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Abstract

The dominant narrative for explaining the origins of the conflict is that the Syrian public, inspired by the ‘Arab Spring’ protests in neighbouring countries, took to the streets in protest demanding democratic reforms, which the Syrian government responded to by murdering innocent civilian protestors, which in turn provoked defections from the army, erupting in a war by insurgents to overthrow the Syrian state. However, piecing the evidence together suggests a different narrative. Initially there were two separate ‘oppositions’ to the Syrian government, one calling for peaceful democratic reforms, and the other seeking to overthrow the state by violent means. The government has largely addressed calls for democratic reform while predictably resisting all attempts by the insurgency to overthrow the Syrian state.

(We’re going to fix this soon…)