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Conflict and sectarian loyalties keep Syria divided

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Conflict and sectarian loyalties keep Syria divided


As the unrest goes on in Syria, refugees continue to cross the border to camps in neighbouring Turkey.

Over 7,000 people have arrived from Syria so far, mainly from the region around the nearby city of Jisr al-Shughour where forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad launched a violent crackdown against protesters over the weekend.

But the situation is far from clear-cut. A military conscript called Darwish said he has deserted his post in the middle of May and had made his way north to Jisr al-Shughour and eventually over the frontier.

“I saw dead and wounded people. I helped wounded people to get into trucks and cross into Turkey and finally I crossed the border myself,” he said.

But the regime of President Assad still has its supporters. On Monday young bride-to-be Sumeyla drove into Turkey to marry her fiance, a Turk.

She is an Allawite, the same religious grouping as the President, and said: “Yes, there is a conflict going on in Jisr al-Shughour, but we love Bashar al-Assad. There’s a cabal trying to create conflict in Syria and they’re not Syrians, they come from abroad.”

Sumeyla is an example of the problems facing Syria, a country not just divided by support or opposition to the ruling regime, but also torn by ethnic and religious differences.

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