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A partition of Syria is not inevitable, but it is feared

The risk of a partition of Syria into several entities, often evoked from the start of the internal conflict in this country, is feared by observers of the crisis, they see this as the way for future disorders, domestic and international.

Fragmentation of Syrian territory began with the creation of liberated zones where the power of President Bashar al-Assad is gone.
Some 700,000 people, according to French sources, on a population of 23 million Syrians, self-administered in the north, near Turkey, and in the south near Jordan under the exclusive protection of the armed opposition.
Also, about two million Kurds living in discrete portions of the territory, in northern Syria in the northeast, have begun to organize with the intention of creating an embryonic state.
"The Syrian army permits. Regime has no means to control these regions. It is also known that the Kurds are very much against the Free Syrian Army (opposition), is a letter" in its favor, says Fabrice Balanche professor University of Lyon II, France. About one million Kurds also live in Damascus and Aleppo.
The Druze minority (700,000 people) could also be tempted by the creation of an autonomous territory of refuge in the South, said Balanche.
Another risk of partition comes from the Alawite minority to which belongs the Head of State, who, of being harassed, you can take refuge in his stronghold of western coastal area of ​​Homs to the Mediterranean port of Latakia and from Hama. The minority Alawite (Shiite) represents 11% of the Syrian population.
"The process of partition is not inevitable, but if Bashar falls, it is clear that the Alawites will dig in their stronghold" on the coast and some Christians (10% of the population) also take refuge in this region, he added.
If the Sunni majority (74% of the population) took power, the Russians and the Iranians are content to keep the Alawites, who rely on this portion of the coastal area where Moscow has, in Tartus, its only base in the Mediterranean, provides.
The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, mentioned this possibility to start the week: "If things continue as they are there is a risk of partition of Syria, which would be a drama, with a part that would be an almost Syria Iranian (. ...) In the context of a deeply divided region and is a guarantee of future conflicts. "
King Abdullah II of Jordan had already said in August that "Plan B" to create an Alawite enclave was "the worst case".
"Once you start to open the Pandora's box of fragmentation, then you can feel like from Lebanon, it can catch fire and in the 80s, or Iraq, or Turkey," says Balanche, Syria predicted for population displacement , massacres and purges.
For Karim Emile Bitar, at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations, the hypothesis of a withdrawal of Bashar al-Assad to the coast, as a "last resort", but "plausible", not be sustained long term.
A mini Alawite State, according to him, it would not be economically independent, would have international recognition and "ensure homogeneity community would not but through some kind of a cleaning or displacement of populations that would be tragic."
"Even the Russians hesitate. Syria Iran also needs a whole as an ally" and an Alawite enclave "would not be favored by Tehran," he said.
A researcher at the French Institute of International Relations, Philippe Moreau Defarges, is more blunt: "The risk in Syria is by no means the partition, but rather unfortunately bogged down with yet more blood."

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