By Writer/editor
msnbc.com
updated 5/12/2011 7:08:12 PM ET 2011-05-12T23:08:12

Activists are defying media blackouts and secret-police roundups to send a message to the world: "There is no turning back in Syria."

In a Skype interview Thursday, one man who used the name Alexander Page to protect his identity and said he was in Damascus spoke with msnbc.com about the mood in Syria's capital after weeks of unrest in which hundreds have been reported killed.

Msnbc.com could not confirm the man’s identity or that he was in Syria. A Syrian rights group forwarded the man's contact information to msnbc.com on Thursday.

Despite sanctions from Europe and the United States, President Bashar Assad, 45, appears determined to end the two-month-old uprising, which seeks reform and an end to his authoritarian rule. On Thursday, his forces pushed deeper into the nation’s south with tanks in efforts to quell the protests.

Page said he was married with a family and worked and lived in Damascus. He said he was taking part in daily protests, making sure to record marches and activities in the nation’s capital on video.

“It is really tense here,” he said, speaking in British-inflected English. “People are talking about the international community and that there should be more pressure on the Syria regime.”

At least 2,000 people have been detained over the past two weeks, with a total of around 8,000 since the Syrian government launched its crackdown, a Western diplomat said. The official, who demanded anonymity to share assessments of the unrest in Syria, said Western nations believed that between 600 and 800 people have been killed so far.

Story: Syria broadens crackdown, tanks roll south

Page was detained for three days in March after security officials caught him videotaping, he said.

He said he was deprived of sleep during his jailing and then released.

“When a protest goes off in Damascus, there are undercover police who use force against demonstrators. They detain people: women, children, men — there is no difference to the police,” Page said.

Organizers of marches across Syria were calling for more demonstrations Friday despite the military operations and arrest raids meant to pre-empt the rallies.

“No one wants to be detained, no one wants to be killed,” Page said. “What the Syrian people know now is that we go back, it's going to be worse than ever. It's going to be crazy."

He said phone lines are often down and rolling blackouts occur daily.

“We are staying in touch with others online, staying connected online,” he said.

“Syria is not Egypt or what Libya is now,” he said. "People in Syria want change but are worried about the consequence of change. ... There is no turning back in Syria."

This report includes information from The Associated Press.

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints

Video: Few signs of foreign intervention in Syria

  1. Closed captioning of: Few signs of foreign intervention in Syria

    >> been another awful day in syria . the continuing government crackdown on protesters who want president assad out. richard is tracking it from benghazi. the problem today was syrians firing on their own people?

    >> reporter: it was, and that has been the problem from the start. the syrian government has denied entry visas to foreign journalists. it doesn't want to world to see what it is doing, which is a systematic city by city sweep against protesters. overnight, syria deployed tanks in this city. witnesses say cdozens of tanks have set up checkpoints and shelled the city earlier. even as funerals were held for protesters held in the seven-week crackdown. human rights protesters say they documented over 700 killings since the unrest began. more than 10,000 have been arrested, and there are no signs of foreign intervention coming or if the syrian government has any intention of stopping. syrian president bashar assad said he's fighting an arm ed infection outside of the country. the european unit has imposed an arms embargo on syria . but outside pressure isn't working. the assad regime believes it's in a fight for its survival. human rights groups in syria say at least 18 people were killed today alone.

    >> richard , before you go, about libya, where you are, a lot of talk about gadhafi. nato says they're not trying to kill him, but they killed his son, kit his house in the last raid. it's been a long time since we have seen moammar gadhafi alive.

    >> reporter: well, we have seen him, according to libyan state television tonight, the state television broadcast pictures without any date, showing gadhafi, apparently greeting tribal elders. he was wearing sunglasses. he expressed no emotion as he greeted the elders who seemed very unenthusiastic about the meeting. he was inside, in a building that appears to be a luxury hotel in tripoli.

    >> richard , thanks for all of tt.

Data: Young and restless: Demographics fuel Mideast protests

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments