The Problems Faced By Syria After Arab Spring And Possible Solutions


The topic of research “Syria after Arab spring” is mainly based on problems in Syria and their possible solutions. An analysis from independence of Syria with the glimpse of Hafiz al- Assad regime and his death, rise of an unexpected successor Bashar al-Assad and his cruel policies a challenge for Syrian people. The beginning of Syrian uprising inspired by Arab spring started with peaceful protests and it got spark when school boys wrote against president and were captured by security forces and were tortured here the peaceful protests turned into violent protests. Situations became more badly when these protestors were attacked by Syrian security forces that resulted in civil war and an endless conflict with complete human rights violation. The research is not over here as civil war changed into proxy war and regional and international countries involved including Iran, turkey, Saudi Arab, USA and Russia. At the end the research provides a possible solution.


Syrian Arab republic a country in Middle East region located in Asian continent. It covers land area 183,360 and water area 1550, Syria’s population 17,185,170. Syria was part of Ottoman Empire soon after World War II Empire dissolved and France took control over it. In 1994 Syrian government took control on 14 administrative departments which were under control of France. In same year Soviet Union and USA recognized Syria as independent state. Allied nations pressurized France to evacuate Syria. In March the nation became a charter member of the United Nations (UN), an indication of its sovereign status. In May 1945, demonstrations occurred in Damascus and Aleppo and, for the third time in 20 years, the French bombed and machine-gunned the ancient capital. Serious fighting broke out in Homs and Hamah as well. A UN resolution in February 1946 called on France to evacuate. The French acceded and, by April 15, 1946, all French troops were off Syrian soil. On April 17 Syria celebrated Evacuation Day. The form of government in Syria is presidential and capital city is Damascus.

Syria After Independence

After independence Syria got unstable by the different ethnic groups competing for their dominancy. Aleppines challenged with Damascenes for predominance in business and political life; the Druzes vowed loyalty to Druzes, the Kurds to Kurds, and inborn people groups to ancestral establishments. Alawis, the most unfortunate yet biggest of the minorities, attempted to revolt from Sunni Muslim control. Rural pioneers battled with urban pioneers; the dynamic, progressively secularized, more youthful age competed with the more seasoned, religious-disapproved of pioneers. Legislators contrasted over the sort of government Syria ought to have government or republic, parliamentary or presidential majority rule government. In year 1947 Michel Alfaq and salah-al-din al-bitar founded the Arab socialist Baath party. Syria started its completely free life as a parliamentary vote based system, however inside months the military led the pack, arranging a progression of overthrows and using power in collaboration with a political and financial tip top containing few land-owning and trader families, most situated in Damascus, Aleppo, and Homs. Different coups and prime ministers were overthrown for their failed policies and corruption. In 1963 Baath party again came into power and mostly alawites poor majority from west of Syria who were thankful to army for their representation. In 1966 the radicals staged an intra-party coup. Syria’s resounding defeat by Israel in the June 1967 War, in which the Golan Heights were occupied, weakened the militant socialist regime, and friction intensified between the radical civilian wing of the party and the more pragmatic military wing. The climax was another putsch staged by Hafiz al-Assad, an Air Force general and later Defense Minister, on 16 November 1970. No doubt from the day of evacuation of France alawites worked hard to get their position even though being in minority they got control over whole country.

President Hafiz al Assad

Hafiz al-Assad was born October 6 1930, Syria. He brought stability to the country and established it as a powerful presence in Middle East. Born into a poor family of ʿAlawites, a minority Islamic sect, Assad joined the Syrian wing of Baath party in 1946 as a student activist. Military Academy, graduating three years later as air force pilot. Assad and other military officers formed a committee to resurrect the fortunes of the Syria Baath party. After the Baʿthists took power in 1963, Assad became commander of the air force. In 1966, after taking part in a coup that overthrew the civilian leadership of the party and sent its founders into exile, he became minister of defense. During Assad’s ministry Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel in the war of 1967. He became prime minster and in 1971 was elected president. Assad set about building up the Syrian military with Soviet aid and gaining the loyalty of the Syrian by getting donations from Arab countries. Political opposition was eliminated by arrest, torture, and execution, and when the Muslim brotherhood mounted a rebellion in Hamāh in 1982, Assad ruthlessly suppressed it at a cost of some 20,000 lives and the near destruction of the city. In foreign affairs Assad tried to establish Syria as a leader of the Arab world. In 1976, with Lebanon racked by a bloody civil war, Assad dispatched several divisions to that country and secured their permanent presence there as part of a peacekeeping force sponsored by the Arab league. After Israel’s invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon in 1982–85, Assad was able to again control the country, compelling Lebanese Christians to accept constitutional changes granting Muslims equal representation in the government. Assad supported Iran in its war against Iraq 1980–88, and he readily joined the U.S led alliance against Iraq in Persian Gulf War of 1990–91. This cooperation resulted in more cordial relations with Western governments, which previously had condemned his sponsoring of terrorism. Assad sought to establish peaceful relations with Israel in the mid-1990s, but his repeated call for the return of the Golan Heights stalled the talks. In 1998 he made close ties with Iraq. He died by heart attack in 2000.

President Bashar al-Assad

Bashar al-Assad was born on 11 September 1965 in the Damascus Syria. Bashar al-Assad was third child of hafiz al-Assad. He received his early education in Damascus and studied medicine at university of Damascus and completed his graduation in ophthalmology in 1988. After graduation he served as doctor at Damascus hospital. In 1992 he went to London for higher studies. Bashar was not destined to be president of Syria as his brother Basil al-Assad was trained and supposed to be successor of his father but in 1994 he died in car accident. Hafiz al-Assad decided Bashar to be his next successor as Assad family belong to alawites which 10% of Syrian population and had played dominant role in Syrian politics. As in 2000 hafiz al-Assad died Bashar age was 35 so law was amended for age of president from 40 to 35. Within seven days law was passed and Bashar became president of Syria. Syrian people had great expectations from Bashar as they thought that he will bring economic reforms political reforms and will bring stability by introducing democracy but Bashar adopted same authoritarian policies of his father. His picture as a modernizer was polished by his arrangement as director of the Syrian Computer Society. In his inaugural speech, Assad affirmed his commitment to economic liberalization and vowed to carry out some political reform, but he rejected Western-style democracy as an appropriate model for Syrian politics. Assad announced that he would not support policies that might threaten the dominance of the Baʿth Party, but he slightly loosened government restrictions on freedom of expression and the press and released several hundred political prisoners. Assad this act created some tensions as many people opposed his policies as authoritarian and Damascus spring started. Hundreds of anti-regime civilians were punished. He demanded Israel to return Golan Heights and also supported Palestine and Lebanese militant groups. Relations with the United States worsened after Assad denounced the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2005 he brought some changes by cabinet organization as announcing retirements of old military and government officials of his father administration and replaced them with young appointments in which most powerful security positions were given to those who were his relatives. Economic reforms only benefited the elite class while rest f civilians were ignored in giving employment and economic relief. The United Nations investigation proved Syrian’s involvement in assassination of Lebanon’s Prime Minister rafiq-al- Hariri and that’s how international community pressurized him to eliminate troops from Lebanon. In 2007 Bashar was again elected and more and more people of Syria got against him. In 2011 a real challenge started when uprising took place in Syria inspired by Arab spring. Bashar never thought that such kind of uprising will take place in Syria so in reaction he used tanks weapons traditional as well as chemical to suppress the opposition. The uprising spread in many cities of the Syria and complete violation f human rights occur by the president of country. And that’s how Bashar al-Assad’s government is just questioning now that what would be its end Bashar will win or lose.

Effects of Arab Spring on Syria

In 2011, the Arab Spring swept through the Middle East with the prospect of change. But in Syria, that movement turned into a bloody civil war with chaos and destruction. The purpose of the Arab Spring was to bring democracy, freedom and a better life for people. The Arab Spring arrived in Syria, and protests began on January 26, 2011. The demands of the Syrian people were political reforms, a reinstatement of civil rights and an end to the state of emergency, which had been in place since 1963. As the government remained unresponsive to the protesters' demands, the protests grew and expanded to Homs, Damascus and to most parts of Syria. In May 2011, the Syrian military tried to crack down the protests with a violent force. Unsuccessful, President Bashar Al-Assad invited his people to a national dialogue and made some empty promises along the way. Immediately, a National Council was established to lead the Syrian revolt. At this point, what was an uprising turned into a civil war. What escalated the Syrian civil war was involvement of foreign powers. Western forces are in Syria fighting mainly for regime change while Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are in the battlefield to ensure the survival of President Bashar Al Assad's government. It's an endless war because of the discord among all the parties involved and the personal agenda they all want to achieve. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that between March 2011 and March 2017, 321,358 to 451,358 have died in the Syrian civil war. Also, more than four million refugees have left the country during the course of the civil war. Most of them fled to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, as well as European nations. Before the war, Syria was a calm, stable, culturally rich, and very beautiful place to visit. It is one rare Muslim country where people practiced their religions without any fear of violence. Unlike other Muslim countries, Syria is tolerant of Christians and others. But under both Assad regimes, no one dares to whisper a word against the government. The purpose of the Arab Spring was to bring hope and change. Little did Syrian people realize that their hope and dreams are shattered. The Arab Spring may have awakened the entire Middle East with a taste of democracy in a few countries, but Syria has seen the adverse effects of uprising. What was meant to be an uprising for change turned into a bloody, brutal and endless civil war.

Syrian Civil War

Even before the conflict began, many Syrians were complaining about high unemployment, corruption and a lack of political freedom. In March 2011, pro-democracy demonstrations erupted in the southern city of Deraa, inspired by the 'Arab Spring' in neighboring countries. When the government used deadly force to crush the dissent, protests demanding the president's resignation erupted nationwide.

The unrest spread and the crackdown intensified. Opposition supporters took up arms to defend themselves and later to throughout security forces. The violence rapidly escalated and the country resulting into civil war. That March, peaceful protests erupted in Syria as well, after 15 boys were detained and tortured for writing in support of the Arab Spring. One of the boys, a 13-year-old, was killed after having been brutally tortured. The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded to the protests by killing hundreds of demonstrators and imprisoning many more. In July 2011, from the military announced the formation of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group aiming to overthrow the government and civil war erupted.

Civil War Changes to Proxy War

The peaceful protests of March 2011 were attacked by Bashar in July protestors were again attacked and some Syrian troops defected from Syrian army and became free Syrian army. Extremist from around the region and whole world gathered in Syria to join the rebels, Bashar actually encouraged them by releasing prisoners. In January 2012 al-Qaeda formed a new jabat-al-nusra, in same time Kurds from north were awaken took arms and stand against Bashar rule. In that summer it became a proxy war when Iran intervened on behalf of Bashar and at the end of 2012 Iran was sending weapons to Bashar; in same time oil rich Gulf States of Arab along with turkey sending money and weapons and money to rebel mainly to encounter Iran influence. In same year a militia group named as Hezbollah from Iran stood in favor of Assad and to encounter Saudi Arab along with Jordan started to send more money and weapons to rebels. In 2013 Middle East was mostly divided between Sunni power supporting rebels in Syria and shias less tan Sunni supporting Bashar. The war almost brought America to take action as Bashar started to attack directly on civilians, so America sign a secret order with CIA to train rebels America also asked Saudi Arab to stop providing weapons to rebels but request goes ignored. Bashar again used chemical weapons on civilians that made America to take serious action but Russia reported that Bashar had condemn to use weapons on civilians. Within 2013 America entered in war through joining hands with rebels. In 2014 al-Qaeda affiliated group from Iraq broke into ISIS over internal disagreements and became opposite to al-Qaeda. ISIS did not fought In favor of Bashar but they supported other rebels group in Syria like Kurds and rest of Sunni. From 2014 America started to attack ISIS and started a pentagon training to train rebels to fight against ISIS not Bashar. In 2015 turkey entered into war by attacking Kurds into Iraq and turkey. In next month Russia made Russia made and air strike to support air base in Syria Russia showed that they are attacking ISIS but actually attacked groups against Assad, as those groups which were attacked were supported by America. In 2016 Russia along with Hezbollah attacked Aleppo to take control over last urban city under rebels. When Donald trump came into power he decided to remain neutral for Syria but in 2016 Bashar brutally which made trump to take action and he launched dozens of tomahawk missiles to direct attacked territory under control of Bashar. Russian unique powers and hired fighters helped break the attack of ISIS on Deir al-Zour in September 2017. In April 2018, another example of the utilization of concoction assault developed in Syria which pulled in the greatest ever military assault from the west with US and UK propelling a joint air strike at the said synthetic weapons production lines in Syria. In 2019 still the attacks are ongoing and many people are suffering without any reason in Syria.

Possible Solutions

Syrian crisis are no doubt very complex and to bring peace is also a challenge but to make conditions better in Syria there are some solutions. The very first thing is to stabilize the country by removing the foreign intervention along with rebels. After the Syrian crisis has been resolved, a free and fair plebiscite under the UN without any external intervention should be held. Syrians should be given the right to choose their leader. Of course, democracy has not very well suited but the will of people shall and should dominate. Sectarian conflict should be immediately resolved. One of the reasons of the escalation of Syrian crisis was the age old Shia-Sunni conflict. If possible states must organize awareness camps in Syria educating the people about benefits of unity and the consequences they have to face due to the conflict. If both the communities unite, it will be very easy for the crisis to get resolved. If an anti-terror campaign is to be launched in the nation, it must be done under the UN flag. There are many advantages of that, because nations won't be able to intervene their national interests in the fight against terror. Chemical weapons against the Syrian civilians by security forces took thousands of life, to prevent any such happenings in future, it is important that a proper UN investigation team is set up which is given full freedom to carry out its analysis, report where chemical weapons are kept and the world powers immediately enforce a decision to destroy them

The only way to defeat any kind of sectarian based issue is to restrict Saudi Arab and Iran to not support any rebel group or president. American backed rebels and Russian backed Syrian army need to sign a long lasting ceasefire agreement, without any compromises. Remember a ceasefire agreement would bring a big relief to Syrian civilians who have been facing heavy bombings since the war has begun. The critical priority should be to clear Syria of terrorist groups, reestablish the country’s territorial integrity, create the conditions for the return of displaced persons and refugees, and then leave it to Syrian people to choose their leadership through transparent, free and fair elections within the framework of a new constitution that enshrines protections for all minorities. The major Western powers need to keep in mind is that their efforts in the past few decades to transform certain countries through military and political intervention have failed.


  1. Geography of Syria (2015, October 2)
  2. Independence of Syria (2017, September.15)
  3. Syria after independence (2018, August 21)
  4. Hafiz and Bashar biography (2018, September 7)
  5. Possible solutions (2016, December 11)
  6. Syrian crisis solutions (2015, February 2)
  7. Facts about Syria (2019, April 9) /
  8. Syrian crisis (2014, April 30)
  9. Civil war
  10. 1Understanding Syria (2013, December 30)
  11. UN role in Syria
  12. Syria after independence
  13. Arab spring and Syria (2017, July 17)
  14. Syria country profile (2019, January 14)
  15. W. Lesch David (2012). Syria fall of house of Assad. Yale university press, new haven and London.
09 March 2021
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