Demographics: Sunni Muslims make up 70% of the population, and a sect called the Alawites make up 10%, which was estimated to be about 1 million people at the time of From Beirut to Jerusalem.

The Power Shift
The Alawites, because they are a small group, worked together to infiltrate the Syrian army and the ruling Baath Party. The Alawites, tired of being discriminated against by the upper class who named them as hillside peasants (by religious groups as heretics) staged a coup and easily took over the country’s government. Leaders in the Syrian Sunni world banded together to make the Muslim Brotherhood, which launched a guerilla style war inside Syria’s borders, but with a declaration of war with its origin in a city called Hama. This city was always primarily a Sunni city.

All events expected in a civil war followed, until the “President” Assad gave the matter of defense to his crazier brother, who believed that the city of Hama needed to be conquered. He prepared most of the Syrian military around Hama, and the Muslim Brotherhood noticed this, and called in their forces to hold the city. In the matter of a month, most of the city of Hama was destroyed by Syria’s own artillery and tanks, torn apiece block by block.