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Middle East

Poor response to Syria general strike call

media Prostestors in Homs on 6 May Reuters/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

An opposition call for a general strike in Syria on Wednesday appeared to have failed with shops, schools and transport operating normally in the capital Damascus and second city Aleppo.

Syrian Revolution 2011, an internet-based group opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule had called for “a day of punishment for the regime”.

Activists blamed

repression by Bashar al-Assad's government

but promised demonstrations later in the day.

 “The regime has deployed many plainclothes police officers … in Damascus and Aleppo so the people cannot go outside. For example in Aleppo there are 30,000 plainclothes officers. In Damascus there are many more, perhaps double that,” opposition leader Salim Monaim told RFI in Paris.

The US and the UN have placed sanctions on close associates of Assad. They warned Tuesday that they may impose further measures on the regime.

The pro-government newspaper Al-Witan quoted Assad on Wednesday as saying the crisis in his country was nearly over.

“President Assad gave assurances that Syria had overcome the crisis it went through and that events were coming to an end,” the daily reported.

Russia will not back a resolution condemning Syria's crackdown on protests, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in Moscow Wednesday.

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