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Apparent moves for reform amid crackdown on protesters raises question as who the real power-brokers are in Syria.
Experts say human rights unlikely to improve as laws that are equally dreaded remain in place.
The Syrian president has promised to lift emergency law but many doubt this will end human-rights abuses.
Some 200 Syrians have staged a protest outside the Supreme State Security Court in Damascus, coinciding with the resumption of the trial of a prominent human-rights campaigner.
Lawrence Smallman
Human rights group Amnesty International has called on Syria to  unconditionally free five "prisoners of conscience" who face trial in the next two days.
Syria has ignored international requests for the immediate release of rights activist Aktham Naisa and plans to try him at the Supreme State Security Court.
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Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
 
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