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Syria's Islamist rebels force Christian activist to wear veil

Aggression by Islamist rebels against civilian opposition activists has only increased disillusionment with what started as a noble revolution.

It is easy to forget amid all the mayhem, carnage and brutality in the Syrian conflict today that it was once an inspirational and peaceful mass movement for political change and civil rights. That time seems like an eternity ago, and everything that has transpired since then — all the destruction, murders, beheadings, extremism, barrel bombs, dead children and floods of refugees — could never have been imagined by the people who were its inspiration and its spark, the brave civil activists who started it all.

These activists were predominantly liberal and secular, but hailed from all social and religious backgrounds. They were united by a vision and a noble aim. They espoused the kinds of freedoms and political rights for which most Syrians yearned. The way they were marginalized and ruthlessly hunted — first by the regime and later by the extremist Islamist rebels as secular apostates and the moderates for exposing their crimes — is just one more tragedy in a seemingly endless list that has afflicted this miserable nation.

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