Ottoman rule ended
• 1918 October - Arab troops led by Emir Feisal, and supported
by British forces, capture Damascus, ending 400 years of
• 1919 - Emir Feisal backs Arab self-rule at the Versailles peace
conference, following the defeat of Germany and the Ottoman
Empire in World War I.
• 1919 June - Elections for a Syrian National Congress are
held. The new assembly includes delegates from Palestine.
• 1920 March – BOUNDARIES DRAWN The National
Congress proclaims Emir Feisal king of Syria "in its natural
boundaries" from the Taurus mountains in Turkey to the Sinai
desert in Egypt.
• 1920 June - San Remo conference splits up Feisal's newly-
created Arab kingdom by placing Syria-Lebanon under a
French mandate, and Palestine under British control.
• 1920 July - French forces occupy Damascus, forcing Feisal to
• 1920 August - France proclaims a new state of Greater
• 1922 - Syria is divided into three autonomous regions by the
French, with separate areas for the Alawis on the coast and
the Druze in the south.********* important
The road to independence
• 1925-6 - Nationalist agitation against French rule develops into
a national uprising. French forces bombard Damascus.
• 1928 - Elections held for a constituent assembly, which drafts
a constitution for Syria. French High Commissioner rejects the
proposals, sparking nationalist protests.
• 1936 - France agrees to Syrian independence in principle but
signs an agreement maintaining French military and economic
• 1940 - World War II: Syria comes under the control of the Axis
powers after France falls to German forces.
• 1941 - British and Free French troops occupy Syria. General De
Gaulle promises to end the French mandate.
• 1945 - Protests over the slow pace of French withdrawal.
• 1946 - Last French troops leave Syria.
Ethnic divisions drawn from
• The current borders of the Arab world were drawn by
European colonialists without understanding the deeper
ethno-religious structure in Arab society.
• “Syrian” in 1920 as a concept did no exist. Syrians then
thought of themselves as “arab”
• An attempt to impose the European model of the nation state
in a region where it simply did not fit. One can argue that Syria
falls within these improperly drawn borders.
• 1946 Syria Achieved
• 1964 Coup D’etat by the
Ba’ath party in 1964 – years
of instability resulted.
• 1970 – minister of defense
General Hafez al-
Assad seized power
dubbing himself Prime
Minister initially and then
President a year later in
President Hafez al-Assad -
• President Hafez al-Assad..
1. Reinvented the face of Syrian Politics and the Ba’ath
party by dividing the state apparatus between different
communities and centering power around him and his
2. Showed favoritism to the Alawite community giving
them special favors such as high level government
positions and control over the state military and
3. He gave himself, as President the power to veto all
government decisions and multi party elections for
presidency ceased to take place. So basically no one
could challenge his authority – no elections were held.
• Hafez Assad after seizing power channeled
wealth into the state – channeled funds to
the state bureaucracy, military, businesses
and anyone connect TO THE STATE.
• Why? To ENSURE his own future – military
and bourgeois (elite) would help Assad
regime maintain his rule.
• All hail Assad…
Bashar Assad –democracy?
• In 2000 he gave the illusion of democracy in his
inaugural speech when he seceded his father in June of
• For 8 months there was a change in the political climate
of Syria – amnesties granted to political prisoners, a free
press started to take shape…
• Two human rights organizations even came into being…
• Pro democracy was becoming popular…. And then the
Ba’ath party reined in the reforms and the status quo
• Can’t have too muchfreedom right?
All Hail Bashar Assad
• For ten years corruption returned, political oppression
continued and nepotism (the practice among those with
power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially
by giving them jobs) ruled.
• Sunni Arabs, by far the largest ethno-religious group – 65%
of the population
• The Kurds, non-Arab Sunnis with their own ambitions,
compose eight percent of the total.
• The Alawite sect of Shia Islam (only 13%) controls the state
bureaucracy almost entirely. FAVOURED BY ASSAD REGIME!
• Christians 10% compose the only other significant “ethnic
• Druze, Turkoman 3.2% each
• 2011 before the uprising (a year after Bashar
• Syrians had lived under martial law since 1963
• Intimidation ,detainment, torture via the
mukhabarat – state security/intelligence
• Corruption was everywhere, infrastructure was
poor and Syria had an education system that was
• Unemployment – 30%
Syrian Civil War
•More than 3.2 million Syrian
people have sought refuge in
Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
•The Syrian civil war is said to have
created one of the worst
humanitarian crises in modern
What set the war off?
• The Syrian uprising started as a reaction to the Arab Spring, a
series of anti-government protests across the Arab world
inspired by the fall of the Tunisian regime in early 2011.
• The root of the start of the conflict: anger over
unemployment (30%), decades of dictatorship (under Assad,
Alawites, Ba’ath party) corruption and state violence under of
the Middle East’s most repressive regimes.
• Protests against the government spread from Damascus to
Homs and the southern city of Daraa, often after Friday
prayers. These were entirely peaceful marches, but they were
mainly by people from the Sunni majority (69%) in Syria.
They were also led by people who supported a secular regime,
with no intent to establish a Sunni religious government.
(Sunni’s controlled Syria territory before the 1940’s.)
• February 2011 Russia and China block a UN Security Council
draft resolution on Syria. The UN says that more than 7,500
people have died since the security crackdown began.
• How the Civil war began…
• 15 high school students wrote graffiti “"The people want the
regime to fall" — the mantra of revolution. On the walls of a
• They were thrown in jail and sources say they were tortured
• Syria following the example of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia.. got its
first strong taste of rebellion in the Arab Spring.
Dara’a political prisoners
• Assad responded immediately, sending a high-ranking
delegation to deliver his condolences to the families of the
• 15 kids released.
• Protesters have gave the Syrian government until the morning
of March 25 to meet a list of demands If the demands
were not met March 25 will become the "Friday of the
Martyrs" not just in Dara'a and its province, Hauran, which
shares a border with Jordan, but throughout the country.
• Assad is unlikely to meet demands that include lifting the 48-
year-old emergency law and releasing all political prisoners.
• Do you think he does?
The Arab Spring
• The crisis in Syria was prompted by protests in mid-March
2011 calling for the release of political prisoners.
• National security forces responded to widespread, initially
peaceful demonstrations with brutal violence. From summer
2011 onwards, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad refused to
halt attacks and implement the meaningful reforms
demanded by protestors.
• July 2011 accounts emerged from witnesses, victims, the
media, and civil society that government forces had subjected
civilians to arbitrary detention, torture, and the deployment
and use of heavy artillery.
MID MARCH 2011
• By mid-March, the ASSAD regime started responding with
violence, shooting a few protesters, and their funerals became
new protest marches.
• Assad initially sent a delegation to apologize for deaths in
Daraa, his forces fired into a crowd on March 20, leading
protesters to burn down a local Baathist party office.
• The protesters increasingly call for democracy in Syria and an
end to four decades of "emergency rule" by decree.
End of March 2011
• More people were killed at massive protests near
the Omari Mosque in late March, as the protests starting
topping 100,000 people.
• The regime released 260 political prisoners in late March in
attempt to appease the protests
• Protests continued into April with more police shootings and
arrests of protesters.
April 21 2011
• After the alleged end to emergency rule on April 21,
enormous protests across 20 towns on April 22 led to further
• People were infuriated by continued police killing of
protesters, called more and more for an end to the Assad
regime rather than merely political reforms towards
• This is when the people became more hostile calling for the
ASSAD REGIME TO END.. No more playing “nice” by asking for
democratic rights that would not be received…
The regime stopped playing
“nice” MAY 2011• Dara’a was surrounded by tanks in late April with thousands of
troops, first snipers on rooftops. Over 250 killed and hundreds
of protesters arrested in their homes. Food supplies
to Dara’a were cut off through May in effort to starve
• Douma, a poor suburb of Damascus, was also encircled and
political arrests carried out at hundreds of homes.
• May Homs was also besieged with police carrying out
waves out house searches and mass arrests. The same pattern
was repeated all over syria.
• The bodies of arrested protesters began to come back to their
families dead, and showing signs of torture -- including horrific
injuries to teenage boys (eyes gouged out, kneecaps broken,
genital mutilation, etc).
The Ruthless regime
• A UN report later assessed that thousands of children were
arrested and detained with adults by the regime in 2011 and
2012. Many were tortured. Many children were also killed and
maimed by army attacks on anti-government protests.
• Soldiers who refused to fire on protesters began to be
executed by the regime.
• By the end of May the regime was using machine guns on
homes in Talbisha.
• It was at this point that some protesters understandably
began to call for armed resistance.
• Mass funerals were held in early June, but by later in 2011,
funerals for dead protesters had to be held at night or in
secret to avoid attacks by government snipers targeting
mourners. Yes that's correct: Assad and Shi'a militia
commanders instructed snipers to shoot a Sunnis trying to
bury their dead.
June 2011 iran and shi’ia join
• By mid-June 2011, helicopter gunship attacks on northern
towns had sent thousands of refugees towards the Turkish
border. Iranian elite troops had joined their Shi'ia comrades to
help the regime's attacks. Regime troops initially tried to
prevent refugees from crossing into Turkey.
Mid june snc joins in
• By mid-June, the Syrian National Council had been organized
to lead now self-proclaimed "revolution" forces against the
• Revolution begins to fight back.
• Enormous protests in Hama, over 200,000 near the end of
June, still produced no response other than attacks by the
• On July 1, over 500,000 protested in Hama, with many
thousands also protesting in Damascus. But the regime sent
tanks towards Hama in response.
• July 7: the French and US ambassadors joined a similar protest
of over half a million in Hama.
The world condemns the
• The numbers grew even larger in protests throughout Syria
during July, finally prompting UN condemnation of human
rights violations by the regime in early August.
• On August 8, the King of Saudi Arabia condemned the Assad
regime, withdrew ambassador.
• Egypt also condemned the Assad regime, but Assad began to
call all the native protestors in Syria "terrorists" and "foreign
agents," a rhetorical device that continues to this day
Free syrian army – FSA
• On July 29, a group of defecting army officials formed the
Free Syrian army to respond to the regime's violence. This was
after the death toll among protesters had reached over 5000.
The FSA grew to 20,000 strong by December, and double this
by July 2012.
• Had no single leadership until December 2012
• Was never able to control all the groups fighting against
Assad; Its control has weakened as it lost ground after spring
August *hi russia
• Canada, France, the US, Germany, and UK all
called for Assad to resign. But Putin began to
ramp up his support, flying in more arms and
supplies to the Syrian army.
• Russia and China began pressing western nations
not to intervene in Syria's "internal affairs" -- the
code word for absolute state sovereignty no
matter what the extreme violations of individual
FSA vs. NDF and Syrian Army
• By September 2011, the FSA and Syrian army were engaged in
a pitched battle in Rastan. Here as elsewhere the FSA would
be forced to withdraw.
Sept 2011 - November 2012
assad regime drops bombs
on civilian apartments• A pitched battle for control of Homs, followed by a siege from
Assad forces surrounding rebel areas, bombed houses and
helicopters dropped barrel bombs on apartment buildings.
• Tareq-al-bab was bombed on Dec. 28, 2012.
• This strategy set a pattern throughout the war; with whole
families buried beneath ruins, people including children dying
after days of terrible suffering under piles of rubble that could
not be moved by rescuers in time.
• The targeting of civilian apartments and houses in these
attacks is intentional, not merely a result of missed targets by
fast-flying aircraft. Increasingly from mid-2012, Assad's
helicopters have dropped barrel bombs directly on housing.
The un brings in Kofi Annan
april – july 2012
• Former secretary general of the united nations 50 years
working for the UN
• April-July 2012: while Kofi Annan was trying to broker a
ceasefire on behalf of the UN, the regime stepped up attacks
and large-scale executions. Alawite militias with the blessing
of the regime began attacking vulnerable targets, killing Sunni
civilians by scores at a time
• International disarray over the bloody crisis in Syria has been
starkly underlined when the UN envoy announced that Annan
was resigning because of the failure of what he said had
become a "mission impossible".
Sunni rebels 2012
• But by late 2012, many fighters from other Sunni nations had
come to Syria to help the rebellion, including some from more
extremist (jihadist or fundamentalist) groups such as the
• Al Nusra front and the Islamic Front and later ISIS (the "Islamic
State in Syria" or ISIL = "the Islamic State in the Levant." The
Free Syrian Army units found themselves working alongside,
and increasing in tension with, other groups not under their
ISIL vs. FSA vs. Assad
• ·By early 2012, despite its break with Al Qaeda (which
considered ISIS too extremist!) ISIS had doubled its ranks to
• This made great PR for Assad and forced the Free Syrian army
and other rebel groups originating from the moderates who
led the rebellion to fight foreign Sunni jihadists on one side
while fighting Assad's forces on the other. The FSA advances
thus slowed in late 2012.
ISIL, SUNNI in Iraq
• Some of these ISIS leaders had been military in the Sunni
regime of Hussein in Iraq, and had been released from US
prisoner-of-war camps in Iraq (famously including Al-Bagdadi,
the top commander of ISIS).
• April 2014, other jihadi leaders who helped populate ISIS had
been invited in by Assad's government itself as part of various
strategies, including sending extreme Salafists into Iraq to fight
the US forces there. Assad was especially concerned that after
Hussein's Ba’athist regime was ousted, that his own Baathist
regime would be next.
Creation of isil – al-qaida said
they were too violent and
parted way #truestory• ISIL – genesis owed to Assad regime; Assad provided training and
support to al-Qaida in Iraq during US occupation. US left and
control Shifted to the Iraq Shia government who persecuted the
Iraqi Sunni population.
• ISIL – Shia government of Iraq started leading brutal attacks
against the sunni population. Al-Qaida was recruited to defend
Iraq’s Sunni's. Assad trained Al-Qaida to help support them.
• faction of Al-Qaida currently under the leadership of Abu-Bakr-al-
Baghdadi declared along with his al-Qaida faction to be the Islamic
state in Iraq and the Levant IS – defeated the Iraqi Army –
liberated prisoners, robbed banks and armories spreading fear and
terror. ISIL was disavowed by Ayman al-Zawahirir – Al- Qaida leader
at the time – too much brutality and violence but now ISIL is more
prominent than al-Qaida.
• But 2013, then, Western governments had waited too long to
the moderate Sunnis, leaving extremist Sunni elements to fill
the void. Ever since, this has given opponents of intervention a
new reason to hold back: now any arms sent to the rebels
could fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda-linked groups.
• Extremists were coming to syria from all over.
• Kurds in northeastern Syria would eventually fight against
some of these Sunni extremist groups in 2013 too, while
remaining neutral towards the Assad regime.
• This rise of extremist groups not allied with the original (more
moderate Sunni) rebels in Syria is partly a result of the rage
occasioned by Assad's atrocities. But it is also partly an
intentional strategy by Assad to make it look like his
opponents are all Al-Qaeda-style "terrorists," as the Assad
regime constantly calls all of its opponents.
• 2013 March - Syrian warplanes bomb the northern city of
Raqqa after rebels seize control. US and Britain pledge non-
military aid to rebels.
April 2013 hezbollah
• Hezbollah Enters Qusayr and massacres begin. By April 2013,
Hezbollah sent over 7000 fighter into Syria from Lebanon to
help the Assad regime
• Rebels later retook Qusayr, but by June the regime had full
control of the town again.
• The atrocities against Sunni civilians who were stuck in the
town were extreme. Similar massacres of innocent Sunni
civilians followed when Hezbollah fighters and Alawite militias
entered Al Bayda and then Baniyas. The BBC showed video
footage taken by the attackers for bragging purposes in
which scores of men and boys shot execution-style and all
lined up for counting. The videos also show many families shot
at point blank in their homes, and many other homes torched
with the residents still inside.
• Chemical attack and the West's Abortive Response. During
2013 the regime had started using Scud missiles to attack
rebel positions. The bitterest fighting during the turning point
of the war (going against the rebels) involved the launching of
chemical weapons-loaded missile at the Ghouda suburbs
outside Damascus to clear out opposition before a regime
offensive into the area. The US reported 1429 killed in this
Usa responds; French air
• The American government responded by pushing the charge
of chemical weapons use as the UN investigation began.
During the last days of August 2013, the tide almost turned
back against the regime as a result.
• In France, President Hollande finally called for air strikes on
Assad. Obama agreed an went on television to say the red line
had been crossed and to call for a military response. But he
first looked to support from the UK to complete the deal. The
British Prime Minister David Cameron called for a vote in
Parliament, fairly confident of winning by a slim majority.
• In a move that should be remembered by history, the leader of the
British Labor party Edward Miliband, sensing a chance to embarrass
Prime Minister Cameron decided to hijack the effort to unite a
coalition to stop Assad.
• Taking Cameron by surprise, he pulled out all stops to convert as
many Labor, Liberal and some Tory MPs to his side to vote against
intervention. He was joined by Crispin Blunt, former Tory head of
Military Affairs, who opposed intervention even after the chemical
• Cameron lost by 4 votes, while several of his own MPs including a
couple ministers had not made it back to Parliament for the
emergency session, not thinking they would be needed. Then on
August 30, perhaps belatedly realizing that he had destroyed
the best chance to stop Assad in the history of the
war, Miliband cynically suggested that we should find "other ways"
to help the Syrian victims.
• Obama publicly said that he might call for a vote in Congress
• Public opposition in a war-weary US mounted and it became
evident that more Republicans than initially expected might
vote against air strikes on Assad -- despite the fact that the
entire foreign policy establishment from Hilary Clinton, John
Kerry, Susan Rice and other leaders in the State dept had long
favored air strikes.
Chemical war, Putin, Obama
• Putin proposed broker a Syrian handover of their chemical weapons,
giving Obama a way out (given Syria was an ally and the USA going
to war would be rather messy)
• That process of handing over the Syrian stockpile began in late 2013
but since then, the Assad regime has simply shifted to using chlorine
and mustard gas attacks instead, and chemical warheads are still
being launched by Assad's forces to this day.
• the Assad regime and Russia insist that as of mid-April 2014, 65% of
the chemical weapons have been processed and moved to a
Mediterranean sea port, but this port is still in Syria.
• In April 2014, a few US military commanders used this as a basis for
arguing against Kerry's renewed calls for air strikes, insisting that we
need to give more time for the chemical weapons to be moved out
first. Of course the regime knows this and is stalling on the chemical
weapons for precisely this reason.
• The Russians could have explained to Assad that further use
of chemical weapons would increase pressure for
international action against the Syrian regime which not even
the Russians might be able to prevent and that, therefore, his
chemical weapons had in fact been rendered useless. But by
agreeing to give them up, Assad could appear reasonable and
improve his chances of survival during the long and
complicated cleanup mission. Sometimes, a lizard has to lose
its tail to survive.
• What do you think?
The regime shows support of
Anti-war sentiment in USA
• The regime, emboldened by the West's capitulation to anti-
war public sentiment, began tremendous assaults on Sunni
cities in late 2013.
• "Syrian doctor: 'I lost count of the amputations' after assaults
Assad and hezbollah
• Emboldened the failed efforts of NATO powers to organize air
strikes on Assad's forces, and by continuing Russian material
support, the Assad regime and its Hezbollah allies (with
paramilitary gangs of Alawite fighters and some militias from
Iraq too) made progress against the rebels in late 2013.
• Assad government made no substantive offers at all during the
Geneva peace conference organized by the US and Russia in
Jan. 2014. As Ambassador Ford has explained, the
representatives of the FSA and other more moderate
nationalist groups opposed to Assad made a substantial offer,
in writing, at that Geneva conference to accept a transitional
government without any immediate requirement for Assad to
FSA asks for peace at
• Yet the offer was ignored, and Russia and Iran put no pressure
on Assad's regime to negotiate in good faith, because Assad's
forces were doing so much better after the failed effort to
coordinate a western intervention in Sept. 2013.
Rebels fighting off Assad and
• The rebels fell into more disarray, with the FSA having to fight
off extremists from ISIS who came into the void left by
western nations via non-intervention and took control of
many areas east of Syria's largest cities.
• In June, having already taken Raqqa and gained control of
almost a third of Syria, ISIS launched its major offensive into
Iraq, conquering much of the Sunni areas in the northwest and
pushing into Mosul, a major Sunni and Kurd city in the north.
Several divisions of Iraqi forces melted away before this
advance or perhaps 10,000 ISIS fighters, largely because too
many army officers were primarily loyal
to Malaki (the Shi'a prime minister) and cared little for Sunni
and Kurd areas of the nation.
• ISIL is making its way through territory while the Assad regime
and rebels are distracted by their own war…
Foreign Military Intervention
• A U.S. military intervention with possible NATO participation
(or at least that of the United Kingdom and France) could
change the course of events in favor of the rebels. But the
dynamics of Assad’s foreign support (RUSSIA) coupled with
the disunity and outright conflict among the rebel forces,
suggest that the chances of ending the fighting in Syria are
next to none.
• Unlikely that foreign powers would be willing to make the
investment necessary to oust Assad with military force. More
likely, any foreign military campaign would focus on reducing
Afghanistan and Iraq keep the
USA from intervening through
military intervention ? Or the fear
of isil taking syria in place of
assad? Or is it fear of a world war?
(russia backs syria)• The hard lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus new
variables in Syria, complicate things for countries like the
United States that have openly declared their desire to
remove Assad without articulating a convincing strategy of
how this might be accomplished or what might take Assad’s
• Caliphate' in east
• Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants declare "caliphate" in
territory from Aleppo to eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.
• 2014 August - Tabqa airbase, near the northern city of Raqqa,
falls to Islamic State militants, who now control entire Raqqa
• 2014 September - United States and five Arab countries
launch air strikes against Islamic State around Aleppo and
Russia air strikes
• 2015 May - Islamic State fighters seize the ancient city of
Palmyra in central Syria, raising concerns that they might
destroy the pre-Islamic World Heritage site. They also capture
last border crossing to Iraq. Jaish al-Fatah takes control of Idlib
Province, putting pressure on government's coastal stronghold
• 2015 June - Islamic State and Kurdish fighters intensify fighting
between Raqqa and Turkish border. Kurds take Ain Issa and
border town of Tal Abyad, Islamic State attacks Kobane and
seizes part of Hassakeh, the main city in north-eastern Syria.
Russia “helps” rebels? Oh hi
• 2015 September - Russia carries out first air strikes in Syria,
saying it targets the Islamic State group. But West and Syrian
opposition say it overwhelmingly targets anti-Assad rebels
• 2015 December - Britain joins US-led bombing raids against
Islamic State in wake of Paris suicide bombing attacks.
• Syrian Army allows rebels to evacuate remaining area of
Homs, returning Syria's third-largest city to government
control after four years.
• Constrained by concerns about defections, Assad relies on his
elite Alawite units, overwhelming firepower, and sectarian
• The rebels cannot be crushed, but they depend on others to
bring down Assad (TOO disorganized; not cohesive as a
• Pro-government militias are likely to play an increasingly
dominant role in the conflict.
• Islamic hardliners will increasingly dominate the rebellion.
• For the foreseeable future, no government will be able to rule
all of what was the modern state of Syria.
• A political settlement is unlikely.
• Assad's willingness to surrender his chemical weapons will
neither end the conflict nor weaken his regime.
• The sectarian undercurrents that divide the country and the
region have become the central pathology of the Syrian
conflict — they will impede its resolution.
• Syria's national institutions are eroding — they are being
replaced by local and foreign loyalties.
• Foreign fighters flocking to Syria pose a future international
• The global powers of US, European Union and Russia all play a
role in the Syrian civil war. They fear that the conflict could
spill over the border to affect their neighboring countries like
Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan, creating a regional disaster.
Syria: battle between good
and evil? #westernmedia
• The narrative that dominates American politics certainly
paints the struggle as a black and white: between freedom-
lovers and bloodthirsty authoritarians.
• But in reality, the struggle should be described only in a smear
• The story of Syria is not that of a unified rebel army, acting on
a popular mandate against an unsupported tyrant.
• Syria…the story of a multi-layered, kaleidoscopic civil war.
• Rebel groups are too scattered, fighting battles locally for
territory and regional reasons
• Ethno-sectarian war between 2 major ethnic groups and sub
groups who constantly switch sides
• Assad regime versus rebel groups
• Jihadists seeking to take Damascus (capital of Syria)
• If the Assad regime is overthrown and ISIL takes Damascus
due to Syria physiography and location in the Middle East this
could make it hard to take ISIL down.
• Nations with self interests… *waves at Russia*
• 6 major issues! And a bunch of minor issues!
• Also the regional, ethnic and religious groups of Syria will
never live in peace again… loss of HOPE for peace.
• If defeating the Islamic State is important, then it has to
become the overriding priority, allying with any outside forces
that will join the fight. If Assad falls and jihadis take
Damascus, that would be worse than if Assad stays.
• This doesn’t mean providing Assad with any support, but
allowing him to create an Alawite enclave in Syria, of a kind
that is already forming. The Kurds and moderate Syrians are
creating their own safe spaces as well. Even if the civil war
ends and a country called Syria remains, these groups will not
live all intermingled again.
• Of Syria’s myriad ethnic and religious elements—Salafis, Shias,
Kurds, and secularists wish to dispose of President Bashar al-
• MOST are gripped by the constant fears of a post-Assad state,
and also wish to disassociate themselves from one another.
• The once anti-autocratic rebellion has devolved into an all-
encompassing war of ethnicities and ideologies.
• Through this devolution, the rebels have destroyed all
prospects of a pluralistic, post-Assad democracy, rendering the
West’s pro-resistance interventionist designs both unrealistic
in their goals and immoral in their effects.
•“But there is no chance of
peace, anyway it will be very
difficult for people to live
together in the future, we
know the Alawites, Shias, Druze
and Christians sided with the