How a Victorious Bashar al-Assad Is Changing Syria

(Economist-UK) A new Syria is emerging from the rubble of war, with the government supported by Syria's victorious minorities - Christians, Shias and Alawites - who banded together against the rebels who are nearly all Sunni. More than half of the country's population of 22 million has been displaced - 6.5 million inside Syria and over 6 million abroad. The authorities seem intent on maintaining the new demography. Four years after the government regained Homs, residents still need a security clearance to return and rebuild their homes. Few Sunnis get one. Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the Lebanese Shia leader of Hizbullah, hang from Sunni mosques. The regime has neither the money nor the manpower to rebuild. Aleppo's pre-war population of 3.2 million has shrunk to under 2 million. Men left first, many fleeing the draft and their likely dispatch to the front. As in Europe after the First World War, Syria's workforce is now dominated by women. There are female plumbers, taxi-drivers and bartenders. Assad seems focused less on recovery than rewarding loyalists with property left behind by Sunnis. He has distributed thousands of empty homes to Shia militiamen.

2021-12-27 00:00:00

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