Syria’s Protest Movement
In a development hailed as a sign of change in Syria by some, and deemed a mere PR exercise of the Syrian government by others, Syrian opposition met for the first time in public in Damascus on Monday June 27. The same day, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad set July 10, 2011 as the start date for national dialogue, stating that participation would be open to all “national and political figures”. Simultaneously, however, violence continued across the country. Another 15 people died in unrest on June 24 as thousands continued to flow across the border into Turkey and Lebanon. Meanwhile, the diplomatic spotlight remains firmly on Turkey, with many continuing to view its response to the turmoil in Syria, as the ultimate indicator of its future role in the region.