News / Middle East

    Syria's Uprising Enters Third Year

    Syria's Uprising Enters Third Yeari
    X
    March 14, 2013 7:36 PM
    The uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is moving into its third year, growing increasingly violent and becoming an ever bigger concern for Syria's neighbors and the world. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports.
    The uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is moving into its third year, growing increasingly violent and becoming an ever bigger concern for Syria's neighbors and the world.

    What began as a series of small, spirited demonstrations has turned into an unrelenting fight pitting armed rebels and jihadists against a government that analysts say seems desperate at times.

    “The Assad regime continues to think that it is winning. It continues to think that it will survive. And, unless and until it can be persuaded that it faces the possibility of defeat, I’m not sure that we are going to find it willing to enter any kind of serious negotiating process,” said Middle East analyst Steven Heydemann, who works at the United States Institute of Peace.

    The United Nations estimates 70,000 people have been killed. One million-plus Syrians are refugees.

    The conflict threatens to widen.

    Violence has been spilling over Syria's borders. There have been gun fights in Lebanon, skirmishes in Iraq and rockets falling in Turkey.

    And Western officials are accusing Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon of funneling arms to the Syrian government.

    Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, said, “They have doubled-down. They are providing more relief, more aid to this regime.”

    Shaikh said the repercussions of a budding regional war may grow, and that Syria in turmoil may make it more difficult for the West to deal with Iran as it pursues its nuclear ambitions.

    And then there's Israel, which increasingly is concerned about rebel activity along the border, including the recent hostage-taking of U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan.

    For now, Western powers are continuing to push for a political solution in Syria, funneling more non-lethal aid to the opposition.

    Still, the special U.N. envoy has warned again that what began as a small uprising now is among the most dangerous crises in the world.

    "It is either peaceful, consensual, political solution, or the situation will be similar to or even worse than Somalia," said Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N./Arab League special envoy for Syria.

    Such warnings likely are of little comfort to Syrians, who are wondering if and when the violence will come to an end.

    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: John Hickman from: USA
    March 14, 2013 8:33 PM
    What did Jeff Seldin intend when he deployed the phrase "armed rebels and jihadists"? Surely all those Sunni Islamist jihadists who are being financed by Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States are armed to the teeth. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to do what they are doing: most of the fighting to overthrow the govenment of Syria. Also, why didn't Seldin quote anyone opposed to the overthrow of that government?

    by: Anonymous
    March 14, 2013 6:39 PM
    The International Criminal Court should of stepped in and arrested Bashar al Assad for the murder of thousands of innocent civilians long ago. It is Bashar al Assad who has killed the majority of civilians in Syria. Had the ICC intervened long ago this war would not still be happening. Bashar will never escape justice for his crimes at this point. So many innocent people he killed, and the remaining family members would like justice to be served.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora