The Military Intelligence Division in the Israeli army has prepared a study on the situation in Syria, which was recently submitted to the General Staff, warning of “a creeping Iranian settlement and a wide dissemination of Shiite and Alawite ideologies.”
According to the study, the “settlement” is taking place near the borders with Israel, in the eastern part of the Golan, and constitutes “a fertile ground and a warm environment for the activity of the Lebanese Hezbollah and other Iranian militias.”
It also noted that the Iranians settled in the houses of residents who had fled the area. They often refuse to leave the residences, forcing the citizens to abandon their Sunni sect and join the ranks of the Shiite militias.
These movements are taking place in all parts of Syria, the study underlined, adding that major demographic changes were beginning to occur.
When Syria’s population was 21 million before the civil war in 2011, Sunnis accounted for 59 percent of the total population, the Alawites 11 percent, and the Shiites 4 percent.
Today, the population on the Syrian territory does not exceed 10 million, of which 30 percent are Alawites and 10 percent Shiites. If the proportion of Shiites and Alawites together was 15 percent in the past, today it reached 40 percent, according to the study.
The Israeli study went on to say that President Bashar al-Assad “controls 60 percent of the territory of Syria, while the rest is ruled by Turkey, the Kurds supported by the United States, and the remaining rebels in Idlib.”
Demographic change has become an obstacle to Syria’s natural stability, amid strong resentment over Iranian activity, it noted.
The study points to the deteriorating economic and social conditions in Syria, saying that the residents “miraculously overcame the winter, as they had no protection from diseases, from new incomers, and from poverty.”
When Iran saw that its military control in Syria was faced with a devastating war launched by Israel, it reduced its presence to a minimum and resorted to a new approach, the Shiite settlement, the Israeli study emphasized.