Dueling Rallies on Syria Anniversary

Both Sides Mark One Year Since Initial Protests Began

by Jason Ditz, March 15, 2012

Pro-regime and pro-rebel marches massed today in Syria to commemorate the one year anniversary of the beginning of the anti-Assad protest movement. Thousands of Assad supporters marched in Damascus to celebrate his continued rule.

The first protests started in the town of Daraa in mid-March of 2011, and violent moves against the protesters quickly swelled their numbers, eventually creating a major nationwide movement calling for reform.

The opposition looks quite different one year later, as peaceful protests have mostly been replaced with Western-backed armed factions and al-Qaeda fighters, loudly spurning UN efforts to negotiate a settlement.

Where things will go from here is anyone’s guess, but there seems to be at least some international support for a negotiated settlement, and the calls for invasion, once dominant on the international scene, at least now have a counterpoint.

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