Capturing the Syrian State

Successful coups in Syria were a reoccurring theme in Syrian history between 1949 and 1970. They could initiate before morning prayer, with new forces capturing the presidential palace, the outgoing president, and the radio station before the country awoke and found out the news.

There were accepted rituals for Syrian coups d’etat. The plotters knew they had to seize control of Kisweh and Qatana, the two camps guarding the southern approaches to the capital; that the crack 70th Armoured Brigade was an essential instrument; that Homs, situated north of Damascus and home of the Military Academy, had to be stopped from interfering, and from the very first hour the Damascus radio station had to be taken over to inform the populace that a new era had begun. Every self-respecting revolution needed a ‘Communique no. 1’ couched in suitably stirring language.

– Patrick Seale, Asad: The struggle for the Middle East, p. 72.

Of course, when your revolution is manned by Islamist terrorists from over 100 nations, fueled by proxy powers, and divested of popular national interests because leadership remains outside the country in self-exile, the rules no longer apply, and any tactic, however barbaric, is permissible.

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