The impossible partition of Syria

The idea of a partition of Syria along sectarian boundaries has been circulating among pro-government circles, reaching the ears of Western commentators, as a way to partially save the Syrian regime, restore peace and protect the Alawite minority from a feared Sunni victory. However the historical, economic, political and, above all, the demographic reality of Syria and those of the neighboring countries indicate that such a solution would lead to a disaster. The ethnic and sectarian composition of the Syrian society and the distribution of the population across the country make the partition of the country impossible. A partition would not only fail to restore peace but it will also be a danger for the stability of neighboring countries. Mustafa Khalifa demonstrates this through a mapping of the ethnic and sectarian composition of the different urban and rural areas of the country. This mapping is inevitably incomplete and based on estimations due to the unavailability of reliable statistics. It provides nevertheless an important contribution to the knowledge about Syria that policy circles need to have when discussing the future of the country.

The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.