Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ismaili militia formed in Hama province

Syrian Ismaili town rejects regime militia
by Now

BEIRUT – An Ismaili-populated town that lies on the edge of the Syrian Desert has rejected the presence of the pro-regime National Defense Force (NDF) amid the growing threat of an ISIS attack.

A pro-government militiaman in Aqarib al-Safia, which is located some 45 kilometers east of Hama, said that residents had formed a self-defense unit “after [locals] lost faith in the National Defense Force.”

“They lost faith in [the NDF’s] intentions after [the militia’s] transgressions and acts of theft against civilians in the village increased,” he told Alaraby Aljadeed in an article published Wednesday.

“The regime offered to fund us [and provide] weapons on the condition that the unit was led by a person who was a commander in the NDF,” the militiaman added.

“He is known for his bad conduct and aggression, so we refused the offer.”

“We accepted armament by the regime as long as the self-defense unit is not led by anyone from the NDF.” (...) 
Aqarib al-Safia—which has just under 4000 residents, mostly of the Ismaili faith—lies some 15 kilometers east of ISIS front lines on the edge of the Syrian Desert. (...) 
This seems to be the first Ismaili militia formed in the ongoing civil war. However, no similar activities have been reported so far from nearby city of Salamiya, the center of Syrian Ismailism.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fabrice Blanche from the University of Lyon and one of the leading French experts on Syria published a great overview about The Alawite Community and the Syria Crisis explaining also the basics of the Alawite religion. 

The author has done extensive in-deph research on Syrian Alawites see e.g. his book La région alaouite et le pouvoir syrien.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

During a talk show on Qatari channel Al Jazeera the host Faisal al-Qasim asked the suggestive question, whether if it's permissible to kill Alawite civilians. The irony: al-Qasim himself is not Sunni, he is a Druze native of Suwaida'.

On the same subject (but a bit more suffisticated) read an interesting posting by Sam Heller at Jihadology.