Factbox: Who are Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s foes? By Reuters

© Reuters. People maintain opposition flags throughout an indication in opposition to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and presidential elections, within the opposition-held Idlib, Syria May 26, 2021. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s foes vary from dissidents contained in the nation and Western-backed political opponents in exile, to Turkey-backed fighters in northwest Syria and U.S.-backed Kurds controlling an autonomous area within the northeast.

Assad, with the assistance of Russia and Iran-backed forces, has all however crushed a primarily Sunni Muslim armed opposition that advanced from peaceable demonstrations in 2011.

He has now regained management of over 70% of territory after a decade of battle wherein lots of of 1000’s had been killed and hundreds of thousands had been pressured to flee, and is about to win a fourth time period in energy in Wednesday’s presidential election.

With the political opposition divided and armed opponents pushed from many of the nation, here’s a checklist of Assad’s present adversaries:


Assad’s political opponents have been riven by divisions and competing pursuits. They embrace an Istanbul-based coalition and the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee that represented the opposition at U.N.-brokered negotiations.

His safety forces ban public actions by a home opposition comprised of leftist and nationalist figures led by Hassan Abdul Azim and referred to as the National Democratic Front, who advocate democratic reform.

They have known as for the boycott of the election, calling it a farce below an “authoritarian regime”.

Dozens of outstanding political exiles dwelling primarily in Western capitals are amassing proof they hope may put Assad on trial on expenses of crimes in opposition to humanity. Among them are outstanding German-based lawyer Anwar al-Bunni and Alawite dissident lawyer and activist Mazen Darwish.


Much of the mainstream armed opposition who had been defeated on the battlefield have regrouped in northwest Syria the place they are now below the umbrella of a Turkey-backed pressure referred to as the National Army.

Thousands who opted to not be evacuated to the final insurgent bastion surrendered below so-called reconciliation agreements that provided them amnesty and had been brokered primarily by Russia.

They are principally based mostly in elements of southern and central Syria. Some have joined Russian-backed teams to run their areas whereas others have been enlisted in pro-government militias.


The U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militia runs northeast Syria the place many of the nation’s oil reserves and wheat fields are situated, depriving the federal government of revenues and thwarting Assad’s drive to regain full management.

The nation’s minority Kurds, who had been discriminated in opposition to by Assad’s pan-Arabist ruling Baath occasion, run a civilian administration that governs the affairs of a number of million Syrians as soon as dominated from Damascus.

The YPG have principally not fought Syrian troops and keep commerce ties with Damascus. Assad, who insists they may ultimately come again below his rule, has lately accused their leaders of treason.


Hayat Tahrir al Sham, a former al Qaeda offshoot, is the most important jihadist pressure that successfully dominates insurgent elements of the northwest. It is accused of human rights abuses and is designated a terrorist organisation by most Western nations.

Remnants of the ultra-militant Islamic State who had been pushed out by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, mainstream rebels and Syrian troops stay a potent pressure in elements of jap Syrian, the place their hit and run assaults have prompted Russia to bomb their hideouts.

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