A report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights on the nature of the geographic and demographic situation in the Syrian regime’s and the Free Army’s areas of control on the ground in light of the peaceful and armed revolutionary movements
It can be difficult to comprehend the map of areas of control in light of the rapid developments. Nonetheless, it is conceivable to say that after 18 months into the revolution, Syrian regime forces and Free Syrian Army fighters have split the Syrian lands. With time, the scope of heated clashes and heavy bombardment has expanded around major cities, with the Syrian regime being very far from making good with its promises on a military victory, and the ever-changing realities of various areas in Syria that are called “cleansed” areas, sometimes, or “liberated” areas at other times.
Occasionally, the Syrian regime would declare that they have cleansed an area more than once especially in Damascus suburbs governorate that surrounds the capital Damascus, which is the case in Douma city, the towns of Eastern and Western Ghouta, and Damascus’s southern and eastern neighborhoods. The “cleansing”, in the Syrian regime’s case, means that these areas have been raided and subjected to wide military operations during which savage massacres were committed, which results in destroying more than 60% of these cities for the sake of killing the opposition’s activities, whether it was peaceful or armed. However, this is not enough to stop the Free Syrian Army from returning more intensified and resolved. More importantly, the idea of returning gets firmer for the residents and rebels, as it is motivated by the desire to retaliate in the wake of the barbaric massacres the Syrian regime perpetrated during the raids, where more civilian find themselves joining the Free Syrian Army, and more regime soldiers defect from the regime, which can be drawn out from a sign that was held in a demonstration in Aleppo, saying to the head of the regime Bashar Al Assad: “When a person’s family is killed, his home is wrecked, and his work is no more, what else he has but to volunteer in the Free Army’s ranks.”
This report tries to shed light on the nature of the areas that are controlled by the Syrian regime and the areas that are controlled by the Free Army. But first, we should talk about the demographic components of the Syrian people, and the structure within the Syrian regime army and the Free Army, which will be followed by a detailed look at the military authorities that are controlling the Syrian lands, and what these area’s residents think of the revolution and the Syrian regime.
The Demographic components in Syria
Syrian population is estimated at approximately 22,000,000 that the Sunni Muslims represent 74% while Alawites, Shiites and Ismailis represent 13%. The Druze represent 3% and the Christians are estimated to be 10%. And between the religious minorities, the Yazidi community which can be found in al Jazeera area northeast of Syria.
Moreover, the main sectarian minorities in Syria are Kurds Arman and Turkman which represent 8.5%, 4% and 3% respectively, in addition to a number of Circassians in which most of Kurds, Turkman and Circassians are Sunni Muslims while Arman are Christians that makes them ethic and religious minority at the same time.