The seige in Damascus
- Spot-fixing: Petition in SC seeks stay on IPL matches, demands SIT probe
- India, China call for end to incursion issue, sign 8 deals to boost ties
- Sanjay Dutt spends restless nights as officials yet to decide on his jail
- Aarushi murder case: Rajesh Talwar claims he was asleep when killings took place
- Yahoo! says will acquire Tumblr for $1.1 bn, eyes billion visitors mark
The prospect of a political solution to the Syrian conflict remains remote
The Syrian crisis is threatening to spin out of control and has ramifications for the entire region. The insurgency and repression, virulent since July 2012, has acquired the dimensions of a civil war. It has taken a heavy toll on human life, with large-scale internal displacement of people and several lakh cross-border refugees fleeing to the neighbouring states of Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon.
The Syrian uprising began on a relatively modest scale. There was an uprising in the Sunni-dominated southern town of Deraa in March 2011 against the Bashar al-Assad regime. The Assads belong to a minority community of Alawis, the majority being Sunni Muslims. The Syrian government dealt with the protest in Deraa firmly, but as the Sunni-dominated unrest spread to other areas, the army entered Baniyas, Hama, Homs, Talkalakh, Latakia. After repression and arrests, the Syrian government announced a slew of political concessions, accommodating most of the initial demands of the protesters. This could have been the basis of a political dialogue. However, it wasn't to be, with postures hardening on both sides, increasing militarisation and a complex situation made more complicated by the intervention of powerful regional and global players.
Turkey became increasingly critical of Assad and an open supporter of the Syrian opposition, with the Syrian National Council (SNC), a civilian umbrella organisation of seven opposition groups, being set up in Istanbul in August 2011. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) was also set up in Turkey. Relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria, frosty at the best of times, deteriorated sharply, and the former was one of the first in the region to condemn the Assad regime. Apart from championing the cause of the Sunni majority in Syria, the Saudis also wanted to curb the influence of regional rival Iran. It took the lead in rallying the Gulf countries and other Arab states to the cause, successfully isolated Syria in the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Countries, and joined Western powers in the UN in pressing for tougher sanctions against Syria.
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held
- Rajasthan Royals to file FIR against tainted trio
- If found guilty, BCCI to ask ICC to erase Sreesanth records
- Top cops among 42 named in death of blast accused
- Manmohan-Li talks: PM takes tough line on incursion issue
- Security forces blame Maoists, villagers say CoBRA man was killed in 'friendly fire'