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In July 2012, two important members of the regime in Syria defected: Bashar al-Assad's personal friend Manaf Tlass, head of a brigade that caters to presidential security, and Nawwaf al-Fares, the Syrian ambassador to Iraq and an influential tribal leader in the Syrian east.

These are the most important defections from the Syrian dictatorship so far. In the report “Friends no more – Implications of the Tlass and Fares defections from the Syrian regime”, The Middle East expert Aron Lund analyzes the meaning of these defections and their possible future consequences.

The Syrian opposition gathers more and more people that with great courage protest against the regime and its violence and brutality. At the same time, the opposition is fragmented. The lack of unity within the Syrian opposition is often assessed as one of the reasons to why al-Assad has been able to keep his position.

The Olof Palme International Center has a long tradition of supporting democracy movements around the world. In October last year, approximately 100 representatives from the Syrian opposition met at the conference Unify all efforts, outside of Stockholm, to discuss methods to unite their efforts for democracy in Syria. It was leading representatives from a large range of different opposition parties, ethnic and religious organizations, as well as writers, university teachers, actors and bloggers. The conference was carried out with the support of the Olof Palme International Center.

Disagreements emerged during the conference, but some clear common standpoints crystallized. The participants were also in agreement about that the conference had taken important steps forward. You can read more about the conference below.

The Olof Palme International Center is continuing its support to the Syrian opposition. If you want to support our work, your donation is welcome to Swedish plusgiro 570-2. Mark the counterfoil with Syria.

Published: 2012-07-13

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