Syria crisis could change face of the Middle East
bbc / Jonathan Marcus

For decades Syria has been among the most stable countries in the Middle East.

Back in February 1982, a rising of Sunni Muslims in the town of Hama was savagely repressed by the current president's father, Hafez al-Assad. Estimates vary but thousands were killed.

The death toll today after upheavals in a number of Syrian towns and cities is possibly in the low hundreds with many more injured - exact figures are hard to come by - but the regime still shows every bit as much tenacity in facing down its opponents.

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