Tag Archives: Alawites

What To Do About Syria: Sectarianism And The Minorities

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on December 24, 2014

The Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs in Raqqa City

The Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs in Raqqa City

In the last few days I’ve been asked a lot about my longstanding view that the beginning of a Western strategy in Syria is the removal of Bashar al-Assad. The question has come from various angles and been phrased in various ways but it always boils down to: “What comes next?”

The best response I have seen to this comes from Thomas Nichols: “When someone says ‘tell me how it ends,’ it’s another way of saying: ‘I just don’t happen to like this particular case for intervention,’ for whatever reason.” Continue reading

Will The Alawis Break With Assad?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on October 12, 2014

A grisly brood: The Assad family

A grisly brood: The Assad family

Last Thursday, in Akrama, an Alawi section of Homs City, there was the most extraordinary scene: Alawite anti-Assad protests. A twin bombing at a local school—reported as a suicide bombing by the regime, though there is no evidence for this—had massacred fifty Alawi civilians, most of them pupils. Annexing the slogans of the revolution, the Alawis took to the streets to demand the removal of Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi. “The people want to topple the governor,” people shouted, a conscious echo of the “Arab Spring” chant, a-shab yurid izkat an-nizam (the people want to topple the regime). Continue reading

Ghouta: One Year On

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on August 21, 2014

Some of the children killed by the Assad regime's CW attack on Aug. 21, 2013

Some of the children killed by the Assad regime’s CW attack on Aug. 21, 2013

Can it really be twelve whole months since Bashar al-Assad gassed to death more than 1,400 people in a morning? I happened to be in London when the attack on the Damascus suburbs of Ghouta took place, exactly a year ago. London has become (in)famous recently for mass-protests that throw around the word “genocide“—against Israel’s (in my view ill-thought out) recent response to HAMAS’ rocket fire. London had no time for Syria’s grief: Continue reading

The Coming Fall of Homs

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 4, 2014

This afternoon it is being reported that a deal has been struck over Homs City, allowing 2,250 people, mostly rebels, to evacuate. Continue reading

Why Climate Change Had No Impact on the Syrian Uprising

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 1, 2014

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JOHN WREFORD/DEMOTIX/CORBIS

It is inevitable that when a complex situation erupts everybody will try to map their own specialities onto it. At the present time, where environmentalism is such a primary Western concern, it was perhaps always likely that the Syrian war would attract those determined to see this menace in every corner. It has happened before, with Darfur Continue reading

Use Force To Break The Terror-Sieges in Syria

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 1, 2014

Last September, a Save the Children report noted that children in suburbs of Damascus besieged by the regime were subsisting on “leaves, nuts, [and] fruits”. Throughout October it would become clear that a deliberate terror-famine was being waged by the regime against these rebellious districts, to starve them into submission. Continue reading

The Sahel Front

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on March 28, 2014

A map of the Five Fronts command, an early effort at rebel unification that split the country into five strategic zones. The Sahel or Coast Front is also called the Central Front

A map of the Five Fronts command, an early effort at rebel unification that split the country into five strategic zones. The Sahel or Coast Front is also called the Central Front

On March 21, a major offensive began by anti-regime forces in the north of Latakia, an area where the regime has long been unable to re-fasten its rule. Continue reading