Snipers shoot into Deraa as opposition calls for reform

Group threatens to "move along the same path as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya;" Damascus rejects Ban's call for independent probe.

Syrian protester against flag 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)
Syrian protester against flag 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)
Snipers intermittently shot into the Syrian city of Deraa on Wednesday, a witness told CNN, adding that the situation is "worsening day after day."
Syrian opposition group the National Initiative for Change called for democracy that will "safeguard the nation from falling into a period of violence, chaos and civil war." The group said that its "massive grassroots revolution" will break Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, unless he makes democratic reforms, AP reported.
US: Assad no longer potential peace partner for Israel
Campaign to block Syria's election to UNHRC underway
Calls for sanctions grow as Assad steps up offensive

Without reform, the group reportedly said, "there is no alternative left for Syrians except to move forward along the same path as did the Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans before them."
On Tuesday, Syria's envoy to the UN said that his country is perfectly capable of conducting its own transparent inquiry into the deaths of anti-government demonstrators and needs no outside assistance.
"Syria has a government, has a state," Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters who asked about a call by UN chief Ban Ki-moon for an investigation. "We can undertake any investigation by our own selves with full transparency."

"We have nothing to hide," he said outside the UN Security Council chambers, where members failed to agree on a statement condemning Syria's government.
"We regret what's going on, but you should also acknowledge the fact that this unrest and riots, in some of their aspects, have hidden agendas," he said, adding that some foreign governments were trying to destabilize Syria.
Asked by reporters to name the countries that Damascus believes are behind the unrest, Ja'afari said it was "too early" to provide details.
Ja'afari was speaking as Syrian President Bashar Assad poured troops into a suburb of the capital overnight while his tanks pounded Deraa to crush resistance in the southern city where the revolt against his autocratic rule began on March 18.
White buses brought in hundreds of soldiers in full combat gear into the northern Damascus suburb of Douma, a witness told Reuters on Wednesday, from where pro-democracy protesters have tried to march into centre of the capital in the last two weeks but were met with bullets.
Syrian human rights organization Sawasiah said security forces have killed at least 35 civilians since they entered Deraa at dawn on Monday.
The organization, founded by jailed human rights lawyer Mohannad al-Hassani, said electricity, water and telecommunications remained cut in Deraa and tanks kept firing at residential buildings, with supplies blood at hospitals starting to run low.
At least 400 civilians have been killed by security forces in their campaign to crush the protests, Sawasiah said, adding that the United Nations Security Council must convene to start proceedings against Syrian officials in the International Criminal Court and "rein in the security apparatus".
The UN secretary-general has called for an independent inquiry into the deaths of people he has described as peaceful demonstrators.
Ja'afari said Assad had instructed the government "to establish a national commission of inquiry and investigation about all the casualties among civilians."
"We don't need help from anybody," he said.
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle EastClick for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East