Rumblings in Damascus

By Nir Boms and Erick Stakelbeck

For Bashar Assad, the diffusion of last weekend’s anti-government riots in northern Syria represented a dodged bullet, as his Ba’ath Party was ultimately able to maintain its tyrannical grip over the lives of 22 million Syrians. 

For Syria’s democratic reformers, however, the unrest may merely have signified the calm before the storm. 

As of Tuesday, armed police continued to stand guard on the streets of Qamoshli in northeastern Syria, where the atmosphere remained tense following the largest uprising against the Syrian Ba’ath Party in years. 

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On to Damascus

Feb. 14, 2004
On to Damascus
By NIR BOMS & ERICK STAKELBECK

Last month at the Free University of Brussels, just 200 meters from the Syrian Embassy, a group of Syrians gathered to discuss something that can only whispered about in their native land – freedom.

The scene was the second conference of the Syrian Democratic Coalition (SDC), a union of pro-democracy groups comprised of both resident Syrians and those living abroad. Under the auspices of the Belgian government representatives of 19 Syrian political parties, civil rights and student organizations gathered from January 17-19 to discuss replacing the world’s last remaining Ba’ath Party dictatorship with a secular democracy.

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Free Damascus

Nov. 27, 2003
Free Damascus
By NIR BOMS & ERICK STAKELBECK

‘The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country.” With this statement, made in his November 6 speech calling for the establishment of democracy in the Middle East, President George W. Bush galvanized an increasingly active contingent of democracy advocates.

Amongst them was the Reform Party of Syria (RPS), a fledgling US-based political movement comprised of resident Syrians and Syrians living abroad. RPS was formed shortly after 9/11 to express a voice that has been virtually nonexistent in Syria under 40 years of oppressive Ba’ath Party rule: a voice of freedom.

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The Syrian-French Connection

By Nir Boms
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 29, 2003

While the media is busy focusing on the troubling story of the two American soldiers detained at Guantanamo Bay for alleged espionage, both of whom had Syrian connections, another Syria story has passed them by. The names of Ahmad al Halabi, an American of Syrian descent, and Captain James Yee, a convert to Islam who spent four years in Damascus before returning to active service, are now well known. But the name of Nizar Nayouf, a Syrian journalist and human rights activist that was detained last week by French police in Paris, will most probably stay anonymous.  Nayouf’s only crime is that he opposes the regime in Damascus, a regime that the French government wishes to appease.

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