The Baath Party has ruled Syria with an iron fist since the 1960s, curbing civil liberties and imprisoning and executing anyone who dared oppose its rule. A major anti-Baath struggle erupted in the 1980s as Syrians rebelled, trying to topple the repressive regime. The ruling party violently suppressed dissidents and maintained its death grip on power. The 2011 public uprising against the regime was significant in its countrywide scope. Inspired by the fight of people throughout the Arab world, it challenged the authority of the despotic leader. Disenchanted Syrians organized protest rallies, demanding demonstrable change and freedom and an end to decades of repressive rule — a struggle whose successful conclusion depends on the resiliency of oppressed and dispossessed Syrians and the alignment of their cause to the self-serving interests of foreign parties able to lend them support in their struggle against the Baathist rule.