THE SYRIA CONFLICT STARTED BY THE ARAB SPRING ?SAUDI ARABIA HAS CALLED ON BASHAR AL ASSAD TO GIVE UP POWER.WHY RUSSIA WON'T REMOVE AL ASSAD FROM POWER?

A map showing the locations of the Arab Spring uprisings, with the date each uprising.

A general view shows pro-governement protesters as they wave Syrian National flags and hold up banners and posters of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in the central Sabe Barat Square in Damascus, Syria, 29 March 2011. Demonstrators shouted pro-Assad slogans. The march, dubbed 'the march of loyalty to the nation', is one of many other demonstrations taking place in almost all Syrian provinces. It was orchestrated.

As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, more than 465,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and over 12 million Syrians - half the country's prewar population - have been displaced from their homes.Which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other - as well as jihadist militants from so-called Islamic State. This is the story of the civil war so far, in eight short chapters. Pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing several, more took to the streets.The unrest triggered nationwide protests demanding President Assad's resignation. The government's use of force to crush the dissent merely hardened the protesters' resolve. By July 2011, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets across the country.The uprising spread throughout the country, demanding Assad's resignation and an end to his authoritarian leadership. Assad only hardened his resolve, and by July 2011 the Syrian uprising had developed into what we know today as the Syrian civil war.


Arab Spring was a failure only if one expected that decades of authoritarian regimes could be easily reversed and replaced with stable democratic systems across the region. It has also disappointed those hoping that the removal of corrupt rulers would translate into an instant improvement in living standards. Chronic instability in countries undergoing political transitions have put additional strain on struggling local economies, and deep divisions have emerged between the Islamists and secular Arabs.The main legacy of the Arab Spring is in smashing the myth of Arabs’ political passivity and the perceived invincibility of arrogant ruling elites. Even in countries that avoided mass unrest, the governments take the quiescence of the people at their own peril.

Arab leaders urged a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria at a landmark summit in Baghdad, marred by stayaways and a mortar attack near the Iranian embassy as the meeting opened.Only nine visiting leaders of the 22-member Arab League turned up for the summit, the first to be held in the Iraqi capital in more than 20 years.

Bashar al-Assad opened fire on and killed several pro-democracy protesters in the southern Syrian city of Deraa. The uprising spread throughout the country, demanding Assad's resignation and an end to his authoritarian leadership. Assad only hardened his resolve, and by July 2011 the Syrian uprising had developed into what we know today as the Syrian civil war.Bashar al-Assad assumed power in 2000 after the death of his father, Hafez, who had ruled Syria since 1971. Assad quickly dashed hopes of reform, as power remained concentrated in the ruling family, and the one-party system left few channels for political dissent, which was repressed. Civil society activism and media freedom were severely curtailed, effectively killing the hopes of political openness for Syrians.The Syrian Baath Party is regarded as the founder of "Arab socialism," an ideological current that merged the state-led economy with Pan-Arab nationalism. By 2000, however, the Baathist ideology was reduced to an empty shell, discredited by lost wars with Israel and a crippled economy. Assad tried to modernize the regime upon taking power by invoking the Chinese model of economic reform, but time was running against him.

Whether it was a license to open a small shop or a car registration, well-placed payments worked wonders in Syria. Those without money and contacts fomented powerful grievances against the state, leading to the uprising. Ironically, the system was corrupt to the extent that anti-Assad rebels bought weapons from government forces and families bribed authorities to release relatives detained during the uprising. Those close to the Assad regime took advantage of the widespread corruption to further their own businesses. Black markets and smuggling rings became the norm, and the regime looked the other way. The middle class were deprived of their income, further fomenting the Syrian uprising.Syria is a majority Sunni Muslim country, and a majority of those initially involved in the Syrian uprising were Sunnis. But the top positions in the security apparatus are in the hands of the Alawite minority, a Shiite religious minority to which the Assad family belongs. These same security forces committed severe violence against the majority Sunni protesters. Most Syrians pride themselves on their tradition of religious tolerance, but many Sunnis still resent the fact that so much power is monopolized by a handful of Alawite families. The combination of a majority Sunni protest movement and an Alawite-dominated military added to the tension and uprising in religiously mixed areas, such as in the city of Homs.

Why Russia won’t remove Assad from power ?The calamitous consequences of the war, more than 12 million displaced and the emergence of terror groups such as ISIL and Jabhat Al Nusra, have so far failed to sway foreign powers to reach a compromise on the Syrian conflict.Moscow would not have much leverage over Assad if the Russian government attempted to persuade him to step down,Assad remaining in power for a transitional period would provide Russia with extra negotiating room.Russia and Iran have become more dependent on Al Assad as the conflict has dragged on, and as the threat posed by ISIL and other extremist groups grows.The continuing support from elites, in addition to the large following he enjoys in regime-held areas, makes any attempt to remove  Al Assad all the more difficult.Assad showed them (Russia, Iran and China), it’s either me or nothing, and that’s been the Assad strategy, that’s why he wipes out all of his liberal opposition and he keeps his most loyal lieutenants divided.

Syrian rebels target Assad as missile toll mounts.At least 100 people were killed across Syrian , among them 58 civilians, 23 soldiers and 19 rebels, said the Observatory, which relies on a network of sour.

At least 28 people were killed when warplanes struck a refugee camp in Syria, the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Syria’s civil war has raged on for six years. The children’s agency says a record number of children were killed in Syria last year.

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