Fact File: Syria

 

As one of Israel’s staunchest opponents in the Middle East, Syria has long held a difficult position internationally. Following the government’s repressive response to 2011’s pro-democracy demonstrations, the nation has become increasingly isolated.

President Bashar-al-Assad’s concession to lift the 48-year state of emergency in April 2011, initially a key demand of the protesters, came too late to restore order, as focus shifted to ousting the President. Amid continued brutality, thousands of Syrians fled to refugee camps across the Turkish border and in November the Arab League voted to suspend Syria.

In contrast to the swift military action taken against the Libyan authorities, the international community has shown reluctance to intervene in Syria. The UN resolution to end the violence was vetoed by Russia and China, and the promise of ceasefire secured by Kofi Annan now rings hollow.

Attention was briefly diverted to the president’s London-born wife when leaked emails revealed she had been shopping while Syria burned. Meanwhile Russia continues to urge peace through occasionally eccentric means.

The Numbers

9000 – Estimated number of people killed in the year following the uprising. Source: Reuters

£2,650 – Price-tag of a vase Asma al-Assad ordered from Harrods in June 2011. Source: The Guardian

24,324 – Number of Syrian refugees in Turkey in April 2012. Source: The Daily Beast

$4.7bn – Value of Russian arms deals with Syria, as of 2010. Source: The New York Times

Further Reading

Freedom, democracy and human rights in Syria, Robert Fisk, The Independent, 2010

Neighbours from hell: how Syria’s war hit an Acton street, Rob Hastings, The Independent, 2012

The Only Remaining Online Copy of Vogue’s Asma al-Assad Profile, Max Fisher, the Atlantic, 2012

Q&A: Nir Rosen’s predictions for Syria, Nir Rosen, Al Jazeera, 2012

Why Don’t We Care About Syria? Emily Parker, Slate, 2012

Timeline

1946 – Syria gains its independence from France

1963 – Baath party takes control

1982 – Government crushes an uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama, killing tens of thousands

2000 – Bashar al-Assad is appointed leader of the Ba’ath Party and elected president unopposed

March 2011 – Thousands march in Syria, demanding an end to 48 years of emergency law

Nov 2011 – The Arab League votes to impose economic sanctions on Syria

February 2012 – Russia and China veto a UN security council resolution calling for President Assad to step down

March 2012 - Acting as joint UN-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan meets with President Assad to propose a cease-fire

May 2012 - 108 people, many of them children, are massacred by the Syrian regime army in Houla. Several nations, including the UK, respond by expelling Syrian diplomats

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat