The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has long been considered among the region's most stable. But a growing uprising, along with the government's aggressive crackdown on demonstrators yesterday, have many wondering if the Assad family's decades-old grip on power might finally be breaking.
A Washington Post report this morning called the demonstrations "the most serious unrest" of Assad's 11-year tenure. (His father, Hafez, ruled the country for 29 years before him.) The Post cited a pre-dawn raid on the southern city of Daraa by Syrian security forces "in which dozens of people were killed, according to witnesses and activists."
Andrew Tabler, an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tells Trend Lines that Assad is "in trouble because the protests are breaking out in an area that is traditionally loyal to his regime."