today. And, for that matter, it has not deterred opposition candidate Etienne Etienne Tshisekedi from declaring that he will take the oath of office on Friday.  (WAPO