Ethnic groups in Syria
Ethnicity, religion and national/ideological identitiesEdit
Ethnicity and religion are intertwined in Syria as in other countries in the region, but there are also nondenominational, supraethnic and suprareligious political identities, like Syrian nationalism.
Counting the ethnic or religious groupsEdit
Since the 1960 census there has been no counting of Syrians by religion, and there has never been any official counting by ethnicity or language. In the 1943 and 1953 censuses the various denominations were counted separately, e.g. for every Christian denomination. In 1960 Syrian Christians were counted as a whole but Muslims were still counted separately between Sunnis and Alawis.
Syrians and "foreigners"Edit
Before the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, the Syrian population was estimated at roughly 23 million permanent inhabitants, including between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 Iraqi refugees of various ethnicities and creeds, 580,000 Palestinian refugees, mostly Sunni Arabs, and an unknown number of Lebanese or Lebanese-Syrian dual citizens, mostly Shia Arabs and Christian Arabs of various subcreeds. Some Palestinian and Lebanese families have been living in Syria for generations. More than four million refugees, Syrians as well as non-Syrians, have left the country during the course of the civil war.
Most Syrians speak Arabic, most are Sunni Muslims, but there are no accurate numbers or percentages of the various "majority" and "minority" groups. Sunni Arab Syrians could be anywhere between 70% and 79% as non-Arabic-speaking groups (mostly Kurds) are usually estimated at about 4%, non-Sunni Muslim groups (mostly Alawis) at less than 10% and Arabic-speaking Christians are 10%, but these are only indicative percentages.
- Muslim minority groups
- Kurds (most Syrian Kurds are Sunni)
- Arabic-speaking or Turkmen Alawis
- Arabic-speaking Druzes
- Arabic-speaking Ismailis
- Arabic-speaking (Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi) and Iranian Twelver Shias
- Sunni Muslim (and also Christian) Palestinians
- Sunni and Alevi Turkmens
- Sunni Circassians
- Sunni Muslim Greeks
- Muslim Ossetians
- Black people of Yarmouk Basin
- Christian minority groups
- Other groups
- Hourani, Albert Habib (1947). Minorities in the Arab World. London: Oxford University Press. pp. 76.
- (in French) Etienne de Vaumas, "La population de la Syrie", Annales de géographie, Année 1955, Vol. 64, n° 341, p.74
- (in French) Mouna Liliane Samman, La population de la Syrie: étude géo-démographique, IRD Editions, Paris, 1978, ISBN 9782709905008 table p.9
- "Syrian Alawites, referred to by AKP officials as Nusayris — a derogatory term not accepted by most Alevis in Turkey or Alawites in Syria — indeed can briefly be explained as follows. Some are Turkmen. They speak Turkish (...)" cf. Pinar Tremblay, "Syrian Alawites hope for change in Turkey", Al-Monitor, November 15, 2013
- Dzutsati, Valery (2013). "First Ethnic Ossetian Refugees from Syria Arrive in North Ossetia". Eurasia Daily Monitor. 10 (65).
- Izvestia, Yuri Matsarsky (2012). "Syrian Ossetians seek to return to Russia". Russia Beyond.