Syria has always been considered an island of stability in a sea of Middle Eastern turmoil. So it came to everyone’s surprise earlier this month when isolated groups of Syrians stood up to the authorities.

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Syria has always been considered an island of stability in a sea of Middle Eastern turmoil. At its helm is the Assad family’s Baathist regime, governing the country with an iron fist since 1970 aided by an emergency law and powerful police network.

So it came to everyone’s surprise earlier this month – following the arrest of a group of 8- to 13-year-olds scribbling anti-government slogans on the walls of the city of Dara’a – when isolated groups of Syrians stood up to the authorities. “It takes a lot of courage to attack the government,” said one Syrian living in Dubai.

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