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Syria was one of the last countries in the Arab world to join the wave of popular civil upheavals that covered the Islam part of the globe but what once was a series of peaceful demonstrations has turned into ugly bloodshed accompanied with an armed conflict. Starting in Tunisia and spreading to neighboring Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and other nearby countries, this tide of protests swept the whole Arab world with the only difference – intensity of the consequences.
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Syria being an integrated part of the public life of Middle East countries could not avoid the spread of what is now known as Arab Spring (Lynch et al. 2). As in the case of other neighboring countries, the protests started with a request for granting people greater freedoms and putting an end to corruption, but the primary demand was the resignation of the President. However, unlike other states that were covered with the similar upheavals that ended within a few months, Syrian revolution lasted for more than three years. But how did it all start? And, what is more important, where are we now?
A series of uprisings in Syria burst out in 2011 in the peripheries of the Bashar Al-Assad regime, both geographical and political. Breaking out in the city of Deraa, the uprising preaching the ideals of nonviolence and social justice and democracy in Syria has evolved to spread across the territory of the country and become an organized nationwide movement desiring to overthrow the system. Initially, protesters claimed for reforms, but as they realized that Assad was not willing to meet their requirements, the demand has shifted towards the President’s resignation.
Nevertheless, the uprising groupings emerged throughout the country and gained popularity, the slogan of the societal revolt was “peacefully, peacefully” (Droz-Vincent 50). It was not until 2012 that the turn towards militarization and armed conflicts started. As Al-Assad felt that his regime is in danger because the rioter took over most part of Syria, he decided to use armed helicopters, artillery, ballistic missiles, and chemical weapons to show that he will not give up on his power, and everyone who wants to join the revolution will pay the price that equals life.
During the next two years, Syrian population has witnessed dreads of the civil war that left more than 100,000 people dead and led the country to a humanitarian disaster. Even though the National Coalition and the government have agreed to peace in 2014, we cannot see the end of the civil war. The only thing that is clear is that Al-Assad’s promise, “If this [my resignation] is what the Syrian people want, I don’t have a problem with it. I am not the kind of person who clings to power,” (“President Bashar Al-Assad Interview with Agence France Presse” par. 56) is no more than a mere scrap of paper. But we will see what tomorrow brings.
Droz-Vincent, Philippe. ““State of Barbary” (Part Two): From the Arab Spring to the Return of Violence in Syria.” The Middle East Journal 68.1 (2014): 33-58. Print.
The author, a professor of political science and international relations at Sciences-Po Grenoble, providing a thorough analysis of reasons, major events, and the outcomes of the Syrian revolution and uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, claims that Syria is an exceptional case of the Arab Spring.
Unlike upheavals in the rest of the Arab world, revolt in Syria started in the periphery and gradually swept the whole country becoming a nationwide movement. Initially nonviolent rebellion grouping preaching the ideals of democracy and justice was forced to militarize as the Al-Assad’s regime initiated the armed confrontation that led to the beginning of the civil war having horrifying consequences. This research is the fundamental work studying the Syrian revolution and providing its historical background that reaches times long before Al-Assad came to power.
Lynch, Marc, Deen Frylon and Sean Aday. “Syria in the Arab Spring: The Integration of Syria’s Conflict with the Arab Uprisings, 2011-2013.” Research and Politics 1.3 (2014): 1-7. Print.
The authors, researchers at George Washington University and American University, use the Twitter database to test their hypothesis that Syria is integrated into the Arab Spring public and social life and investigate the change in the moods of Arab citizen with the further evolution of the uprising.
They find their hypothesis strongly supported during 2011 when there were many mentions about Syrian revolution in the social network. However, in 2012-2013 a number of mentioned decreased that proved that once similar upheaval faded away in the neighboring, the subject of revolution in Syria was of less interest to the users from the rest of Islam world. This research, if taken together with the analysis of the broadcast media, significantly advances the study of the Arab Spring developments.
President Bashar Al-Assad Interview with Agence France Presse. 2014. Web.
Bashar Al-Assad, the President of Syria, gives an interview to Agence France Presse. The date of the talk is the day when the government of Syria will come to peace with the National Coalition at the Geneva Conference. The President says that he hopes that the Conference will become a platform for the dialogue that will unify the people of Syria bring an end to the civil war. Al-Assad calls upon Western communities to help him stop importing terrorism from neighboring countries so that it brings peace to his homeland. This interview, if taken with studies on the subject, significantly advances understanding of the developments in the Arab world.