If the Syrian government is to be believed, the protests sweeping the country are the work of “foreign conspirators” and amount to an armed insurrection by Salafists, members of a hardline, puritanical Islamic movement.
But analysts and activists Al Jazeera have spoken to disagree with the government claim. They say anger and frustration with the regime in Damascus are fuelling the uprising, rather than religious beliefs or affiliations.
“In my view, they’re just ordinary people seeking freedom, it’s not organised,” Marwan Kabalan, a professor of political science at Damascus University, said.
“It’s like the situation in Egypt and Tunisia – people with grievances, economic and political, who are fed up with the situation. They don’t find job opportunities or opportunities to express themselves freely.”
“Protesters are chanting different slogans because different groups have different demands. But they all agree on the minimum demands, such as more freedom and an end to corruption. No Syrian can disagree on that but many don’t believe toppling the regime is feasible, because of fear of civil unrest and conflict.” Read more