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المعارضة السورية (Arabic)
|Capital|| Azaz (de facto by SIG) >|
Idlib (de facto by SSG)[ citation needed ]
• President of the Syrian National Coalition
• Prime Minister
|18 March 2013|
|Currency||Syrian pound, Turkish Lira, US Dollar, [ citation needed ] (SYP)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
• Summer (DST)
|ISO 3166 code||SY|
|Internet TLD|| .sy |
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Syrian opposition (Arabic : المعارضة السوريةal-Muʻaraḍatu s-Sūrīyah, [almʊˈʕaːɾadˤɑtu s.suːˈɾɪj.ja] ) is an umbrella term for the political structure represented by the Syrian National Coalition and associated anti-government Syrian groups with certain territorial control in the form of a proto-state as an alternative Syrian government, claiming to be the legitimate Syrian Arab Republic and also sometimes known just as the Republic of Syria. The Syrian opposition evolved since the beginning of the Syrian conflict from groups calling for the overthrow of the Assad government in Syria and who have opposed its Ba'athist government.[ citation needed ] Prior to the Syrian Civil War, the term "opposition" (Arabic : المعارضة) had been used to refer to traditional political actors, for example the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change; that is, groups and individuals who have had a history of dissidence against the Syrian state.[ citation needed ]
A proto-state, also known as a quasi-state, is a political entity that does not represent a fully institutionalized or autonomous sovereign state.
The Syrian Interim Government is an alternative government of the Syrian Opposition, which has been formed by the opposition umbrella group, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The interim government indirectly controls some areas of the country and claims to be the sole legitimate government on behalf of the Syrian Opposition in defiance of the Council of Ministers of Ba'athist Syria. The Interim Government is seated in exile in Turkey. Its headquarters in Syria are located in the city of Azaz in Turkish-occupied northern Syria.
The Cabinet of Syria is the chief executive body of the Syrian Arab Republic. According to the Constitution of Syria:
Section 2 The Council of Ministers
The first opposition structures to form in the Syrian uprising were local protest-organizing committees. These formed in April 2011, as protesters graduated from spontaneous protests to protests organized by meetings beforehand.[ citation needed ]
The civil uprising phase of the Syrian Civil War, or as it was sometimes called by the media the Syrian Revolution of Dignity, was an early stage of protests – with subsequent violent reaction by the Syrian Arab Republic – lasting from March to 28 July 2011. The uprising, initially demanding democratic reforms, evolved from initially minor protests, beginning as early as January 2011 and transformed into massive protests in March.
The Syrian uprising phase, from March 2011 until the start of August 2011, was characterized by a consensus for nonviolent struggle among the uprising's participants.[ citation needed ] Thus the conflict could not have been yet characterized as a "civil war", until the organization of armed struggle began on the anti-government side. This occurred beginning from 29 July 2011, allowing the conflict to meet the international political definition of "civil war."[ citation needed ]
Opposition groups in Syria took a new turn in late 2011, during the Syrian Civil War, as they united to form the Syrian National Council (SNC),which has received significant international support and recognition as a partner for dialogue. The Syrian National Council was recognized or supported in some capacity by at least 17 member states of the United Nations, with three of those (France, United Kingdom and the United States) being permanent members of the Security Council.
The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria fought between the Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies, and various domestic and foreign forces opposing both the Syrian government and each other in varying combinations. The war is currently the 2nd deadliest of the 21st century.
The Syrian National Council, sometimes known as the Syrian National Transitional Council or the National Council of Syria, is a Syrian opposition coalition, based in Istanbul, Turkey, formed in August 2011 during the Syrian civil uprising against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
The Group of Friends of the Syrian People is an international diplomatic collective of countries and bodies convening periodically on the topic of Syria outside the U.N. Security Council. The collective was created in response to a Russian and Chinese veto on a Security Council resolution condemning Syria.
A broader opposition umbrella group, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, was formed in November 2012 and has gained recognition as the "legitimate representative of the Syrian people" by the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) and as a "representative of aspirations of Syrian people" by the Arab League.The Syrian National Coalition was subsequently considered to take the seat of Syria in the Arab League, with The Syrian Government representative suspended that year. The Syrian National Council, initially a part of the Syrian National Coalition, withdrew on 20 January 2014 in protest at the decision of the coalition to attend the Geneva talks. Despite tensions, the Syrian National Council retained a degree of ties with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. Syrian opposition groups held reconciliation talks in Astana, Kazakhstan in October 2015. In late 2015, the Syrian Interim Government relocated its headquarters to the Turkish-occupied areas in North Syria and began to execute some authority in the area. In 2017, the opposition government in the Idlib Governorate was challenged by the rival Syrian Salvation Government, backed by the Islamist faction Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, commonly named the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), is a coalition of opposition groups in the Syrian Civil War that was founded in Doha, Qatar, in November 2012. Former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Moaz al-Khatib, considered a moderate, was elected the president of the coalition, and resigned on 21 April 2013. Riad Seif and Suheir Atassi, both prominent democracy activists and the latter a secular human rights advocate, were elected vice presidents. The post of a third vice president will remain vacant for a Kurdish figure to be elected. Mustafa Sabbagh was elected as the coalition's secretary-general. The coalition has a council of 114 seats, though not all of them are filled.
The Arab League, formally the League of Arab States, is a regional organization of Arab states in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. Currently, the League has 22 members, but Syria's participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the Syrian Civil War.
The Syrian Salvation Government is a de facto alternative government of the Syrian Opposition seated within Idlib Governorate. The General Conference, concluded on 11 September 2017, formed a constituent assembly and named a new prime minister. In early November 2017, the General Conference formed the Syrian Salvation Government. There followed weeks of conflict between the new government and the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), with reports of HTS unilaterally disbanding several SIG-supported local councils across northwestern Syria. The Salvation Government is seen as illegitimate by the opposition's main Syrian Interim Government.
Syria has been a independent republic since 1946 after the expulsion of the French forces. For decades, the country was partially stable with a series of coups until the Ba'ath Party seized power in Syria in 1963 after a coup d'état. The head of state since 1971 has been a member of the al-Assad family, beginning with Hafez al-Assad (1971–2000). Syria was under emergency law from the time of the 1963 Syrian coup d'état until 21 April 2011, when it was rescinded by Bashar al-Assad, Hafez's eldest surviving son and the current President of Syria. As the revolutionary wave commonly referred to as the Arab Spring began to take shape in early 2011, Syrian protesters began consolidating opposition councils.
The French Third Republic was the system of government adopted in France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed during the Franco-Prussian War, until 10 July 1940 after France's defeat by Nazi Germany in World War II led to the formation of the Vichy government in France.
The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region, officially the Syrian Regional Branch, is a neo-Ba'athist organisation founded on 7 April 1947 by Michel Aflaq, Salah al-Din al-Bitar and followers of Zaki al-Arsuzi. It was first the regional branch of the original Ba'ath Party (1947–1966) before it changed its allegiance to the Syrian-dominated Ba'ath movement (1966–present) following the 1966 split within the original Ba'ath Party. The party has ruled Syria continuously since the 1963 Syrian coup d'état which brought the Ba'athists to power.
The 1963 Syrian coup d'état, referred to by the Syrian government as the 8 March Revolution, was the successful seizure of power in Syria by the military committee of the Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. The planning and the unfolding conspiracy was inspired by the Iraqi Regional Branch's successful military coup.
The Istanbul Meeting for Syria, the first convention of the Syrian opposition, took place on 26 April 2011, during the Syrian civil uprising. There followed the Antalya Conference for Change in Syria or Antalya Opposition Conference, a three-day conference of representatives of the Syrian opposition held from 31 May until 3 June 2011 in Antalya, Turkey.
Organized by Ammar al-Qurabi's National Organization for Human Rights in Syria and financed by the wealthy Damascene Sanqar family, it led to a final statement refusing compromise or reform solutions, and to the election of a 31-member leadership.
After the Antalya conference, a follow-up meeting took place two days later in Brussels, then another gathering in Paris that was addressed by Bernard Henri Levy.It took a number of further meetings in Istanbul and Doha before yet another meeting on 23 August 2011 in Istanbul set up a permanent transitional council in form of the Syrian National Council.
The Syrian opposition does not have a definitive political structure. In December 2015, members of the Syrian opposition convened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: 34 groups attended the convention, which aimed to produce a unified delegation for negotiations with the Syrian government.Notable groups present included:
The December 2015 convention notably did not include:
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces is a coalition of opposition groups and individuals, mostly exilic, who support the Syrian revolution side and oppose the Assad government ruling Syria. It formed on 11 November 2012 at a conference of opposition groups and individuals held in Doha, Qatar. It has relations with other opposition organizations such as the Syrian National Council, the previous iteration of an exilic political body attempting to represent the grassroots movement; the union of the two was planned,[ by whom? ] but has failed to realize. Moderate Islamic preacher Moaz al-Khatib, who had protested on the Syrian street in the early nonviolent phase of the uprising, served a term as the president of the coalition, but soon resigned his post, frustrated with the gap between the body and the grassroots of the uprising inside Syria. Riad Seif and Suheir Atassi, both of whom had also protested on the street in Syria early in the uprising, were elected as vice presidents. Mustafa Sabbagh is the coalition's secretary-general.
Notable members of the Coalition include:
The Syrian National Council (al-Majlis al-Waṭanī as-Sūri) sometimes known as SNC,the Syrian National Transitional Council or the National Council of Syria, is a Syrian opposition coalition, based in Istanbul (Turkey), formed in August 2011 during the Syrian civil uprising against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
Initially, the council denied seeking to play the role of a government in exile,but this changed a few months later when violence in Syria intensified. The Syrian National Council seeks the end of Bashar al-Assad's rule and the establishment of a modern, civil, democratic state. The SNC National Charter lists human rights, judicial independence, press freedom, democracy and political pluralism as its guiding principles.
In November 2012 the Council agreed to unite with several other opposition groups to form the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, with the SNC having 22 out of 60 seats.The Council withdrew from the Coalition on 20 January 2014 in protest at the decision of the Coalition to attend talks in Geneva.
Notable members of the Council include:
The National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCC), or National Coordination Body for Democratic Change [ who? ] have accused the NCC of being a "front organization" for Bashar al-Assad's government and have denounced some of its members as ex-government insiders.(NCB), is a Syrian bloc chaired by Hassan Abdel Azim and consisting of 13 left-wing political parties and "independent political and youth activists". Reuters has defined the Committee as the internal opposition's main umbrella group. The NCC initially had several Kurdish political parties as members, but all except for the Democratic Union Party left in October 2011 to join the Kurdish National Council. Some opposition activists
The NCC's generally has poor relationships with other Syrian political opposition groups. The Syrian Revolution General Commission, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria or[ clarification needed ] the Supreme Council of the Syrian Revolution oppose the NCC calls to dialogue with the Syrian government. In September 2012 the Syrian National Council (SNC) reaffirmed that despite broadening its membership, it would not join with "currents close to [the] NCC". Despite the NCC recognizing the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on 23 September 2012, the FSA has dismissed the NCC as an extension of the government, stating that "this opposition is just the other face of the same coin".
Notable former members of the Committee have included:
The Syrian Democratic Council was established on 10 December 2015 in al-Malikiyah. It was co-founded by prominent human rights activist Haytham Manna and was intended as the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The council includes more than a dozen blocs and coalitions that support federalism in Syria, including the Movement for a Democratic Society, the Kurdish National Alliance in Syria, the Law–Citizenship–Rights Movement, and since September 2016 the Syria's Tomorrow Movement. The last group is led by former National Coalition president and Syrian National Council Ahmad Jarba. In August 2016 the SDC opened a public office in al-Hasakah.
The Syrian Democratic Council is considered an "alternative opposition" bloc.Its leaders included former NCC members such as Riad Darar, a "key figure" in the Syrian opposition, and Haytham Manna, who resigned from the SDC in March 2016 in protest of its announcement of the Northern Syria Federation. The SDC was rejected by some other opposition groups due to its system of federalism.
The Syrian Democratic Council was invited to participate in the international Geneva III peace talks on Syria in March 2016. However, it rejected the invitations because no representatives of the Movement for a Democratic Society, led by the Democratic Union Party, were invited.[ citation needed ]
At a conference held in Istanbul on 19 March 2013, members of the National Coalition elected Ghassan Hitto as prime minister of an interim government for Syria. Hitto has announced that a technical government will be formed which will be led by between 10 and 12 ministers. The minister of defense is to be chosen by the Free Syrian Army.The SIG is based in Turkey. It has been the primary civilian authority throughout most of opposition-held Syria. Its system of administrative local councils operate services such as schools and hospitals in these areas, as well as the Free Aleppo University. By late 2017, it presided over 12 provincial councils and over 400 elected local councils. It also operates a major border crossing between Syria and Turkey, which generates an estimated $1 million revenue each month. It is internationally recognized by the European Union and the United States, among others. It maintains diplomatic ties with some non-FSA rebel groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, but is in conflict with the more extreme Tahrir al-Sham, which is one of the largest armed groups in Idlib Governorate.
The Syrian Salvation Government is an alternative government of the Syrian opposition seated within Idlib Governorate, which was formed by the General Syrian Conference in September 2017. [ citation needed ] The SSG is associated with Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and not recognised by the rest of the opposition, which is in conflict with HTS.The domestic group has appointed Mohammed al-Sheikh as head of the Government with 11 more ministers for Interior, Justice, Endowment, Higher Education, Education, Health, Agriculture, Economy, Social Affairs and Displaced, Housing and Reconstruction and Local Administration and Services. Al-Sheikh, in a press conference held at the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing has also announced the formation of four commissions: Inspection Authority, Prisoners and missing Affairs, Planning and Statistics Authority, and the Union of Trade Unions. The founder of the Free Syrian Army, Col. Riad al-Asaad, was appointed as deputy prime minister for military affairs.
There is a sharp ideological divide between the two competing opposition civil authorities: The SIG espouses secular, moderate values and regularly participates in international peace talks; the SSG enforces a strict interpretation of Islamic law and stringently rejects talks with the Syrian regime.
Various Syrian opposition groups have at least some presence in seven Syrian governorates, though none is fully under the control of the entity. Governorates with partial opposition control include:
Governorates under partial control of opposition groups aligned with the Syrian Interim Government:
Governorates under partial control of opposition groups aligned with the Syrian Democratic Council:
In April 2015, after the Second Battle of Idlib, the interim seat of the Syrian Interim Government was proposed to be Idlib, in the Idlib Governorate. However, this move was rejected by the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham-led Army of Conquest, which between them controlled Idlib.According to the Syrian National Coalition, in 2017 there were 404 opposition-aligned local councils operating in villages, towns, and cities controlled by rebel forces. In 2016, the Syrian Interim Government became established within the Turkish occupied areas.
The Salvation Government extends authority mostly in the Idlib Governorate.
The foreign relations of the Syrian Opposition refers to the external relations of the self-proclaimed oppositional Syrian Arab Republic, which sees itself as the genuine Syria. The region of control of Syrian opposition affiliated groups is not well defined. The Turkish government recognizes Syrian opposition as the genuine Syrian Arab Republic and hosts several of its institutions on its territory. The seat of Syria in the Arab League is reserved for the Syrian opposition since 2014, but not populated.
Initially, the Free Syrian Army was perceived as the ultimate military force of the Syrian Opposition, but with the collapse of many FSA factions and emergence of powerful Islamist groups, it became clear to the opposition that only a cooperation of secular military forces and moderate Islamists could form a sufficient coalition to battle both the Syrian Government forces and radical Jihadists such as ISIL and in some cases al-Nusra Front.
In 2014, the military forces associated with the Syrian Opposition were defined by the Syrian Revolutionary Command Council, which in turn was mainly relying on the Free Syrian Army (with links to Syrian National Coalition) and the Islamic Front (Syria). Members of the Syrian Revolutionary Command Council:
Other rebel fighting forces:
The Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, formerly the Islamic Socialist Front, has been described as "a branch" of the Sunni Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and as "very loosely affiliated" to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. In its most recent April 2012 manifesto, it "pledges to respect individual rights", to promote pluralism and democracy and does not even "mention the word Islam".
Idlib Governorate is one of the fourteen governorates (provinces) of Syria. It is situated in northwestern Syria, bordering Turkey. Reports of its area vary, depending on the source, from 5,933 km² to 6,097 km². The Governorate had a pre-war population of 1,464,000. The provincial capital is Idlib.
Saraqib is a city in northwestern Syria, administratively belonging to the Idlib Governorate, located east of Idlib. On the course of the Syrian Civil War, the city fell into rebel forces; as of 2019, it is controlled by Tahrir al-Sham. It has an elevation of 370 meters above sea level. The ancient site of Ebla is situated five kilometers south of the city. Nearby localities include Mardikh and Maar Dibsah to the south, Trunbah and al-Nayrab to the west, Sarmin to the northwest, Taftanaz to the north, Talhiyah to the northeast, Tell Touqan to the east and Kafr Amim to the southeast.
Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) is a Syrian coalition of 40 Syrian opposition groups to unite their efforts during the Syrian civil war that was announced on 19 August 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.
The National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCC), or National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), is a Syrian bloc chaired by Hassan Abdel Azim consisting of 13 left-wing political parties and "independent political and youth activists". It has been defined by Reuters as the internal opposition's main umbrella group. The NCC initially had several Kurdish political parties as members, but all except for the Democratic Union Party left in October 2011 to join the Kurdish National Council. Some opposition activists have accused the NCC of being a "front organization" for Bashar al-Assad's government and some of its members of being ex-government insiders.
The Syrian Civil War is an intensely sectarian conflict. The focus of the conflict has been identified by some as a ruling minority Alawite government and allied Shi'a governments such as Iran, pitted against the country's Sunni Muslim majority who are aligned with the Syrian opposition and their Sunni Turkish and Persian Gulf state backers. However Sunni Muslims make up the majority of the Syrian Arab Army and many hold high governmental positions. Others identify it as the secular Syrian government, made up of all religious groups pitted against the Islamist opposition. The conflict had drawn in other ethno-religious minorities, including Armenians, Assyrians, Druze, Palestinians, Kurds, Yazidi, Mhallami, Arab Christians, Mandaeans, Turkmens and Greeks.
The Suqour al-Sham Brigades, also known as the Sham Falcons Brigades, is an armed rebel organisation formed by Ahmed Abu Issa early in the Syrian Civil War to fight against the Syrian Government. It was a member of the Islamic Front and a former unit of the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. They have a history of coordinating with Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front, though clashes with the latter broke out in January 2017. In March 2015, the Suqour al-Sham Brigades merged with Ahrar ash-Sham, but left Ahrar al-Sham in September 2016. Also, in September 2016, they joined the Army of Conquest which Ahrar al-Sham is also a member. On 25 January 2017, Suqour al-Sham rejoined Ahrar al-Sham, but later became independent.
George Sabra is a member of the Syrian Democratic People's Party. He was elected president of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group in Syria, on 9 November 2012 and later was acting president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces from 22 April – 6 July 2013. He resigned from the National Coalition on 25 April 2018. Sabra is a Christian.
A number of armed groups have involved themselves in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.
The Supreme Military Council (SMC) was the highest military leadership of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) from late 2012 to at least mid-2014. The establishment of the organisation was announced on 7 December 2012 with the backing of western and Arab powers as a means of financing and arming Syrian rebel forces.
The Sham Legion is an alliance of Sunni Islamist rebel groups formed in March 2014, during the Syrian Civil War. The alliance was formed from 19 different groups, some of which were previously affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria and the Shields of the Revolution Council.
The Battle of Idlib was a military operation in the Idlib Governorate, during the Syrian Civil War, conducted by rebels against Syrian government forces defending Idlib city.
The Army of Revolutionaries, or Jaysh al-Thuwar, is a multi-ethnic armed Syrian rebel coalition that is allied with the primarily Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and participating in the Syrian Civil War as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The early insurgency phase of the Syrian Civil War lasted from late July 2011 to April 2012, and was associated with the rise of armed oppositional militias across Syria and the beginning of armed rebellion against the authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic. Though armed insurrection incidents began as early as June 2011 when rebels killed 120–140 Syrian security personnel, the beginning of organized insurgency is typically marked by the formation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on 29 July 2011, when a group of defected officers declared the establishment of the first organized oppositional military force. Composed of defected Syrian Armed Forces personnel, the rebel army aimed to remove Bashar al-Assad and his government from power.
The Northern Democratic Brigade is a Free Syrian Army unit, led by Alexander Khalil, that is closely allied to the Syrian Kurdish YPG and YPJ in Afrin Canton since 2014. It also joined the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in November 2015. The initial members of the group originated from Jabal Zawiya in Idlib, and it has recruited Arabs from Idlib, Aleppo, and other cities in northern Syria since allying with the YPG.
The following is a timeline of the Syrian Civil War from September to December 2017. Information about aggregated casualty counts is found at Casualties of the Syrian Civil War.
The Idlib demilitarization is an ongoing agreement between Turkey and Russia to create a demilitarized zone in Syria's rebel held Idlib Governorate, to be patrolled by Russian and Turkish militaries. On 17 September 2018, the Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reached an agreement to create a buffer zone in Idlib.
In 2013, the Syrian opposition included a large number of Islamist brigades that were neither moderate nor jihadist but were aligned with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, under an umbrella organization called the Commission of the Shields of the Revolution. Two years later, the brigades have begun to slowly disperse.