Rights Group: Syria Has Arrested 1K ‘Arbitrarily’

But experts warn of chaos if regime falls
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2011 10:30 AM CDT
This photo taken on a government-provided tour shows Syrian pro-government supporters kneeling to kiss a Syrian flag during a demonstration to show support to the regime in Damascus, April 30, 2011.   (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)
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(Newser) – The International Committee of the Red Cross demanded “immediate and unimpeded” access to Syrians wounded in clashes with the government today, as the government’s crackdown continues, the AP reports. One human rights group says more than 1,000 people have been arrested since Saturday. “They are picking up people in an arbitrary manner,” the group’s head said; in Daraa, men under 40 are considered fair game.

So why haven’t international governments offered a stronger response to the crisis? Because the collapse of the regime could lead to an Iraq-style Sunni-on-Shiite civil war, analysts and experts tell the Washington Post. “A collapse of the Syrian regime is a doomsday scenario for the entire Middle East,” says one professor, predicting that the war would spread to other nations, including Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. “The spillover effect would be too horrible to contemplate,” wrote another analyst in a Beirut newspaper.

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