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Syria's Developments.

One of the most prominent Syrian intellectuals now living in Paris laments the fact that "more than half of Syria is destroyed and a big part of Syria's population [of 23m] is made up of homeless creatures - about 3.5 million as refugees in camps out of the country and almost 4.5 million others having fled to safer parts of the country - and 250,000 human souls have been killed just for one animal to stay in power". He was referring to "the Alawite/Safawi tyrant", Dr Bashar al-Assad, who was raised by a father, Gen Hafez al-Assad, who "made a saint of Niccolo Machiavelli". He says the Assads are "the most violent thuggish clan in the Alawite community". (Bashar graduated as a physician from the Damascus University's Medical School in 1988 and worked as such in the SAF. In 1992 he graduated in ophthalmology from the UK. After his elder brother Bassel died of a "car crash" in 1994, he was groomed by his father to rule by any means known to Gen Hafez al-Assad - "all the tricks and terror tools under the sun").

Yet, the intellectual says, "Bashar turned out to be the worst of all those idiots who were around his father". He adds: "Rather than getting the Iranians to be at his service, he made them his masters, and now he is such a heavy burden on them that they are ready to sell him out - if they can. But he is also a burden on [Russia's Neo-Soviet President] Putin and they cannot afford to upset him because he can sell this animal out at a higher price". The EU and US have just added new sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

The SAF's structure now looks more like a skeleton than anything else. When the anti-Assad revolution began in mid-March 2011, the SAF had a man-power of almost 350,000. Today, it has less than 160,000 - a bit more than Hizbullah's when it is fully mobilised in Lebanon and abroad. So, the QF and Hizbullah are turning the SAF into a militia consisting of Alawites and other non-Sunni Syrians. QF's and Hizbullah's leaderships, however, are worried that more Alawite soldiers and officers are leaving. So this militia by end-2015 could be reduced to less than 100,000, while anti-Assad Alawite forces could have a larger structure. The anti-Assad Alawite fighters now number about 60,000 and most of them are not professional. So the less wishful thinkers in IRGC's command in Tehran are worried that Syria's north-western enclave of the Alawite community is more likely to develop an anti-Iran force than being under the thump of Gen Suleimani, who has named the militia "The National Defence Force (NDF). But the UK-based anti-Assad monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says more than 24,000 NDF volunteers have died in combat.

There are about 3m Alawites in Syria who span the socio-economic spectrum in Syria, and most of them hate Iran's Safawi movement for having used this minority as "sand-bags for the theocracy". In July 2014, anti-Assad Alawites launched a "Speak Up Against Assad" campaign, complaining of the high numbers of deaths among Alawites during the war. In October, "The Syrian Alawite Congregation" publicly urged the minority to "take a stand against Assad's he believes they are most loyal to him and his clan".

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Publication:APS Diplomat News Service
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Dec 22, 2014
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