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NK19191
02-25-2014, 07:52 PM
Modern Syria is located along the eastern Mediterranean Sea, bordering Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq.

Before the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement traced out an awkward assortment of nation-states in the Middle East, the name Syria was used by merchants, politicians and warriors alike to describe a stretch of land enclosed by the Taurus Mountains to the north, the Mediterranean to the west, the Sinai Peninsula to the south and the desert to the east. If you were sitting in 18th-century Paris contemplating the abundance of cotton and spices on the other side of the Mediterranean, you would know this region as the Levant -- its Latin root "levare" meaning "to raise," from where the sun would rise in the east. If you were an Arab merchant traveling the ancient caravan routes in the Hejaz, or modern-day Saudi Arabia, facing the sunrise to the east, you would have referred to this territory in Arabic as Bilad al-Sham, or the "land to the left" of Islam's holy sites on the Arabian Peninsula.



Whether viewed from the east or the west, the north or the south, Syria will always find itself in an unfortunate position surrounded by much stronger powers. The rich, fertile lands straddling Asia Minor and Europe around the Sea of Marmara to the north, the Nile River Valley to the south and the land nestled between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers to the east give rise to larger and more cohesive populations. When a power in control of these lands went roaming for riches farther afield, they inevitably came through Syria, where blood was spilled, races were intermixed, religions were negotiated and goods were traded at a frenzied and violent pace.




Consequently, only twice in Syria's pre-modern history could this region claim to be a sovereign and independent state: during the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty, based out of Antioch (the city of Antakya in modern-day Turkey) from 301 to 141 B.C., and during the Umayyad Caliphate, based out of Damascus, from A.D. 661 to 749. Syria was often divided or subsumed by its neighbors, too weak, internally fragmented and geographically vulnerable to stand its own ground. Such is the fate of a borderland.


Unlike the Nile Valley, Syria's geography lacks a strong, natural binding element to overcome its internal fissures. An aspiring Syrian state not only needs a coastline to participate in sea trade and guard against sea powers, but also a cohesive hinterland to provide food and security. Syria's rugged geography and patchwork of minority sects have generally been a major hindrance to this imperative.


Syria's long and extremely narrow coastline abruptly transforms into a chain of mountains and plateaus. Throughout this western belt, pockets of minorities, including Alawites, Christians and Druze, have sequestered themselves, equally distrustful of outsiders from the west as they are of local rulers to the east, but ready to collaborate with whomever is most likely to guarantee their survival. The long mountain barrier then descends into broad plains along the Orontes River Valley and the Bekaa Valley before rising sharply once again along the Anti-Lebanon range, the Hawran plateau and the Jabal al-Druze mountains, providing more rugged terrain for persecuted sects to hunker down and arm themselves.



Just west of the Anti-Lebanon mountains, the Barada river flows eastward, giving rise to a desert oasis also known as Damascus. Protected from the coast by two mountain chains and long stretches of desert to the east, Damascus is essentially a fortress city and a logical place to make the capital. But for this fortress to be a capital worthy of regional respect, it needs a corridor running westward across the mountains to Mediterranean ports along the ancient Phoenician (or modern-day Lebanese) coast, as well as a northward route across the semi-arid steppes, through Homs, Hama and Idlib, to Aleppo.


The saddle of land from Damascus to the north is relatively fluid territory, making it an easier place for a homogenous population to coalesce than the rugged and often recalcitrant coastline. Aleppo sits alongside the mouth of the Fertile Crescent, a natural trade corridor between Anatolia to the north, the Mediterranean (via the Homs Gap) to the west and Damascus to the south. While Aleppo has historically been vulnerable to dominant Anatolian powers and can use its relative distance to rebel against Damascus from time to time, it remains a vital economic hub for any Damascene power.



Finally, jutting east from the Damascus core lie vast stretches of desert, forming a wasteland between Syria and Mesopotamia. This sparsely populated route has long been traveled by small, nomadic bands of men -- from caravan traders to Bedouin tribesmen to contemporary jihadists -- with few attachments and big ambitions.


The demographics of this land have fluctuated greatly, depending on the prevailing power of the time. Christians, mostly Eastern Orthodox, formed the majority in Byzantine Syria. The Muslim conquests that followed led to a more diverse blend of religious sects, including a substantial Shiite population. Over time, a series of Sunni dynasties emanating from Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and Asia Minor made Syria the Sunni-majority region that it is today. While Sunnis came to heavily populate the Arabian Desert and the saddle of land stretching from Damascus to Aleppo, the more protective coastal mountains were meanwhile peppered with a mosaic of minorities. The typically cult-like minorities forged fickle alliances and were always on the lookout for a more distant sea power they could align with to balance against the dominant Sunni forces of the hinterland.


The French, who had the strongest colonial links to the Levant, were masters of the minority manipulation strategy, but that approach also came with severe consequences that endure to this day. In Lebanon, the French favored Maronite Christians, who came to dominate Mediterranean sea trade out of bustling port cities such as Beirut at the expense of poorer Sunni Damascene merchants. France also plucked out a group known as the Nusayris living along the rugged Syrian coast, rebranded them as Alawites to give them religious credibility and stacked them in the Syrian military during the French mandate.


When the French mandate ended in 1943, the ingredients were already in place for major demographic and sectarian upheaval, culminating in the bloodless coup by Hafiz al Assad in 1970 that began the highly irregular Alawite reign over Syria.

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the SUN child
02-25-2014, 08:52 PM
http://www.stratfor.com/sites/default/files/main/images/Syria_ethnic-map_3.jpg
Those 'Alawites' northwest of Aleppo aren't Arabs, but ethnic Kurds (Alevi & Ezdi). Efrin Canton in Rojava (West Kurdistan) is an official autonomous region of Rojava.
The rightful Kurdish inhabitants of Efrin do only recognize Kurdish politicians that represent them as the rightful authority in that area. With other words Kurdish people do control those area and and gave authority to Kurdish politicians, representatives to govern their region.

http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2014/1/syriakurd1033.htm

the SUN child
02-25-2014, 08:58 PM
Syria, like Iran, Turkey and Iraq are FAILED states!

There’s no legitimacy for them to exist and sooner or later all those FAILED states will collapse. It's better sooner than later because all people in the region suffer because of the Islamo-fascist regimes in those FAILED states, not only Kurds suffer, but also Persians, Turks and Arabs.
The sooner independent Great Kurdistan is recognised with 50 million Kurds as the native and rightful inhabitants of their homeland Kurdistan the sooner there will be peace in the region.

Everybody wants peace. Without Kurdistan there will never be peace! Kurds will bring peace to and civilize the whole Near East once again!

Alanson
02-25-2014, 10:36 PM
Those 'Alawites' northwest of Aleppo aren't Arabs, but ethnic Kurds (Alevi & Ezdi). Efrin Canton in Rojava (West Kurdistan) is an official autonomous region of Rojava.
The rightful Kurdish inhabitants of Efrin do only recognize Kurdish politicians that represent them as the rightful authority in that area. With other words Kurdish people do control those area and and gave authority to Kurdish politicians, representatives to govern their region.

http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2014/1/syriakurd1033.htm

The Alwaite sect did originate in Southern Iraq particularly Kufa. It was founded by this individual Ibn Nusyar Al-Numyari. This individual was one of the disciple of the Shia Imam Hassan Al-Askari, after he passed away, Ibn Nusyar began to create a movement based on 12er Shiaism but differed greatly. His ideas was not accepted in Iraq so he went for brief time in Persia, and then migrated to Syria. He then founded acceptance to his ideas. The Alwaites were often called Nusris and they differ greatly in their theology from the Alevis despite sharing similar elements. However like the Alevis they indeed have connection to Iranic Angel cults. That said there is no doubt of Kurdish origins in them, but were Arabized. In fact the Alwaites wanted to bring themselves closer to mainstream Islam so they contacted two important Islamic centers the Al-Azhar and Najaf. The people in Najaf were more quick, hence Alwaitism is slowly returningback to 12er Shiaism mainstream. Not only that but Musa Al-Sader was also key figure to bring them to the mainstream Shiaism. Alevi and Alwaite although stem from the same sources, they are founded in different periods of time. The only thing they share is the name.

Tomasso29
02-25-2014, 10:43 PM
Those 'Alawites' northwest of Aleppo aren't Arabs, but ethnic Kurds (Alevi & Ezdi). Efrin Canton in Rojava (West Kurdistan) is an official autonomous region of Rojava.
The rightful Kurdish inhabitants of Efrin do only recognize Kurdish politicians that represent them as the rightful authority in that area. With other words Kurdish people do control those area and and gave authority to Kurdish politicians, representatives to govern their region.

http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2014/1/syriakurd1033.htm

The 'Alawites' are not Kurds ethnically, just because there are Kurds in Turkey that consider themselves 'Alevi' it does not mean the Alawites of Syria are Kurds. Their first language and culture with the exception of religion is similar to Arabs in Syria. The Alawite term is a religious term which ultimately derives from the Shi'a branch of Islam.

the SUN child
02-25-2014, 10:50 PM
The 'Alawites' are not Kurds ethnically, just because there are Kurds in Turkey that consider themselves 'Alevi' it does not mean the Alawites of Syria are Kurds. Their first language and culture with the exception of religion is similar to Arabs in Syria. The Alawite term is a religious term which ultimately derives from the Shi'a branch of Islam.I don't mean Assad, his family and his sect, but Kurds that live in Efrin. Those Kurds are mostly Kurds Alevi, Zaza and Ezdi. That's why it was possible to create an autonomous Kurdish region in that area, because the majority surrounding Efrin is Kurdish

Tomasso29
02-25-2014, 10:52 PM
I don't mean Assad, his family and his sect, but Kurds that live in Efrin. Those Kurds are mostly Kurds Alevi, Zaza and Ezdi. That's why it was possible to create an autonomous Kurdish region in that area, because the majority surrounding Efrin is Kurdish

If their first language is Zazaki then they're Kurds I suppose. I was talking about the Alawites that speak Arabic as a first language.

MfA
02-25-2014, 10:54 PM
I think Alanson and Tomasso29 have mistaken what the Sun child says or he explained poorly.. I think he meant to say Alewites and Kurdish Alevis are different things but that map shows as if they are the same thing and lumps Kurdish Alevis under Alewites.. Kurdish Alevis are mainly living at Efrin canton, which is northwest of Syria.. This map should be give you the idea:
http://www.ilkehaber.com/images/news/47041.jpg

the SUN child
02-25-2014, 11:05 PM
I think you don't understand (Sorani) Kurdish, but he's talking about Efrin kanton from min. 4.37. He's also saying that there is in Efrin region even a small place, called Mabata with only Kurds Alevi.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr3MEMeI9aI



Efrin 12 Feb 2012


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDCofsK7wCQ


Efrin 29 Jan 2014


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwLrodXAdOs

Mehrdad
02-25-2014, 11:05 PM
Off topic here, but it looks like by the end of the conflict in Syria, the state of Kurdistan may become a reality. No offense meant to anyone, but it just looks more plausible by each passing day.