The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Photograph: Roy Samaha/AFP/Getty
-Zénobie is a journalist
(1) Not his real name
(2) Thawra in Arabic can be translated as revolt or revolution. If we define revolution as a revolt that has succeeded in changing the political regime, we must use revolt here, bearing in mind it could become a revolution.
(3) There are four organs of the Syrian security service: State Security, Political Security, Military Security, and the feared Air Force Security, which operates throughout Syrian society. All religious denominations are represented in the security services, but there are very few officers from Damascus.
(4) The name given to militias armed by the state; it is equivalent to the baltaguiyya in Egypt during the revolution.