Who backs Syria's Assad? Top 4 sources of support

Syria’s uprising is more than six months old and more than 2,700 people have been killed in the regime’s crackdown – and yet President Bashar al-Assad is still in power. That’s due in part to the fact that Mr. Assad still has several critical bases of support in the country, as well as one very important international ally. Here's a look at what they are:


Bassem Tellawi/AP
Syrian citizens walk in an alley of Hamidiyah popular market which is seen decorated by portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian flags, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday.

The wealthy business communities in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s two largest cities, have so far stood by Assad. For many, their fortunes are tied to the regime, and if it falls, so will their fortunes, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

For some, self-interest is a key motivator. Regime officials, including the army and prominent businessmen have tied their fortunes to the regime. They are still betting on Assad's survival, especially after an escalation of the violence during Ramadan increased fear and reduced the size of protests.

While many businessmen have long been disgruntled with the regime's crony capitalism and small business owners have taken to the streets, prominent industrialists see working under the regime as the only option. That's due at least in part to the fact that relatives and allies of Assad, including his business tycoon cousin Rami Makhlouf, still control broad swaths of the economy.

“Many businessmen are forces to partner with regime figures such as Rami Makhlouf,” says one business analyst in Damascus. “So it's not so easy to get out of it.”

Additionally, unrest, whether supported or not, is bad for business and what businessmen need in order to profit is stability. They think they’re most likely to get that with Assad, who they’re used to working with it.

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