DUBAI, 28 September 2011 (IRIN) – Thousands of people in Syria have been killed, injured, displaced or detained in a series of protests against the Syrian government since mid-March which have been ruthlessly quelled by the government. How is this uprising different and where are we now?
Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, Syria is composed of a complicated mix of sects and minority groups. Its ruling elite belongs to the minority Alawi branch of Shia Islam, while most of the population are Sunni Arab Muslims. It is also home to Kurds, Christians, Druze and other Shias.
Whereas what happens in Libya may have relatively little political spillover in the Arab world, much more is at stake in Syria in which numerous foreign entities – from Hezbollah to the USA – stand to be affected.
The crackdown has been more brutal than in Egypt and Tunisia. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says security services have killed more than 2,700 people, using tactics that may amount to crimes against humanity.