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In the News
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09-12-2011

Syrian President Denies Responsibility for Violence and Political Turmoil, Country Braces for Continued Tumult

During his first interview with American media since the start of the revolution, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed no responsibility for the violence and political turmoil in Syria, reiterating Damascus's official line. President Assad told ABC's Barbara Walters this week that only a "crazy person" would kill his own people and indeed, the violence that has taken hold of Syria must only be attributed to armed gangs and efforts by the Syrian government to quell them. At the same time, Burhan Ghalioun, head of the leading opposition group, the Syrian National Council, made a number of missteps during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, leaving some concerned about the extent of his political acumen. The first week of December was a violent one, with well over 100 people killed amid ongoing turmoil. It came on the heels of the deadliest month thus far in the revolution: over 950 people were reportedly killed across the country during the month of November.

In the News
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02-12-2011

Arab League, Turkey Impose Sanctions Against Syria, UN Terms Crisis "Civil War," Ups Death Toll to "Much More" than 4,000

Damascus's recalcitrance before mounting regional and international pressure to bring an end to country-wide violence prompted both the Arab League and Turkey to impose sanctions against Syria this week. Syria's international isolation has taken on profound dimensions as the beleaguered government fights at all costs to remain at the country's helm. The UN Human Rights Committee has now charged the Syrian government with committing systematic "crimes against humanity" while the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, upped the death toll from the uprising on December 1 to "much more" than 4,000 and declared Syria in a state of "civil war".

In the News
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24-11-2011

UN General Assembly Votes in Favor of Resolution Against Syria, Violence Continues Unabated

Arab League efforts to deploy a pan-Arab observer force to Syria collapsed over the weekend following the League's refusal to accept Damascus's proposed amendments to the protocol. Violence spiked mid-week, with some 28 people killed in security crackdowns and clashes on Tuesday. The same day, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution against Syria condemning "the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities" and calling upon Damascus to "immediately put an end to all human rights violations" and protect Syrian civilians. 

In the News
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18-11-2011

Syria's International Isolation Deepens, Armed Opposition Grows Increasingly Brazen

A move by the Arab League to suspend Syria's membership and related League efforts to unify the Syrian opposition, extended clashes between armed members of the opposition and military forces in Daraa, and an opposition-led assault on Syrian air force intelligence facilities in the capital Damascus, place the last seven days in Syria among the country's most significant and foreboding since the revolution began in March. 

In the News
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11-11-2011

Apparent Collapse of Arab League Peace Deal Amid Continued Violence

Lingering hopes that the Syrian government would implement the peace deal brokered by the Arab League were shattered by unrelenting violence across the country this week. Over 60 people have been killed in crackdowns and clashes since the deal was agreed upon. An address by head of the Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun to the Syrian nation on the eve of Eid al-Adha, however, has left some speculating that a plausible political face of the opposition has been borne from its divided ranks. Nevertheless, the uprising's death toll continues to climb, with the United Nations now estimating that over 3,500 Syrians have perished since the start of the revolution in March.

In the News
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03-11-2011

The Syrian Revolution

The Syrian government agreed on November 1st to a plan by the Arab League to bring an end to the violence that has shaken Syria for the last 7 months. The League's plan, which calls for the immediate withdrawal of military forces from all residential neighborhoods and the release of all individuals detained since March, has been met with considerable skepticism at home and abroad. Indeed, the estimated 20 deaths that have occurred across the country since the 1st, serve as compelling fodder for skeptics. Meanwhile, following one of the bloodiest Friday's in recent weeks wherein some 40 people died amid crackdowns and clashes, The Sunday Telegraph published an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in which the President warned that "any problem in Syria will burn the whole region". 
In the News
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27-10-2011

The Syrian Revolution

This week, protestors in Homs, Daraa and Idlib provinces implemented sweeping strikes on the intensification of security crackdowns against members of the Syrian opposition. The death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi last Friday left many in Syria feeling emboldened to continue taking to the streets. At the same time, the spate of violent attacks against Syrian security and military forces by armed elements of the opposition continued, resulting in a substantial increase in fatalities among government forces. On Monday, the US State Department called back US Ambassador Ford amid concerns of "credible threats to his security". Two days later, senior officials from the Arab League arrived in Damascus to hold talks on ways to bring an end to the crisis that has overtaken Syria for the last 33 weeks. 

In the News
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21-10-2011

The Syrian Revolution

Violence deepened markedly in Syria this week, with clashes between the Syrian armed forces and its defectors igniting in Homs, Daraa, Idlib and Deir ez-Zor. Aiming for a semblance of relevance to Syria's growing woes, the Arab League issued a deadline on October 16 giving the Syrian government 15 days to implement a ceasefire - lest its membership be suspended. The following day, however, ushered in some of the worst violence the country has seen since March 15 - with well over 40 people killed in clashes in a number of locations. At the same time, cross-border raids by Syrian security forces moving into Lebanon and a spate of violent attacks by armed elements of the opposition, are steadily eroding any lingering hopes that Syria's troubles will be resolved in the absence of protracted conflict - and within the country's own borders.

In the News
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14-10-2011

The Syrian Revolution

Syria's security crisis intensified this week with clashes between the military and army defectors reported in Idlib, Homs and the southern province of Daraa. Security crackdowns against unarmed elements of the opposition were also reported in numerous cities and towns, including the capital Damascus. In total, over 60 people were killed in the last seven days of violence. Nevertheless, in a statement during official meetings on October 12, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad charged that "Syria has been able to overcome the hardest stage" of the country's recent tumult, "thanks to its people's awareness". Meanwhile, officials from both Russia and China stepped forward this week to urge the Syrian government to push forward with still unimplemented comprehensive reforms. 

In the News
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07-10-2011

The Syrian Revolution

In the face of growing international and local concerns of Syria's potential slide into civil war, the Syrian National Council announced its official formation on Sunday October 2 in Istanbul, Turkey. With a broad base of support across the country's disparate opposition groups, the Council's formation marks a key development in the Syrian revolution, giving members of the opposition a representative body and the international community an official organization with which to meet. At the same time, hopes for a powerful international response to the violence that has shaken the country for almost seven months were severely dashed on Tuesday October 4, when Russia and China stepped forward to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution against Syria.