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Oct-15-2015 22:51printcomments

What Goes on Among Supporters and Opponents of Assad in Syria? (I)

In this article, we review the supporters and opponents of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and accordingly we discuss the recent developments affecting the crisis in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad photo courtesy: alarabiya.net

(ALWAGHT / SALEM, Ore.) - The more the Syrian crisis lingers on, the more difficult it becomes to find a political solution and it becomes increasingly complicated.

In the initial months of the crisis, despite very limited numbers of domestic actors in the conflict, there was some hope to find a way out of the deteriorating situation in Syria; however, with the passage of time and the emergence of new actors on the scene of conflict, the hope for an end to the crisis fades.

In the latest show of military power of the actors in the Syrian crisis, Russia is making its military presence on the Syrian battlefield much stronger with cruise missiles, military aircraft, and logistical support to the Syrian military and Assad’s government.

Nevertheless, the stronger presence of Russia not only has shocked the West and the enemies of Bashar al-Assad, but it has also deepened the current crisis and the possibility of reaching a solution to the crisis.

A range of countries and several groups with their own goals and strategies are making the situation in Syria much worse. In this article, we are going to review the conditions of the supporters and opponents of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and accordingly we will discuss the recent developments affecting the crisis in Syria.


Major government forces and also non-governmental actors like Hezbollah are found among the friends of Assad. The non-governmental forces backed by Iran, have supported the Syrian government from the earliest days of the crisis.

The Syrian army has been battling against the insurgents from the beginning. Iran, as one of the main state sponsors of Bashar al-Assad, is one the countries that has a significant impact on developments in the West Asia.

Among the Arab countries of the region, Iran considers Assad as its best friend. From the beginning of the crisis, Iran has supported the positions of the Assad government and has made attempts to keep Assad in power. Accordingly, one can say that Iran has been the main advocate of Bashar al-Assad.

In recent days, Russia has assumed a much stronger presence in Syria. Russia has been one of the main friends of Iran, and in recent decades it has been considered as one the main supporters of the Syrian government.

Last week, the Russian Duma permitted the Russian army to intensify attacks against the ISIS terrorist group, while supporting Assad in fighting back the insurgents. Taking advantage of its powerful fleet in the Caspian Sea as well as its air force, Russia has conducted dozens of strikes against the positions of ISIS and the Syrian opposition groups.

Along with Iran, Russia is making the effort to give support to Assad by undermining his enemies.

Iraq, which is already busy dealing with the ISIS terrorist group, is standing by the pro-Syrian coalition, Russia and Iran. Iraq is experiencing several crises within its own borders; however, to keep Bashar al-Assad in power and battle against the ISIS terrorist group, Syria is high on its agenda. It is said that Iran was the country which proposed the formation of such a coalition.


Different countries and groups comprise the enemies of Bashar al-Assad. The most important enemy of Assad, in the form of government forces, is the US-led Western coalition and its allies including Britain, France and Germany.

From the initial days of the Syrian crisis, these countries made attempts to reinforce and train moderate currents opposing Bashar al-Assad, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA), so that they could eventually bring down Bashar al-Assad.

From the initial days of crisis in Syria, Turkey actively strived for one major goal, ‘the ouster of Bashar al-Assad’. As days passed by, this policy proved a failure and Turkey has incurred heavy losses because of this policy.

Saudi Arabia, as the main sponsor of extremist opposition movements such as al-Nusra, has made effort to topple Bashar al-Assad and pave the way for the transfer of power to pro-Saudi Islamist groups in Syria. Saudi Arabia is one of the main powers which has incurred heavy losses in the Syrian crisis.

As ISIS joined the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the crisis in Syria reached its most complex condition. ISIS, which had occupied parts of Syria, in addition to fighting against Bashar al-Assad, staged war against the Kurds, the insurgents and all opposition currents.

Al-Nusra, Free Syrian Army and dozens of other militia groups are also fighting against the Syrian government in opposition to Bashar al-Assad, whose positions are reinforced and supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Western powers.


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