Monday, February 8, 2016

The Democratic Origins of the Anti-Assad Revolution

The following Twitter thread from Iyad El Baghdadi notes that in 2011 the Assad regime chose to resort to violence to attack what was initially a peaceful protest movement. Facing a severe wave of continuous violence it should come as no surprise some of these protesters would choose to take up arms. This thread was posted September 5, 2015.
Pro Assad sectarians constantly try to overemphasize the sectarian nature of the war in Syria, to deflect from their favorite tyrant.

The Syrian revolution did not start sectarian, and sectarianism isn't its driving impetus. Sectarianism was imposed upon it much later.

Blaming "everyone" is a cop out. Four years ago Assad assaulted a peaceful revolution and transformed it into a a bloody civil war.

So here in this following thread is a time line of early events in Syria, a reminder that this is foremost about Assad's tyranny.

Don't take my word for any of this. Anything I tweet here, Google it yourselves.

December 2010/January 2011: The Tunisian and then the Egyptian revolutions kick off the Arab Spring. Tunisian dictator ousted.

Late Jan 2011: Syrian youths try to organize protests/revolution for Feb 5 2011 (it doesn't work).

31 Jan 2011: In light of events in Tunisia & Egypt, Bashar al Assad says "it's time for reform" (then does nothing). 

Feb 2, 2011: 20 Syrian youths hold a candlelight vigil for Egypt's revolution. They're attacked & beaten up by thugs.

Feb 11, 2011: Mubarak is ousted in Egypt. Every Arab tyrant's freak out level goes to "extreme", Bashar included.

Feb 15, 2011: Teenage blogger Tal al Mallouhi sentenced to 5 years in prison for "espionage" in closed hearing.

Feb 17, 2011: Small protest in Damascus protesting police brutality and corruption. Look at the numbers.

Feb 20, 2011: Blogger Ahmad Abulkheir arrested for praising Tunisian revolution and posting anti-censorship information. 

Feb 23, 2011: Rally in solidarity with the Libyan revolution is violently dispersed.

Mar 6, 2011: Libyan rebels shoot down two Gaddafi fighter jets. Pilots reported to have had Syrian passports.

Mar 15, 2011: "Official" start of the revolution. Pre-planned rallies across #Syria: Damascus, Aleppo, Daraa, Homs, Banyas.

Mar 18, 2011: Violent clamp down leads protests to spread & escalate across Syria - actual start date of the revolution.

Mar 20, 2011: Baath party headquarters in Daraa torched. Protests spread and intensify.

Mar 22, 2011: Tense stand off at Omari mosque in Daraa. Eventually 12 demonstrators die and 200 are injured.

Mar 23, 2011: Regime already describes peaceful protests (referred to as a "case") as a foreign conspiracy carried out by Alqaeda. 

Mar 25, 2011: First "Friday protest". Daraa, Damascus, Douma, Homs, Hama, Jableh. This one's from Latakia:  

Mar 30, 2011: Assad gives a speech to his parliament. Talks about emergency law and allowing multiple parties. Clamp down goes on. 

Mar 31, 2011: Assad forms a "committee" to study lifting emergency law, which has been in effect since 1962.

Early April 2011: Protests continue across #Syria. Peaceful, met with force by the regime. Here's one from Homs:

April 7, 2011: Kurds protest in Qamishli despite offer of citizenship by Assad.

April 8, 2011: 23 reported dead after live gunfire used against protests in Daraa. Largest demonstrations so far.

April 12, 2011: Regime starts a military operation in city of Banias after these demonstrations:

April 22, 2011: Protests reach Midan in the heart of Damascus. Overall death toll on this day 80+. #Syria

April 25, 2011: Full scale military operation by Assad's army in Daraa. Rumors of defections. City is blockaded.

May & June 2011: Daily unarmed protest across #Syria calling upon Bashar to leave. Security clamp down continues.

9 June 2011: Lt. Col. Harmoush among first confirmed defections. Video says him & others will "protect the peaceful protests"

Mid June 2011: Regime in full scale military operation in the north after defections. Revolution begins to adopt the pre-Baath flag.

July 8, 2011: Body of Ibrahim Qashoush, who wrote chants for the protests, found dumped in river. Larynx ripped out.

July 19, 2011: Demonstrators have not backed down anywhere in #Syria. Tanks deployed against protesters in Homs.

July 29, 2011: The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is declared.

That was my brief #Syria early timeline, from start to the declaration of the FSA. Now don't tell me this was a Jihadist revolution.

The Syrian catastrophe was very preventable, if the world's red line was "killing protesters" rather than "drowned refugee toddlers".

And yes, they still want their liberty. Caption: "2011//12/13/14/15... and we still want our liberty". Aleppo. 

And no, I don't expect any Assad apologists to agree. At the most they'll say he "made mistakes" (killing people is just that, a "mistake").
A more detailed account of how this peaceful protest movement was violently attacked by the Assad regime may be found in the recently released book, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami.

Tragically the Syrian people continue to suffer from the catastrophe imposed upon them by the Assad regime's campaign of violence and repression. A recent UN report noted that the Assad regime's treatment of prisoners may amount to extermination.

In recent days many Syrians have fled for their lives from Aleppo in the wake of severe bombardment and advances by the Assad regime. This will further contribute to the ongoing refugee crisis.

The Syrian people deserve to live in peace and safety. It is just so terrible.

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