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Pro-government Columnist Slams Syrian Civil Society Initiative

Columnist Abdel Moneim Ali Issa slammed efforts made by a couple of hundred of Syrian NGOs to form a civil umbrella for their work. They met in Paris earlier this month. Below are excerpts from his op-ed.
Syrian Civil Society
Pro-government Columnist Slams Syrian Civil Society Initiative

In 2006, a charitable organization emerged with the goal of promoting positive change in the Levant and the United Kingdom by nurturing civil society. Over time, it adapted to Western perspectives and changed policies related to the Syrian crisis. 

In 2021, the organization launched the “Civil” initiative, led by Ayman Asfari, who believed in the capacity of civil society organizations to bridge the gap between the Syrian population and existing political entities. Initially focused on socio-cultural work, the initiative’s impact extended into the realm of politics, indicating a broader influence. 

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Recently, the initiative expanded its goals to include political engagement, as expressed by Amna Khawlani, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Madaniyya.” This shift was evident at the “Paris Meeting,” where numerous civil society organizations gathered to emphasize their significance and demand attention.

The “Paris Meeting” received support from French authorities, aiming to gradually shape Syrian society with different orientations and approaches. While external support is important, it is not the sole pillar for these movements, which align with the broader trend of liberalism in Syria. 

This trend emerged after the collapse of the “socialist camp” in 1989, attracting individuals from various ideological backgrounds who gravitated towards liberal ideas. Regional and global events, such as the fall of Baghdad in 2003 and the Arab Spring, further accelerated this shift. 

The revitalization of civil society organizations reflects a convergence between external actors and internal liberals who recognize the decline of traditional parties and the need to fill the void. Economic transformations since the late 1990s have also played a significant role in fueling the growth of liberalism in Syria. The rise of the market economy has had a profound impact on the societal landscape.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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