Dueling Rallies on Syria Anniversary

Both Sides Mark One Year Since Initial Protests Began

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.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.