May 3, 2012

Assad Resorts to Sectarian Card

Jackson Diehl, World Affairs Journal

AP Photo

On March 6, 2011, a group of fifteen schoolboys in the southern Syrian town of Daraa were arrested by local security forces. Aged ten to fifteen, the boys were caught spray-painting the slogan “As Shaab Yoreed Eskaat el nizam!”—“The people want to topple the regime!” They had taken the words from satellite television coverage of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

The boys’ parents were members of Daraa’s most prominent families: Sunni tribesmen from the Haroun plains, which run from the Golan Heights along the Jordanian border. Their captor was Atef Najib, the head of local security, a first cousin of President Bashar al-Assad and a member of his minority Alawite sect. When the families approached him with a local Sunni sheikh, seeking the release of the...

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TAGGED: Syria, Bashar Assad


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