Assad and the Circassians
"President Bashar al-Assad is increasingly losing the support of the Circassian community many of whose members serve in his army and police. Such is the case of Yaser Ali Abaza, a Syrian Circassian lieutenant who, in a video posted to the Internet on December 29, openly established that he had defected from the Syrian Interior Ministry political units and joined the rebellion battalion under the command of General Khalid Ibn al Waleed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwU85ahlyxk)...
"In the middle of December, 115 Syrian Circassians signed an open letter to Russia asking for 'help and rescue,' stating that 'there is no hope for stabilization and peace in Syria.' Two days later, another 57 people joined them (www.echo.msk.ru/blog/cknot/844270-echo). The letter stated: 'The Syrian Circassians are in a desperate position. Every day, we are risking our lives' (www.aheku.org/page-id-2771.html). The Syrian Circassians dared to make the open statement after Russia’s criticism of Damascus in a draft United Nations resolution on December 15 prompted hundreds of thousands of Syrians to take the streets the next day against President Bashar al-Assad (www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/16/)."
Russia expelled Circassian Muslims in a series of ethnic cleansing campaigns in the 19th century, and the Ottoman government settled the refugees in uncultivated areas of Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. The Circassian population in Syria and Jordan today are their descendants.