Blog archive: Syria

  • 14th April 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
         Two noteworthy developments were reported from Syria on Wednesday. One was a demonstration in Aleppo – the first in the city since the wave of protests began. The other was march by women from Banias/Baniyas (see video above). According to a witness quoted by...
  • 12th April 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The question "Where, exactly, is Syria heading?" continues to be the subject of much discussion. Writing for Time magazine, Beirut-based journalist Nicholas Blanford asks: "Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?" He doesn't quite give an answer, but suggests the regime's...
  • 11th April 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    As part of his promised "reforms", President Assad recently set up a committee to look into the question of ending Syria's 48-year state of emergency. The committee is not due to complete its work until April 25 but on Saturday the state-run television broadcast a panel discussion of the issue,...
  • 9th April 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Syrian uprising entered its fourth week on Friday. Information about events on the ground remains sketchy, largely due to government restrictions on the media and the fact that protests are scattered across the country. But let's look at the broader picture and what it might mean for the Assad...
  • 7th April 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The "reforms" promised by Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, got under way on Wednesday with two measures obviously designed to placate religious elements. One was the rescinding of a rule introduced only last July which had banned female teachers from wearing the niqab, or...
  • 2nd April 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Syrian uprising appears to be growing but, as with Tunisia last December, it is getting relatively little coverage – especially in comparison with Libya. Libya has no great strategic importance, though of course foreign forces are involved and the events there are the sort that TV companies...
  • 29th March 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last January, President Assad of Syria talked about reform. Not reform under pressure but reform with "conviction", as he put it. "If you did not see the need for reform before what happened in Egypt and in Tunisia," he said, "it is too late to...
  • 27th March 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    SYRIA More protests, more repression. The NOW Lebanon website, which is monitoring events from Beirut, has the latest blow-by-blow updates. Writing for the Syrian Revolution Digest, Ammar Abdulhamid notes that momentum shifted northwards on Saturday to the coastal city of...
  • 26th March 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The video above shows protesters in Deraa attacking a statue of the former Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad. The scene is highly evocative of Firdous Square in Baghdad, where Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled (with the aid of US troops) in 2003. Indeed, the wobbling statue of Assad...
  • 24th March 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    SYRIA: Security forces opened fire on protesters outside the Omari mosque in Deraa early on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people,according to al-Jazeera. However, the Syrian Revolution Digest, citing activists on the ground, says the number of dead could be 150 or more. Many of...
  • 21st March 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Aside from Libya, which is getting wall-to-wall media coverage, here are some other noteworthy events from the weekend: SYRIA:  In the southern city of Deraa, protesters clashed with security forces on Sunday, for the third day running. Numerous buildings associated with the regime were...
  • 18th March 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Today, for the first time, there have been signs of real stirrings against the regime in Syria.  It's worth recalling that just over a month ago, when a "day of rage" was called by opposition members in exile, the only significant presence on the streets was that of the...

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