From Uprising to Armed Conflict: Academic and Personal Observations on the Syrian Crisis



The Department of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies invites you to the lecture:

From Uprising to Armed Conflict: Academic and Personal Observations on the Syrian Crisis


Armenak Tokmajyan

Researcher, Tampere Peace Research Institute


“In the year 2000 Hafez al-Assad, who had ruled Syria as a president for about thirty years, left his heir, Bashar al-Assad, a stable Syria but with mounting social, political and economic problems that required major reforms. Despite the relatively liberal policies that Bashar al-Assad has followed since then, the pace of the reforms remained slow until 2011 when the first considerable non-violent protests started in the south of the country. Eventually, these protests turned into an armed struggle against the central government. The first part of the presentation discusses some of the major factors that led to political destabilization and subsequently to a civil war. The second part of the presentation spotlights how the war in Syria, by the end of 2012, had started changing its nature, by becoming internationalized and radicalized. Additionally, within the Syrian conflict, other conflicts emerged due to the multiplication of the armed actors and clashing interests. Understanding the development of the armed conflict and the role of its constantly changing main actors (especially in the opposition bloc) is crucial to locating the current stage of the conflict. In the third part of the lecture, I talk about my own experience of the conflict. I contrast stories and debates I had with friends close to the ruling elite in Syria, with opinions I heard from actual participants of the revolution. Thereafter, I shortly refer to how I perceived the situation, as a foreigner who lived in Syria for a long time; as a student of social sciences; and as a member of a privileged minority. I conclude my presentation with a few remarks about local ceasefires and peace-making efforts that rarely make it to the major newspapers”.

Short CV:

Armenak Tokmajyan was born in Armenia and grew up in Syria where he went to school and obtained his BA at the University of Kalamoon in Damascus in 2011. He worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Syria in 2012. From 2012 he studied at the University of Tampere/Finland completing his MA in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research in spring 2014. At present he is a Visiting Researcher at Tampere Peace Research Institute. He has published several research papers and articles most of which deal with the civil war in Syria.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

7:30 p.m.

Room A019, Old Campus

University of Cyprus


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