Syria’s most acclaimed political cartoonist was severely beaten yesterday, not long after he published a cartoon that showed Bashar al-Assad hightailing it out of town with Moammar Gadhafi, the New York Times reports. Masked gunmen grabbed Ali Farzat off the streets of Damascus at about 4:30am, activists said. They broke his left hand and right arm, then threw him out of a car along an airport road. They also stole some of his drawings and belongings.
“They told him as they were burning his beard, ‘We’ll see what you will draw from now on,’” a friend said. “‘How dare you disobey your masters?’” The US embassy called it “a government-sponsored, targeted, brutal attack.” Of course, Farzat wasn’t the only one hurt yesterday; according to activists, Syrian troops attacked a number of towns around the country, killing nine, including one 9-year-old boy. Four soldiers were also allegedly shot for refusing to fire on civilians.