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In the News
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12-01-2012

Resolute Syrian President to Use 'Iron Fist', Debate Over International Intervention Propels Disunity Among Opposition

On Tuesday, January 10 during an address at Damascus University, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad highlighted ongoing government reforms and vowed to continue the government's fight against terrorism and international conspirators. For its part, the Arab League observer mission in Syria has already been deemed a failure; violence has heavily intensified with over 400 killed since the first of its members arrived in country two weeks ago. At the same time, fuel and heating oil shortages, as well as a growing dearth of affordable food stuffs, are posing serious challenges to nearly all. 

In the News
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05-01-2012

Weekly posts in the Syria News Blog will resume next Thursday, January 12, 2012. Thank you for your patience. 

In the News
 | 
29-12-2011

The Syrian Revolution Becomes Internationalized 

The crisis in Syria was officially internationalized when members of the Arab League's observer force arrived in Syria last Thursday. The following day, two car bombs exploded in front of state security offices in Kfar Sousa, Damascus, killing 44 and injuring another 100. The issue of who was responsible for the attack remains in dispute. Three days later, a second group of Arab League monitors arrived in Syria as violence in the central city of Homs intensified. Charged with monitoring the Syrian government's implementation of the Arab League's peace plan, the monitors have thus far been met with mixed emotions and varying levels of violence and disorder. 

In the News
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22-12-2011

Russia presents UNSC draft resolution, Damascus agrees to Arab League observer force, violence surges in Idlib, Homs, Daraa

In a surprise move, Russia presented the United Nations Security Council with a draft resolution on the Syria case one week ago today. Though the move was welcomed by Council members, many deemed the draft weak and insufficient. Just days later, a delegation from Iraq arrived in Syria to push Damascus to implement the Arab League's peace plan - a visit deemed "positive" by the delegation's leader Iraqi National Security adviser Falah al-Fayadh. Indeed, after weeks of negotiation, the Syrian government agreed on Monday to allow the League's international observer force into the country for one month beginning today, 22 December. At the same time, however, the country was shaken by the worst violence seen in some ten months of tumult, with some estimates putting the death toll from 48 hours of security crackdowns as high as 250.
 
In the News
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15-12-2011

Ninth Month of Syrian Revolution Ends, UN Raises Death Toll to Over 5,000

Today marks the end of the Syrian revolution's ninth month and nonviolent civil disobedience and activism among members of the opposition continue to rise, irregardless of the Syrian government's intensifying use of lethal force against its detractors. At the same time, the ranks of the Free Syrian Army, the armed element of the uprising, are slowly swelling, fueling concerns that the power of violence will soon overwhelm that of peaceful resistance. For their part, major players in the international community, Turkey, France, and the US among them, appear to be edging toward recanting their noninterventionist views on Syria's crisis, thereby ratcheting up fears that foreign military intervention in Syria is indeed on the table. 

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.