News from Aleppo, Homs, and Hama

This following analysis was sent to me by an outraged reader: (This is not my analysis)

I am dismayed by the analysis provided by the anonymous retired diplomat. Below is my response to his argument that only 2% are involved in the protests.   By examining many youtube videos of the Syrian protesters, one will conclude the following

1.      Most  protesters are aged between 18-40 2.     95% of protesters are men.

For the total number of protesters, I am going to use the same estimate provided by the anonymous retired diplomat, i.e. 400,000 protesters. ·

We can safely assume that for each male protester, a female relative of the same age group (wife, sister…) stayed home yet shared the same sentiment of her male relative ( I am going to call them passive female protesters). This makes the number of protesters (active & passive) 780,000.

Its probably safe to assume that the age group (18-40) constitute 35% of the population. This bring the total number of ( Active protesters + Passive-female protesters +their extended families) to 2,250,000… ·

Given the tremendous risk of being shot dead during demonstrations. It is safe to assume that only a % of the disgruntled population would actually go out and protest.  I will estimate that only 3 out of each 10 disgruntled male citizens came out to the streets.  This brings the total number of Active protesters + Passive-female protesters +their extended families+ scared-to-protest to 7,500,000.

Most protesters are sunni Muslims. Sunni Muslims are 70% of the population, this comes to be 16, 310,000. This means that 46% of sunnis are involved in the protests (active, passive, and scared)

Some people have been inflating the population of Damascus, it is only 1.64 millions. ( see tables) ·         Aleppo and Damascus (total of 4 millions inhabitants) have not yet participated in the demonstrations.

Governate Population* ( in millions)
Damscus (City) 1.648
Damscus (Subrubs) 1.711
Aleppo 5.315
Homs 1.977
Hama 1.938
Latakia 1.161
Deir ElZor 1.511
Hasaka 1.445
Raquah 0.903
Swaydaa 0.46
Daraa 1.011
Tartous 1.011
Qunaytira 0.904
Tartous 0.446
Idlib 1.865
Total 23.306
Population Under 15 years of age** 40%
Population over 65 years of Age** 3.30%
Popoulation between 15 & 65** 56.70%
*المصدر: المكتب المركزي للإحصاء (2008) National census Office
**المصدر: المكتب المركزي للإحصاء (2004) National census Office
Addendum from same contributor: I did some additional work that I want to share with you. Basically, I am listing each Syrian governate with its respective districts, and then providing a link to one youtube video for a protest that took place there if available.  I invite you to draw your own conclusions on this easy to follow table and articulate them in Syria Comment.  By the way, I am posting videos only taken at district centers. I am ignoring all others in other cities and villages.

Governate Districts Protests at District Center only
Deraa Deraa
Suwaydaa Suwaydaa
Shahba None
Salkhad None
Homs Homs
Al-Mukhrram None
Deir-Al-Zour Deir-Al-Zour
Abou Kamal
Al-Hasakah Al-Hasakah
Rass Al-Ain
Raqah Raqah
Tal Abyad None
Halab (Aleppo) Halab (Aleppo)
I’zaz None
Jarablus None
Al-Safirah None
Afrin None
Ain Al Arab
Manbej None
Idlib Idlib
Jisr Al-Shughour
Harim None
Mu’arra Al-No’man
Hama Hamah
Suqalbeiyyah None
Muhardeh None
Misyaf None
Tartous Tartous
Draykish None
Shiek Badr None
Safita None
Qunaytira Qunaytira Mostly Occupied By Israel
Damscus (City center) City Center
Damscus Suburbs Al-Tal
Al-Qutayfah None
Nabik None
Latakia Latakia
Al-Heffah None
Al-Qurdaha None
A Syrian friend writes:
I have developed the utmost respect to the “original” Syrian opposition. People like Michel Kilo, Bassam Alkadi and a long list of others who have been imprisoned for years because they demanded reforms in Syria are now the only sane voices out there requesting calm. If the regime survives it should replace Hafez and Basel’s statues that were torn down around the country with statues for people like Kilo and AlKadi. They are investing all the credibility they have accumulated over the years to keep the country out of civil war. Watch this interview in Arabic.

Aleppo: Fadi writes about why Aleppo has been quite:

I think you have to add to it that Aleppo (like Damascus) has witnessed more openness during the last few years. Aleppo benefited the most from the openness with Turkey, both economically and culturally. It was a real window for breathing. The sectarian and religious tensions that exist in places like Banias and Latakia does not exist in Aleppo. Also, Bashar personally is very much liked in Aleppo. He roams the souks when there. Over the past years he developed a habit of staying in Aleppo frequently and meets with locals. He smartly had a hands on dealing with Aleppo.

These are all personal observations.

Aleppo by Karim:

There were several small protests around Aleppo in the last 10 days. These protests were allowed to proceed by security forces without interference. However, every single time, after 15 minutes or less from startup, a group of c…ivilians would arrive in trucks and buses outnumbering the demonstrators by around 5 times. This new group would start shouting pro regime slogans and would engage the original demonstrators brutally. The Security forces would eventually interfere taking the anti-regime demonstrators to the security stations for questioning. After 2 days or so of questioning most of them are released.

Rumors have it that these people are thugs brought up to deal with the demonstrators. No such thugs were captured so no one can confirm these rumors. Such stories are the main source of fear holding pro-reform demonstrators from gathering larger numbers.

On another note, Syrians have really outgrown sectarian ideas in the last 5-6 years. You have not been living here during this time and it is remarkable how much Syrians have become mature with regard to sectarianism. I have become very proud of the average Aleppean refusal to see things from this narrow angle. The people have grown in an impressive way.

Aleppo: Another person

Hope things are well; just wanted to say I fully concur with Karim’s recent comment on your facebook post, both regarding the small demonstrations in Aleppo and the surprisingly mature attitudes with regards to sectarianism here in the last years.

Two nights ago according to some friends there was another small demonstration right in Aziziye, a very central Christian/mixed upper middle class shopping district here in Aleppo, so not somewhere off in the ‘burbs like in Douma or Telbiseh. There again they brought in party goons in greater numbers to shout down and begin beating up demonstrators.

Aleppo continues to be calm, and there is a apparently a large pro-regime demonstration, yawm Bashar or something, being organized Friday tomorrow. People in the rest of the country are beginning to make jokes about Aleppo’s lack of action; a friend of a friend was

reportedly offered by a business contact from out of town to send him diapers, since Aleppines are so scared of demonstrating; someone else reported that some Aleppines travelling to Latakia were suddenly told there was no more room at the hotel when asked where they were from.

Regardless of whether it’s factually true or not, it does say something about the perception/self-perception of the people of Aleppo in the current situation. The people we talk with remain overwhelmingly dismissive of the protest movement; my taxi driver yesterday was the first to evoke the crackdown of 1980 (2000 dead, HRW figure).

Many foreigners have now left Aleppo, as their embassies or more specifically the governmental aid organizations they work for (and that is a high proportion of the foreigners who wind up in Aleppo) order them to leave by this Friday. Some have indicated how difficult it is to uproot their entire family, pull the kids out of school and pack on three days’ notice, but they are threatened with being fired and worse if they do not comply. Needless to say it’s not all countries who are doing this; it’s sanctions before the letter on the part of some. One of the International schools here is taking license to simply stop functioning 2 weeks earlier this spring. Small problems compared to elsewhere in the country, of course, but just goes to show that some foreign institutions, much like parts of the media, are positively anticipating the souring of the mood here.


‘More than 230 ruling Baath members resign in Syria’ if Syria get back in its feet soon ,and it will . those people will be regreting ,reason is they are gambling that the Baath party is finishing soon however its not. This kind of people who resign and acuse the government of all the killing where more that 60 police officers and military men died whilst this ‘peaceful ‘demonstrators are demonstrating. Wouldn’t you ask your self how all those people dyed ?who shoot at them if its only a peaceful demonstrations?

I am a member of the Baath Party and as many others i have joined the party to get some privilege (was too young that time and i thought every one is in the party whilst they are 18 any way) but the party has nothing to do with all what is happening ,its the state fighting against terrorism.


No question that the big cities haven seen more of the economic cake than the smaller towns and villages. In that sense, economics again is the main factor. Outside of aleppo and damascus it has an absolute disaster when it comes to an economic trickle down. In his opinion, Aleppo had suffered greatly during the MB uprising. The people of Aleppo went through hell during that period. They have no appetite for an encore.

Homs: From [A person from Homs]

I also talked to many of my relatives from Homs.  The people I talked to are all liberal and open minded. The amount of anger in Homs against the regime is massive.  Really massive. There are many low life, regime crony, Alawites in Homs that ran havoc in the city – including Bashar’s personal friend, the deposed Governor.  A certified crook whose abuses have reached the ears of everyone.  Yet Bashar stuck to him.

Then there is the First Lady’s family, who built for themselves another Makhloof empire.

My cousin was telling me how in Homs, and during Ramadan, you go to get a piece of paper from the Amn, and they all [being Alawites] are smoking and drinking tea , to make sure they annoy the public.

To say that the resentment for the regime in Homs is huge is an understatement. I don’t like the Islamists one bit, but I can only blame the regime for getting us here from there.

Also related to Homs and its anger: Guess what the current interior minister used to be? He was the deputy to Ghazi Kanaan in Homs [He graduated from military college in 1965 and rose to become head of intelligence for the central region. ] They both ran Homs as their own farm.  Homsis have legends about their abuses during the old days when Kanaan was the head of intelligence in Homs and how the current interior minister, a certified thug and a rapist, did not spare a living sole from abuse.

And when Kanaan was given Lebanon to run [between 1982 and 2002 he headed the security and intelligence branch in Beirut], his deputy, ran amok even more. So for Bashar to appoint him as the Minister of Interior was a slap in the face. How much more stupid can the regime get?  I dunno.

But I still cannot fathom the ideas of religious Homsis taking over anything.  They need to be crushed.  They are as criminal.


On our last evening in Hama some people warned us, right in the tourist district, to take the kids indoors and consider leaving town because a demonstration was happening near the citadel and would lead to trouble. We had actually just been at the citadel and hadn’t seen anything, so it can’t have been huge, but upon returning to the main square with the clock tower we saw several unmarked buses with guys in civil clothes and one clearly carrying a stick. I don’t think much actually happened that night, though the streets downtown were unusually empty (I moved our car into a back alley just to be safe!), but this seems to be a pattern which is being repeated in several cities. Come to think of it, the people (unusually suspicious and unfriendly) we had met in some Alawi villages around Masyaf that day had been talking in the same terms, that we should leave Hama and go back to Damascus. Maybe they already knew where they would be on duty that night…?

just to keep you updated, is my last friday here: Things are extremly calm, though today for the first time people from the old mosque in the Christian quarter (I forgot the name, it is next to the monastery) walked into the city and shouted: Brh, Bdam, Nadfik ja Deraa. I cannot verify the number, but from the shouts it could not have been much more than 40-50.

Since 4 p.m. traffic is normal in town, so there seems to be no “Hama is joining the protest”, otherwise things would have been different. Last friday we felt some tension in the city, but this friday life is back to normal, I might be wrong and missed some events, thus will try to get some more information and let you know.

Today I was really shocked by the German news which describe Syria to be in a state of complete war, with refugees, millions of demonstrators (I hate the sentence “non-confirmed information by eyewitness” or “cannot be verified”, I mean, guys, if you cannot verify information, do not publish them).

Am I living in a Syrian oasis? I really have a good time in Hama, Hama in spring is beautiful and green, people play backgammon in the parks (and at the same time AlJazeera reports protests and killings in Hama, how ridicoulous!), I do not have the feeling things are worsening at all. On the contrary, as shop owners loose income through protests (The traffic between Hama and Homs is limited and customers do not buy as before the crisis), people just want the protests to stop.

What are the ground comments you get from other towns?

رابطة العلماء السوريين حول بيان وزارة الأوقاف السورية

في رده على الاتحاد العالمي لعلماء المسلمين ونصرته للانتفاضة السورية

1- مطالب المتظاهرين السلميين في سوريا شرعية، ومساندتهم واجب شرعي على كلّ عالمٍ مسلم، أيًّا كانت جنسيته، فالقيم وواجبات الدين منظومة واحدة، والعلم رَحِم بين أهله، فلا يجوز التقوُّل على الدين وباسمه، كما لا يجوز ترديد مثل تلك الأوهام التي يعتاش عليها بعض السياسيين من قبيل تهمة “التدخل في الشؤون الداخلية”، ونربأ بعلمائنا أن يكرروا مثل تلك المقولات التي لا تتفق مع تخصصهم وما أمرهم الله به من بيان الحق والصدع به

2- ما قام به الاتحاد العالمي ورئيسه العلامة يوسف القرضاوي هو قيامٌ بالواجب الشرعيّ في نُصرة المستضعفين، وخذلان الباطل، كما أنه قيام بواجب الحق والعدل، وليس تدخلا في شأن خاصّ بقطر أو إقليم، لأن القيم الإسلامية والإنسانية لا تعترف بحدود جغرافية مصطنعة، كما أن التكليف الشرعيّ للمسلمين عامة والعلماء خاصة لا ينحصر في إطار جغرافي مهما تعددت التسميات.

Comments (301)

Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] Show All

301. Shami said:

Tarek and other mukhabarati people,
rami makhlouf ,maher and bashar will be changed and finish into the dustbin but be careful, If you dont resume your support to them after that the road turned for good ,it will mean that you are a corrupt soul.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

May 2nd, 2011, 1:06 am


Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] Show All

Post a comment