Assad Depopulated Sunni Areas of Syria

(Foreign Affairs) Tarek Osman - The war in Syria has fundamentally altered the country's demographics. Over the past three years, the Assad regime and its allies have successfully reduced the presence of Sunnis in the areas closest to the big urban centers, primarily Damascus and the coast. These are areas where Christians and Alawites (Assad's sect) have a strong presence and where the bulk of the country's trade takes place. Assad's goal was to create a geographically contiguous area with a significantly lower Sunni share of the population. Changing the country's demographics by reducing the size of the Sunni majority is the regime's best shot at making minority Alawite rule more sustainable. In reality, however, it will not last. A significant percentage of Syrians blame the regime for hundreds of thousands of deaths, in addition to the dislocation of millions. These feelings run deep and will fuel widespread anger for years to come. The remaining Sunni majority will never accept overhauling Syria's historic Sunni identity. And if some of the millions of Syrian refugees now in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey return to Syria (a likely scenario), they, too, will not accept the identity the regime is trying to create.

2017-08-01 00:00:00

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