Lessons from a massacre that Assad looks to exploit

Hassan Hassan writes: The details of the human carnage in western Syria over the weekend, in which hundreds of civilians were slaughtered apparently by pro-regime militias, remain shrouded in mystery. But sufficient testimonies, pictures and videos point to a deliberate act of sectarian cleansing in the Alawites’ heartland.

It is remarkable that the regime’s media, unlike in previous massacres, has neither condemned the killing nor blamed the rebels. Pro-regime Facebook pages even posted pictures of slaughtered children, claiming they were militants.

The carnage is meant to teach a lesson. But to understand what the lesson is, we must first understand the dynamics of the conflict in the country’s middle and coastal regions, often referred to as “tamas ta’ifi” – the sectarian dividing lines. [Continue reading…]

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