Syrian protesters took to the streets in the southern city of Daraa on Sunday for the third consecutive day, calling for an end to corruption and 48 years of so-called "emergency law." Police fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the crowds, killing at least six people over the course of the weekend. Protesters set fire to a courthouse, at least two phone company offices, and the headquarters of the ruling Baath party. Will the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad survive? (Watch a Euronews report about Syria's protests)
A revolution won't be easy — but it could happen: Syria will "be a tough nut for pro-democracy activists to crack," says Rania Abouzeid in TIME. Opposition political parties are banned, as are foreign humanitarian organizations. But the protesters are taking the same first step that created so many opportunities in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya: They are surmounting "the barrier of fear."
"Arab spring: Is a revolution starting up in Syria?"
Syrian protesters stand little chance: "Syrians may have broken their silence," says Robert Jordan in Egypt's Al-Masry Al-Youm, but "fear of the regime and its ubiquitous security men" is preventing the dissent from spreading nationwide. Any public discussion of politics can get you arrested, and any telephone conversations that get too "sensitive" are cut off by the spies who are always listening. Assad may prove far more resilient than his counterparts elsewhere.
"Syria ushers in unrest sweeping the Arab World"
The government will have to make concessions: The Syrian people know what they're up against, says Lina Sinjab at BBC News, yet their anti-government slogans are getting even harsher. Mourners at the funerals of murdered protesters called for outright "revolution." The government's response will determine where things go from here. If its only answer is oppression, things will only get worse. If it enacts real reform giving the people jobs and greater political freedom, it might be able to keep control.
"Middle East unrest: Silence broken in Syria"