Aug, 20, 2015, Counter Punch
-by Eva Bartlett
Part One highlighted the siege and shelling of two villages in northwestern Syria which have been under siege by al-Nusra and allies since the end of March, 2015. As of August 17, at least 130 residents. “K” is introduced as a resident of Kafarya studying in Beirut. His name is withheld, for the safety of his family still in Kafarya and Foua.
SHIA PROBLEM? A CLOSER LOOK
The very few reports which have mentioned the names Kafarya and Foua have promoted a sectarian angle to the continued shelling by NATO-backed militants, portrying this as a Sunni-Shia issue. And while to be sure many of these largely foreign terrorists do adhere to the Saudi Wahhabism or Qatari/Turkey Salafism, the predominantly Shia population originally in Foua and Kafarya have long existed with their non-Shia neighbours in harmony.
K tells me more about the two villages and the surrounding region.
“In that area of Syria there are minorities living together, from about 1,000 years ago. In Kafarya and Foua there are Shia. Before this war, the people of Foua and neighbouring Binnish were very close, they intermarried, celebrated festivals together.
At the time that this all started in Syria, I was home, still a student. We studied at a school in Ma’rat Mesreen, which was a mostly Sunni city—many of them pro-government, by the way—and some Shia. Like with Binnish, our people were friends with those in Ma’rat Mesreen, intermarried with them.
My uncle was working in al-Raqqa, but when the militants took over, he and others went back to Kafarya. The original population of Kafarya was around 10,000. Now, it’s much much more, with IDPs from various areas, like Ma’rat Mesreen, and including many Sunni pro-government Syrians from other villages, but also Shia from surrounding areas.”