that stretch long into Syria’s past, activists and analysts say.
“What is going on in Syria brings to mind all the atrocities of the regime committed throughout [the decades] [. . . ] because the massacres of the Syrian regime have been ongoing,” said Walid Saffour, the London-based president of the Syrian Human Rights Committee. “These experiences and these memories exist in the consciousness and the memory of the Syrian people.”
Activists say that 1,400 people have been killed in the three months since the uprising began and are unimpressed by President Bashar Assad’s talk of reform in recent speeches.
In Washington on June 28, the State Department said that Syria’s move to allow activists to meet to discuss political change was a positive step but that the government needed to do more to launch real reforms.
“The fact that opposition members were allowed to meet in Syria for the first time in decades, as I understand it, is progress and is something that is new and is important for the democratic process in Syria that we all want to see,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
“We think this is a move in the right direction, but there is far more to be done. The violence needs to end throughout Syria, and a broader public process needs to begin.”
Some of Syria’s leading intellectuals used the June 27 meeting to call for sweeping political change, and the government announced that it would invite opposition figures to July 10 talks to set the framework for a dialogue promised by Mr. Assad.
While the power of a grassroots uprising in Syria is compelling, analysts say, it is limited in terms of organization and maintaining momentum. But some see that leadership already is beginning to take shape in the local committees.
For now, with or without leadership, the Syrian people appear set to continue protesting.
“The country is split in two, either you’re with Assad or you’re not,” said one Syrian who fled to Guvecci and asked not to be named.
“Those who are with Assad are doing it out of fear. Those who are against Assad have looked death in the face, and we won’t give in until we have freedom. It’s death or freedom.”
Ruby Russell in Berlin contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.
Some Syrian refugees in Turkey say they are dedicated to continuing the fight for freedom from across the border. “We weren’t ready earlier. This couldn’t haven’t happened earlier,” one said. “Now we have cellphones and can ring each other, and we know what has happened in other towns.”