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Local Truces and Demographic Change in Syria

Posted on: January 31, 2017 at 6:37 pm

TDA released the first-ever survey of Syrians’ views on local truces – offering lessons for how future truces can avoid past mistakes.

“As world powers fill the airways with opinions about what is best for Syria, we thought it important to find out what Syrians themselves think,” said TDA Executive Director Mutasem Alsyoufi. “In our new survey, Syrians from the regions where local truces have been attempted thus far identify significant flaws with these agreements that any nationwide peace proposal will have to avoid in order to succeed.”

TDA surveyed 1,261 Syrians March 1 – April 19, 2016, to solicit their views on local truces between the regime and residents. Of those surveyed, 1,031 were located in areas where truces have been agreed in Rif Damascus (Barzeh, al-Qaboun, Babibla, Yalda, Bait Sahem, al-Tal and Madaya) and in Homs (al-Wa’er).  Two hundred and two respondents were former residents of these areas, but forced to leave due to truce terms, and are now residing in the northern suburbs of Homs or Hama.

Among the most important findings of the survey is that most Syrians view the local truces as savage war tactics which force civilians to succumb in the face of starvation and siege, as opposed to viewing them as sustainable peace efforts. “Given the one-sided nature of these truces, respondents do not believe they will lead to real peace – offering a cautionary tale to policymakers seeking to craft a nationwide agreement,” Alsyoufi said. Further findings from the survey support this view in alluding to the regime’s main objective of establishing a ‘useful Syria’, whilst pushing all armed and non-armed opponents to the northern countryside in which they remain exposed to the attacks by both regime and ISIS.

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