After Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, a wave of unprecedented anti-regime protests has now hit Syria, a country known for its iron grip on security matters.
“We now live in a new climate, and Syria cannot remain outside the movement” that is sweeping West Asia, said Burhan Ghalyoun, an Arab studies professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris.
“The regime is mistaken if it thinks it can settle these problems through repression,” Ghalyoun told AFP.
Syria, which is still under a 1963 emergency law banning demonstrations, has seen a string of small but unprecedented protests demanding the end of the ruling regime of President Bashar al-Assad for one week now.
Daraa, a southern town that is home to large tribal families, has been the focal point of the rallies, the latest in a string of uprisings against long-running autocratic regimes across the Arab world.
Eleven people were reported killed in a security crackdown on the Daraa demonstrations, including an 11-year-old boy who died on Monday.