Syrian government (Baath)

Ordinary people


New civil war


Middle East Wars



Syria is an Arabic-speaking dictatorship whose people have been (from April 2011) demonstrating against the government, demanding democracy. In return the government of Bashar Assad, son of the founding Dictator, Hafiz Assad, has responded with attacks by troops . By June 2011 he was reported to be using Iranian troops, possibly from the fanatical section of Iranian forces, the Republican Guard, willing to kill Sunnis - the majority in Syria.

By October 2011 the attacks on demonstrators have become more brutal. There are reports of many people being arrested, tortured and killed by the "Security Forces".

Following the death of Gaddafi in Libya (20/10/11) many people are hopeful that Bashar may go the same way.

There are signs that a rebel provisional government - Syrian National Council - is being formed to provide an alternative to the long-lasting dictatorship of the Ba'ath party.

By mid November there were signs that deserting soldiers from the official army were beginning to form an opposition army - Free Syrian Army - and claimed to have hit targets of the government. Al Jazeerah has suggested they were receiving arms from Qatar (which had also armed the rebels in Libya).

By February 2012 the government troops are shelling the city of Homs with artillery, destroying many houses in the rebel held areas. Clearly, this is an escalation in the war. Russia and China have voted against a resolution censuring the Assad regime. Russia has a naval base in the Mediterranean and is still selling arms to the regime.

There are said to be many desertions from the official army, forming a Free Syria Army. The war is getting more and more brutal as time passes.

In June 2012 Syrian forces shot down a Turkish fighter plane over the Mediterranean. Turkey announced it was moving up anti-aircraft forces. The fighting between rebel forces and government troops was escalating.

Important members of the regime have been escaping the country and announcing their support for the rebels.

18 July 2012 sees escalation of the fighting in Damascus (Esh Sham) and the assassination by a suicide bomber of key members of the regime inside a security HQ.

By the end of July 2012 the fighting had spread to Aleppo, the largest city and the main commercial center. Thousands of refugees have left the city, mainly for Lebanon and Turkey.

What is the likely end of this crisis? Surely, the regime must come to an end. Will any of them be tried at the International Criminal Court or will they be killed like Muarmmar Gaddafi in Libya?

Could the rebels develop a peaceful democratic regime? Unlike Libya there are many cultural communities including Christians - probably allied with the regime; Sunnis - the majority of the population; Druze. One danger might be that when the Assad Baath regime is removed the various communities may not have enough fellow feeling to cooperate.

It is by no means clear that Bashar Assad is the real dictator. Possibly his brother Maher is the one in charge of the atrocities.

Last revised 31/07/12


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