24 MAR 2011
By Andrew Rettman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU ambassadors in Damascus are preparing a report on the "million dollar question" of whether President Bashir al-Assad's regime will be next in line to fall in a popular uprising.
A diplomatic contact said the "deep, substantial analysis" of the situation inside the country and its meaning for EU-Syria relations is to be ready next week. The union is unlikely to do anything beyond urging restraint until the heads of mission report is sent.
One current view is that young Facebook-using protesters in Damascus are divorced from the tribal unrest in the south of the country. The line goes that al-Assad still has a window of opportunity to make reforms before the movements link up and a mass protest in the capital forces him to step aside or to go down the Gaddafi route of extreme violence.
Al-Assad's troops are believed to have gunned down between 15 and 100 people in and around the Jordanian border town of Daraa since last Friday.
The Daraa protests began when tribal clans went on the streets to call for the release of 15 schoolchildren detained for writing Egypt and Tunisia revolution-inspired slogans on walls in the city. The children have been set free. But some 20,000 people went to the funeral of nine of the dead on Thursday (24 March), chanting anti-government slogans such as: "The blood of martyrs is not spilt in waste."
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