In Syria's War, Alawites Pay Heavy Price for Loyalty to Assad

(Telegraph-UK) Ruth Sherlock - As their sons die in droves on the front lines, and economic privileges - subsidies and patronage - cease, Alawites increasingly feel they are tools and not the beneficiaries of the regime. Alawites from the coastal province of Latakia, the sect's heartland, have told the Telegraph of how they are now trapped between jihadists who consider them apostates, and a remote and corrupt regime. With a population of two million, a tenth of Syria's population, the Alawites have 250,000 men of fighting age. Today as many as one third are dead, local residents and Western diplomats say. "Every day there [in Latakia province] at least 30 men returned from the front lines in coffins," said a businessman in Latakia. Pro-government fighting groups had over 22,000 soldiers and militiamen killed in 2014 alone. There are reports that mothers set up roadblocks at the entrances to some mountain villages to prevent the army from forcibly taking their sons to the military draft.

2015-04-08 00:00:00

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