Syrian activists reach across sectarian divide

BBC News, 5 October 2012

Syrian activist holding sign reading "There are two sects in Syria - the sect of freedom and the sect of the regime" The Nabd movement is trying to promote unity among sects working to bring down the Syrian regime

While the Syrian conflict has been characterised by fighting between the Sunni majority and ruling Alawite minority, it has also given birth to some movements which aim to bridge the sectarian divide, as Samer Mohajer and Ellie Violet Bramley report from Beirut.

Nabeel, a 24-year-old Alawite doctor from Homs, describes how he and other Syrian activists first decided to start campaigning against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the summer of 2011.

“A bunch of us were having coffee in Homs,” he said. “We wanted to have some influence on our revolution, so we tried to do something to express ourselves, to express our opinions.”

The result was the creation of the Nabd (or Pulse) Gathering for Syrian Civil Youth – one of the many cross-sectarian movements that have emerged from Syria’s 18-month-long revolt.

They are designed to campaign against the regime, but also to promote unity among Syria’s religious sects in the face of the increasing role of foreign and jihadi fighters and the characterisation of the struggle along sectarian lines. Continue reading