The Syrian Democratic People’s Party (SDPP) is a socialist opposition party; it is part of the National Democratic Assembly and the Damascus Declaration bloc within the Syrian National Council. The party calls for pluralist democracy, freedom, equality, and social justice. The SDPP is renowned for its hard-line stance against the regime and its historic alliances with Islamist groups.

Major Figures

Giath Uyoun al-Soud: secretary-general
Riad al-Turk: founder
George Sabra: member of the Executive Committee of the Syrian National Council (SNC)


Founded in 1973 by Riad al-Turk, the SDPP was originally known as the Syrian Communist Party (Political Bureau) until it changed its name in 2005 and abandoned Marxism-Leninism for social democracy. In 1979, it joined the National Democratic Assembly and since 2005 has been a leading member of the Damascus Declaration, an opposition coalition that played a key role in the formation of the Syrian National Council in October 2011.

Riad al-Turk is a prominent opposition leader and former political prisoner; he officially resigned from the SDPP in 2005 but still retains influence. George Sabra, a Christian SDPP member of the Executive Committee of the Syrian National Council, is emerging as a likely candidate to replace Burhan Ghalioun as the SNC’s president.


Policy Toward the Crisis

  • Calls for external military intervention
  • Calls for arming the opposition
  • Rejects dialogue with the regime
  • Supports the Annan peace plan

 Political Objectives

  • A secular parliamentary democracy
  • Free elections
  • A multiparty system
  • Freedom of assembly and speech
  • Equality between citizens regardless of sex, religion, race, and national or social descent