May 5, 2017

THERE IS NO SYRIA:

The Shi'a Revival (MOHANAD HAGE ALI, May 04, 2017, Carnegie-Diwan)

Four years after Lebanon's Hezbollah first appeared in Syria, and following the military victory in Aleppo last December, there is great change in Syria's Shi'a Twelver community. The community makes up no more than 1-2 percent of the total Syrian population, a few hundred thousand people at most, but has been largely militarized since 2012. It is now demanding a greater share of power, alongside the Alawi community to whom the Assad family belongs.

Iraqi Shi'a militias, under the banner of Liwa Abul al-Fadl al-Abbas, first emerged in the predominantly Shi'a suburb of Sayyida Zeinab in Damascus. There, thousands of Shi'a pilgrims and refugees, most of them from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, had settled starting in the early 1980s, some receiving Syrian nationality.

As Iraq's battle against the Islamic State raged after 2014, many Iraqi fighters returned home, while others joined Iraqi militias fighting in Syria, such as Harakat al-Nujaba. This gave Syria's Shi'a an opportunity to expand their independence under the umbrella of Iran-led armed groups. As a sign of their emerging self-empowerment, the Syrian Shi'a militias established last year a unit named the 313 Special Operations battalion.

Posted by at May 5, 2017 6:47 AM

  

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