By AlJazeera Centre for Studies
The Syrian uprising against the Baath Party regime started with a small demonstration in the Al-Hariqa quarter of Damascus. The demonstration lasted for about half an hour before being dispersed by security forces who arrested many of the participants. The demonstration sparked a rapid succession of protests in different parts of Syria in the weeks that followed.
The southern city of Dar'a; Latakia and Baniyas in the north; and Duma in Rif Dimashq were the most prominent sites of protest. In these places, the popular movement involved in the uprisings faced tremendous violence from the security services, leading to the deaths of approximately three hundred Syrians in one month of protests. However, neither the violence of the security apparatuses nor the official media narrative of foreign terrorist and Salafi agitation succeeded in quelling or confining the uprising.
By the Afro-Middle East Centre
The sixteen month long Syrian uprising hit a critical juncture last Friday, 22 June, when Syria downed an unarmed Turkish F4 Phantom plane. An enraged Turkey maintained the plane was shot down in international airspace after it had only momentarily, and accidentally, strayed into Syrian territory while on a training sortie. Syria, which immediately admitted it had shot down the plane, countered that the plane had been gunned down over Syrian territory and that its forces had acted to protect its sovereignty. Although the incident has potentially changed the rules of engagement between Turkey and Syria, it is by no means a game changer for either.
By Abdul Rahman Al-Haj
Two key features characterise the Syrian Salafis. Initially, the Salafis called for non-violence, as a result of the repression that the regime had imposed on the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s. They then transformed to become Salafi jihadists, as a reaction to the regime's military repression of peaceful demonstrations.
By Afro Middle-East Centre
Monday marked the beginning of the second round of the Geneva 2 discussions, sponsored by the USA and Russia and convened under UN auspices, that intends to solve the Syrian crisis. Negotiations are being held between a delegation representing the Syrian regime, and one representing the opposition. An earlier eight-day session in January did not lead to any breakthroughs. The UN and Arab League mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, described that first round as a success insofar as it was able to get the opponents to sit face-to-face for the first time since the beginning of the crisis in 2011. With nothing to show in terms of actual political agreements that can resolve the crisis, this modest evaluation is the best that can be said about the achievements of the first round. And the prospects for the second round look bleaker.