by Abdelhafidh Abdeleli, swissinfo.ch
The protests and subsequent government crackdown are dividing opinion among Syrians watching events unfold from Switzerland.
While some Syrians feel the protests are a consequence of the Arab Spring sweeping through North Africa, others say wider diplomatic forces are at work.
Although all the Syrians who spoke to swissinfo.ch acknowledged that Syria needed reforms, they had different views on how to achieve change, how extensive it should be and who is responsible for recent violence in the country.
Human rights groups say around 1,000 people have been killed since protests began in mid-March.
Raymond Arbash, a Swiss citizen of Syrian origin living in Fribourg, is convinced there is “a conspiracy directed at the country because of policies that do not appeal to western countries and Israel, their ally in the region”.