Legitimacy and peace processes: from coercion to consent
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Doreen Khoury describes how analyses of the conflict in Syria routinely ignore the achievements of grassroots opposition and the resilience of the Syrian people. Syrian society is the ultimate target of deadly sectarian violence between shabbiha (regime enforcers) and jihadist groups. But behind this devastation lie concrete popular efforts at inclusive local organisation and self-rule, and countless local peacebuilding initiatives aimed at bridging political, ideological and sectarian divides. This capacity needs to be better recognised and supported, and local civilian leadership should be included in peace talks and transition processes to provide local legitimacy and connection to communities inside Syria.