Bahcesehir University Graduate School of Social Sciences
MBA, Full Time Accelerated
Full-time (1 year)
Aviv University Recanati School of Business Management
Sofaer International MBA Program
Ramat Aviv, Israel
Full-time (1 year)
de Empresa IE Business School
MBA with Effat University
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Full-time (1 year)
The Syria uprising 2011–2012
Designation of the first phase of the civil war, and the subsequent internationalized war in Syria, which started with a political uprising against the incumbent Baath regime and President Bashar al-Assad, in 2011. Spring and summer 2012 increased this in scope, with sustained military action between rebel forces and government forces.
The start of the uprising consisted of demands for political change, promoted in demonstrations aimed at the authorities. These were met with violence from the regime, and parts of the opposition responded with violence, and the rebellion developed into civil war. A more nuanced and partly alternative view is that the rebels planned the use of force to force a military confrontation.
Start the rebellion
The start of the uprising is often attributed to March 2011, after several scattered demonstrations in January-February. Then support for the rebels in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia was supplemented with demands for reform also in Syria.
A similar incident that triggered the rebellion in Tunisia, when Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself and started the Arab Spring, also took place in Syria: Hasan Ali Akleh lit himself in al-Hasakah in January 2011. There was no riot, in contrast to the security police's appearance in Deraa in March:
When children were arrested for writing slogans against the regime, it led to protests in several cities the following week, including in the capital Damascus. The protests then increased. Security forces intervened, with several killed and wounded as a result, including in Deraa. The city of southern Syria became such a center and symbol of the uprising in Syria. This became progressively more violent, with weapons use in several cities. Several thousand protesters were arrested and extensive use of torture was documented.
Development of the rebellion
From 2012, the uprising developed into a civil war in virtually the entire country. It was internationalized early, with a smooth transition from civil war to regional war. The conflict thus became a war with deputies, fought over matters that had little or nothing to do with purely Syrian issues.
The protests led to the government being ousted and political reforms suggested. In his first speech after the uprising, President Assad struck the tone that has dominated the regime's posture since: that foreign forces were behind, to destabilize Syria, and that jihadists wanted to establish an Islamic state in the country.
The opponents of the Baath regime were initially weak, and remained poorly organized. In September 2011, the Syrian National Council (Syrian National Council, SNC) formed as a collective representation, especially to the outside world. Following pressure from foreign supporters, the National Coalition for Democratic and Revolutionary Forces in Syria (Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, SNCORF) was established as a wider umbrella organization in November 2012.
The uprising was militarized especially through the regime's increased use of force; first with the use of security forces, then with heavy weapons departments. The opposition was armed early, but consisted of a number of smaller, local groups without much impact. The opposition has been politically fragmented and militarily uncoordinated. The only thing that gathered it was the struggle to remove the regime. Foreign players, with their own agendas in the region, supported various groups. This helped to split the opposition, although foreign players tried to gather it early, including through the Friends of Syria group. In reality, most rebel groups were affiliated with, and partially taken over by, Islamists. Several of them also fought each other militarily. Thus, a credible alternative to the regime has not been established.
The foreign support, especially from the Gulf states, partly underpins what President Assad initially claimed: that the conflict was an attack on the Syrian state by foreign criminals and Islamists.
The war has been between irregular actors: the government's established apparatus of violence with police forces and military departments, against insurgents who consisted of a loosely organized and inadequately equipped military force. This consisted of a number of militia groups without a common central command. An early turning point in organizing the resistance was the establishment of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in July 2011. It consisted of a number of militias with goals of regime change, but without a common political platform. With foreign aid, the FSA tried to coordinate and strengthen military resistance, but failed to create a common structure and coordinated resistance, and gained little significance.
The conflict developed in the spring of 2012 into a civil war, with.math fighting in several major cities, including the capital Damascus, and even more in the largest city, Aleppo. The war spread in 2012 to virtually the entire country. While government forces retained control of Damascus, rebels took control, in whole or in part, of other cities. Both here and in the countryside, the government and insurgents changed their control.
From 2013, the situation was changed by radical Islamists, in particular al-Qaeda through its depositor Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) and the Islamic State (IS), took control of larger areas.
When the government came on the offensive in the spring of 2013, it was partly through the assistance of the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah, which in turn was supported by Iran. This also meant a clearer shift from a pure civil war to a regional conflict, and then an internationalized war. The intervention of Iran, partly through the support of Hezbollah and partly in the form of its own military advisers in Syria, led Israel to enter the war.
A both internally Syrian and regional side of the uprising, and the subsequent war, in Syria that the Kurdish question. Also in Syria (as in Iraq, Iran and Turkey), a significant Kurdish minority has been denied full civil rights. The Kurdish groups stayed away from the uprising for a long time, and were involved in the military first and foremost in the ensuing struggle against the Islamists, especially the Islamic State (IS). In the northern part of Syria, the Kurds established a self-governing area: Rojava.
With increasing political, economic and military support from regional
actors, the uprising in Syria from 2012 gradually changed character: first from
political uprising to military civil war. Then, and especially with the
Islamists increasing activity from 2013–2014, Syria - in addition to the civil
war - also became the scene of an international fight against terrorism. Second,
with the interference of Iran and Turkey, and even more so with Russia's entry
into the civil war on the Syrian regime in 2015, the original Syrian conflict
became even more evident as an international conflict.