Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Syrian Regime Fights to the Death as Sectarian Divisions Deepen

As the al-Assad regime has continues its efforts to crush the rebellion against it, comes news that another key rebel stronghold has fallen to Syrian forces.  It appears that the Syrian military has captured the city of Idlib in Northwest Syria near the Turkish border, depriving the rebels of a key stronghold and conduit of weapons to the Syrian rebellion through Turkey.

The brutality of the mostly Alawite Shia regime demonstrates the extent to which both the Alawites and other minorities fear the result of a victory by the largely Sunni rebellion.  The New York Times had an excellent article recently detailing these fears.  Here is an excellent excert from the Times piece:
Abu Ali recalled hearing anti-Shiite slogans chanted in Homs by rebels in opposition to Syria’s alliance with Iran, which, like Iraq, is a majority-Shiite state in a region that is predominantly Sunni. He heard calls for “Christians to go to Beirut,” and “Alawites to the grave.” 
Christians and other minorities also fear the impact of a Sunni victory.  None of this justifies the brutality of the al-Assad regime, but it does demonstrate the extent to which the regime and its supporters perceive they are literally fighting for their lives and survival. 

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