Syria’s New Demographics Create Recruitment Options for Iran and Hezbollah | JNS

According to a recent report by Israel Hayom.

“The concern is that as the plight of Syrian civilians increases, Iran and Hezbollah will exploit the situation to recruit young Shiites, as they have done in Lebanon,” the report said.

He noted that Syrian President Bashar Assad “seems to be trying to restore his country to the independent status it held before the war”, adding that over the past year and a half Assad appears to have been “born again”. and that the regime in Damascus took control of more than 60% of the territory it owned before the outbreak of the 2011 civil war.

“Control of the rest of Syria is divided between Turkey, the Kurds (with US backing) and the rebels, who still retain control over an important district of Idlib,” the report said.

While in 2011, Syria was home to 21.3 million inhabitants – 59% Sunni Muslims, 11% Alawite Muslims and only 4% Shiites – the area under Assad’s control is now home to only 10 million people, with Shia Muslims constituting 10% of the population and Alawis 30%, according to the report.

“In other words, if Alawis made up around 15% of the Syrian population ten years ago, today they make up around 40% of the population in areas under Assad’s control,” the report said.

“Many Shia Muslims in Syria live in the southern part of the country, in the Syrian Golan Heights on the border with Israel. The villages of Qarfa and Sayyidah Zaynab are home to large Shia communities of thousands of residents,” he said.

Iran is seeking to exploit the situation, “not necessary with Assad’s trump card”, the report said, adding that the regime’s leaders have opted for an alliance with Russia rather than Iran.

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