The root ofthe conflict in Syria would be viewed as a failure on opposing sides of thisEthnic/Religious conflict to negotiate a mutually accepted resolution. As knownby many people Syria is a country that has several different ethnic groupswithin its borders. Today there are 6 main ethnic groups in Syria, which makeup most of the Syrian population. 1.
The Sunni Muslims: They are the biggestethnic group in Syria today; they roughly make up 70% of the population. SunniIslam is the most followed form of Islam today. 2. Alawites (Shia Muslims): Shia is the second biggest branch of Islamin the world today. In Syria the Alawites make up roughly 12% of thepopulation, although being considered a minority, the Alawites have ruled aSunni majority Syria since the Early 1970s. 3. Kurds: The Kurds are the thirdbiggest ethnic group in Syria. The Kurds have long been wanting to secede fromSyria and establish their own Kurdish State.
4. Turkmen: The Turkmen areoriginally Turkish in ethnicity, who in recent years have received lots offunding from the Turkish government. 5. Assyrians: The Assyrians are one of theoldest ethnic groups in Syria, they now roughly make up 4% of the populationand are Christian in Faith. 6.
Druze: They make up around 3-5% of the Syrianpopulation; they are a sec of Shia Islam. (Source) Whenlooking at Syria’s demographics many people tend to ask two questions, why arethere so many different ethnic groups within the country? And how was thecountry able to establish borders with all these different ethnic groupspursing different interests? The answerfor that dates back to almost 100 years ago during the Sykes Picot Agreement. TheSykes Picot Agreement was a convention held between France and Great Britain todraw up the borders of what is known today as modern day Syria, Iraq, Lebanon,and Palestine.
(Source Britannica) The Sykes Picot Agreement really failed toaccount for the different ethnic groups within the region and specificallySyria. For example: The agreement failed to give the Kurds a free independentstate. All of these different ethnic groups inSyria (In specific Sunni, Shia, and Kurds) had opposing views and interest topursue within the drawn borders. Since thecreation of Syria in 1916, the Syrians have long been struggling to find ordevelop a national identity due to the diversity of ethnic groups within Syria.Political Elites in Syria have always realized that this was an issue and hadalways feared that minority groups would cooperate with foreign backers inpursuit of there own interests. Arguably this created an environment whereSyria had to be ruled with an iron fist in order to prevent all these differentethnic groups from pursing their own interests, which could threaten theborders of Syria.
An example of that would be the Kurds wanting to establishtheir own Kurdish state. The Assad regime has long been ruling Syria with anIron fist since the early 1970s when Hafez el Assad (Bashar el Assad’s father)had grabbed power. The Assad’s are ethnically Alawites (Shia Muslims who makeup 12% of Syria) who control a Sunni majority population. (Source) This really turnedSyria into a place where political repression, human rights abuses, and lack offreedom became the norm.
The result of this was that the tension and hatredbetween these ethnic groups was building up over the years and thus resultingin conflict. Themain causes of conflict in Syria are the lack of political freedom withinSyria, State repression, Continuous Human Right abuses, Kurdish wanting