The Brink Of A Big Massacre?

Joshua Landis sees the latest indications that Syria "is slipping toward civil war":

The announcement today that 120 Syrian officers have been killed in Jisr al-Shughour indicates how dire the contest between the opposition and government forces has become. This weekend over 100 Syrians were killed by government troops. None of the reporters I spoke to today believe Syrian reports of a massacre. The LA Times puts the word in quotation marks. Other reporters stated to me that the government has offered neither proof nor pictures of killings in Jisr al-Shaghour. Opposition leaders argue that the claim is being manufactured by the government in order to justify escalating security measures.

The chilling propaganda from Syrian state TV:

The state will act firmly, with force and in line with the law. It will not stay arms folded in the face of armed attacks on the security of the homeland … The armed groups are using weapons and grenades … the people in Jisr al-Shughur are urging the army to intervene speedily.

The weekend massacres produced some horrifying details:

[P]rotesters poured out of mosques and marched in record numbers toward the city’s main square, said a 27-year-old resident who gave his name as Hassan, many carrying roses to give to security forces. Before they reached the square, Al Aasy, security forces opened fire. “They didn’t warn us with speakers or fire tear gas at us,” Hassan said. “They began shooting directly at us. They wanted to kill all of us, not frighten us back to our homes.” …

In neighboring Idlib Province on Saturday, Syrian forces used helicopter gunships for the first time. They bombarded the village of Jisr al-Shughour for more than half an hour, killing 10 people and sending dozens of families fleeing to Turkey, activists said. …

So many were treated for gunshot wounds at local hospitals that blood supplies ran low, residents said. Throughout the night, loudspeakers on mosques normally used for calls to prayer urged people to donate blood.

Enduring America describes the above video:

The propaganda war over the identity of the martyrs continues. This video allegedly shows anti-government protesters carrying the body of a police officer, Hussein Kamal Ismail Hula, who was killed because he refused to shoot protesters. If the man in the coffin is a police officer, and these protesters are anti-regime, it adds a high amount of credibility to the opposition's claim, as they have the body.