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The anti-regime demonstrations in Syria began in Damascus about two years ago. During that spring, they spread across the country. By May, thousands of students were demonstrating in the streets of Aleppo, protesting against the regime’s violence against its own population in many other Syrian cities. Reem “Hala” – which is one of her aliases as an activist – is just above 20 years of age and was there when it began.

– We started a women’s organization for planning and organizing demonstrations. But when weapons started to appear in Aleppo we couldn’t participate in the same way. But we still wanted to contribute to the revolution, says Reem “Hala”.

Reem “’Hala” entered the journalist section of her organization. Since then she hasDe regimkritiska demonstrationerna i Syrien började i Damaskus för snart två år sedan och under våren spred de sig genom landet. I maj var tusentals studenter ute på gatorna i Aleppo, i protest mot det militära våld som regimen släppt loss mot befolkningen i flera andra städer. Reem ”Hala” – som är ett av de falska namn hon använder som aktivist – är strax över 20 år, studerar vid Aleppos universitet och var med när det började.

– Vi startade en organisation för kvinnor och planerade och arrangerade demonstrationer. När vapnen kom in Aleppo kunde vi inte delta på samma sätt. Men vi ville ändå bidra till revolutionen.

Reem ”Hala” gick med i den journalistiska delen av organisationen. Sedan dess har hon bevakat och spridit nyheter om regimens våld både genom radio och en nystartad tidning. Det är ett arbete som innebär stora risker. Förra våren blev hon skottskadad medan hon bevakade en demonstration.

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.

Read the new report Unify all efforts.

Here you can read the publication “Divided They Stand – An Overview of Syria’s Political Opposition Factions” that is the most detailed description of the Syrian opposition to this date.

Published: 2013-04-26

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