Home > Al-Assad, Arab world, Ba'ath Party, Government, middle east news, Politics, Syria > Syria’s Assad Tries to Placate Sunnis and Kurds (NY Times)

Syria’s Assad Tries to Placate Sunnis and Kurds (NY Times)


By LIAM STACK and KATHERINE ZOEPF
Published: April 6, 2011

CAIRO — The government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syriaoffered several unusual gestures on Wednesday intended to earn it good will among Sunnis and Kurds.

The government announced that Syria’s first and only casino, which had enraged Islamists when it opened on New Year’s Eve, would be closed. It also said that schoolteachers who had been dismissed last year for wearing the niqab, a type of face veil, would be allowed back to work.

These concessions and others were made public as activists were calling for renewed demonstrations to be held on Thursday, which is the 64th anniversary of the formation of the Baath Party, which has been in power since 1963. Protests demanding expanded political rights and a multiparty democracy have spread to cities across Syria over the last three weeks, posing a highly unusual challenge to Mr. Assad.

Ayman Abdel Nour, a Syrian writer and activist who was a childhood friend of Mr. Assad’s, said… Continue

Liam Stack reported from Cairo, and Katherine Zoepf from New York.

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