The uprising which erupted in Syria in March 2011 has become the most protracted and destabilizing of all the revolutions now sweeping the Arab world. With the government weakened but the regime largely intact, the opposition has little hope of defeating Assad on its own. He, in turn, seems equally unable to extinguish the protests. As the conflict grinds on, the anti-regime movement has increasingly turned to armed struggle, while sectarian sentiment is inflamed by conflict and violence as the country enters the early stages of a civil war.

This paper edited in May 2012 by Aron Lund, a Swedish writer and journalist specialising in Middle Eastern affairs, presents one the most comprehensive description of the Syrian opposition available to date. It grapples with the problems caused by internal disagreements and severe structural weaknesses and the opposition’s inability to provide an effective alternative to the Assad regime.

Previous publications by Lund include Drömmen om Damaskus (’The Dream of Damascus’), a book on Syria’s regime and opposition movements, and The Ghosts of Hama. The Bitter Legacy of Syria’s Failed 1979-1982 Revolution.

This book is edited by FEPS in cooperation with the Olof Palme International Center, with the financial support of the European Parliament