Syria. According to
CountryAAH, the total population in Syria is 17,500,669 people in 2020.
About 700 Syrian intellectuals signed a petition
in February, demanded that the state of emergency introduced
over 40 years ago be abolished, that all political prisoners
should be released and that Syrians forced into exile would
be allowed to return. The initiative for the call came from
a group called the Committees for the Defense of Democratic
Freedoms and Human Rights. The group's leader Akhtam Naisse
was arrested on April 13 and accused of "disseminating false
information and planning a revolution".
A total of about 270 political prisoners were reported to
have been released at various times during the year since
being pardoned by President Bashar al-Asad. Among those
released were Islamists and members of the banned Iraqi Bath
Party. In prison there were more than 600 political
prisoners in December.
At least 30 people were killed in mid-March in riots in
the country's northeastern, Kurdish parts. The violence
began in connection with a football match on March 12
between a Kurdish and an Arab team in the city of Qamishli
but soon spread to other nearby cities. According to Kurdish
sources, hundreds of Kurds were arrested on March 15 in
The United States imposed a trade embargo on May 11 that
banned almost all US exports to Syria. The embargo was a
reaction that, according to the United States, Syria
supports terrorism and attempts to develop weapons of mass
destruction. On 2 September, the UN Security Council adopted
a resolution calling for "foreign forces", ie. Syria, would
As the first Syrian head of state, al-Asad visited
neighboring Turkey on January 6-7. He and his Turkish
colleague Ahmet Necdet Sezer talked about his shared
interest in preventing the Kurds in Iraq from establishing
Spurred by the rebellions in Tunisia and Egyptin
January-February 2011, demonstrations also erupted in Syria.
The demonstrations centered in Daraa, southern Syria, where
the Muslim Brotherhood stood strong. The fraternity had not
forgotten the massacre of 1982 that cost 10-25,000 people
their lives. The Syrian regime reacted staggeringly to the
protests. In the first few months it showed some kindness.
On March 22, the governor of Daraa was fired, and on March
29, the entire government was fired. A government led by
Adel Safar was launched in April and at the end of the month
it abolished the hated exemption legislation that had
otherwise been in force since 1982. However, the US and
European colonial states saw an opportunity to overthrow the
government of Damascus and step up the pressure. In May, the
United States and the EU passed sanctions on Syria. Both had
launched a conquest war against Libya two months earlier
under the auspices of a UN Security Council resolution, but
Russia and China blocked a similar sanction against Syria,
as both major powers acknowledged that the West's purpose
was conquest. Consequently, the conflict in Syria was
expanded without open Western military intervention.
Syrian society was gradually divided religiously and
economically. The Baath regime is predominantly based on the
Alawit sect, which has given the country's Sunni majority a
secondary political function. The regime therefore has full
support from the Alawites, but also from the Christian
minority, who fear being subjected to ethnic cleansing, as
happened in Iraq after the US conquest of the country. (Half
of Iraq's Christians chose to flee after the US occupation).
At the same time, the country's economic elite - largely
Sunnis - are backing the regime in recognition that it will
pay dearly for a civil war.
Encouraged by the United States, the EU and the monstrous
dictatorships in the Gulf states, the uprising spread to
most parts of Syria. CIA smuggling weapons to the rebels.
Initially from Lebanon, which caused the Syrian army to mine
the border, and in the second place from Turkey and Jordan.
Already from May, there was no longer a peaceful uprising
but an armed uprising, and the Syrian government again
responded with a corresponding escalation of the violence.
In June, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) entered the public for
the first time through direct attacks on the Syrian
military. The Free Syrian Army is comprised mostly of Sunni
deserters from the Syrian army who do not want to
participate in military attacks on protesters. It is
financed, among other things. of the emir of Qatarand
trained by military experts from the United Kingdom and the
United States. It has bases and training facilities in
northern Jordan at the border with Syria and Turkey.
Turkey's situation is special because it already fights an
internal Kurdish rebellion and accuses Iraqi Kurdistan of
harboring rebels, while at the same time supporting the
military rebellion in Syria itself.
Following the conquest of Libya in October, the United
States and the EU turned their attention to Syria. In
November, conservative Gulf states succeeded in getting
secular Syria out of the Arab League, and both Turkey and
Jordan declared support for the uprising.
The conflict in Syria is increasingly taking on religious
and economic dimensions, and is no longer merely a conflict
between the country's military and security forces on the
one hand and civilians and the "Free Syrian Army" on the
other. Across the country, violent confrontations between
the religious groups and national unity are disintegrating,
just as the US in Iraq managed to destroy the national
cohesion following the conquest in 2003. In December, Iraqi
Sunnis began to interfere in the conflict in Syria when
Iraqi al-Qaeda conducted coordinated suicide bombings in
Damascus. 44 were killed and 166 wounded. Two weeks later,
al-Qaeda carried out a new terrorist operation in Damascus.
This time aimed at a police bus. At least 11 were killed.
The terror in many sectors increased support for the Assad
French journalist Gilles Jacquier was killed in the city
of Homs in January 2012 when a mortar fired by opponents of
the Assad regime broke down in an Alawi demonstration in an
Alawite district. In addition to Jacquier, 8 Syrians were
killed. The journalist took part in a tour of the country
organized by the regime and became a random victim of
domestic violence. At the same time, the killing
demonstrated that the violence does not just stem from the
Assad regime, but that the opposition also uses violent and
random methods. Homs, with its varied ethnic and religious
composition, has become, to a particular degree, the center
of the violent conflict between the warring groups.
In February 2012, a referendum was held on a new
constitution. The most important changes to the constitution
were Baath's status and the abolition of the planning
economy. The Baath party should no longer formally have a
monopoly on political power in the country. New parties
could be created, but they did not have to be based on
ethnic, religious, regional or tribal affiliation. New
parties must be approved by the state - as in Denmark - to
be eligible for election. The planning economy was abolished
and the country's economic base should henceforth be based
on both the public and private sectors. The turnout was
officially 57.4% and 89.4% voted in favor of the new