During the course of Caerus’ assessment in Aleppo, over 550 residents were surveyed across 56 neighborhoods on a monthly basis as panel data over four months. Although findings of this survey are not strictly representative by location or statistical demographic profile, they do provide a broad baseline against which other observational assessments may be benchmarked. A picture of political legitimacy –or lack thereof –emerged from this work. First Mile Geo enabled them to better visualize and interpret the spatial aspects of this variability.

regime-controlled areas

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Political Allegiances
in Aleppo


1. No one viewed as legitimate representative.

Among those surveyed across each of Aleppo’s 56 neighborhoods, “No One” was the most popular answer (40%) when residents were asked to name the most legitimate representative of the Syrian people. This answer spanned regime-held and opposition-held neighborhoods in Aleppo.

The map below geo-locates how residents responded to the question 'Who do you think is the legitimate representative of the Syrian people?'

Syria nolegitimacy

2. Citizens may be clinging to regime for survival, not popularity.

The Syrian regime received 12.1% of the popular vote, mostly in regime-held neighborhoods along the front line of the conflict. This suggests residents that support the regime do so less for its political legitimacy and more out of survival.

3. Official opposition coalition lacks local legitimacy.

Less than 2% of residents surveyed in Aleppo’s 56 neighborhoods regarded the Syrian National Coalition (the “Etilaf”), the Syrian national political force representing the opposition in international dialogues, as their legitimate representatives. There is no apparent local support base for them in the city.

4. Women may be more polarized.

Although not statistical representative, of those surveyed by Caerus field researchers, Women were more likely to support “No One” (49%) or the “Regime” (22.7%) than the average respondent.

5. Regime support base deteriorating.

The regime may be militarily superior to the opposition in Aleppo, but its support base is deteriorating. In regime-held areas away from the conflict's front lines, 20-40% of residents surveyed believed that the Assad regime is the “greatest threat to Syria.” These residents also reported some of the lowest income in Aleppo, shown here in a map that scores residents who report receiving salaries and humanitarian aid.

Areas in red indicate high number of responses who believe the "Assad Regime" is the "Greatest threat to the Syrian people."
Note the neighborhoods in northwest Aleppo that are regime-controlled that still believe the regime is the greatest threat to the Syrian people.

Syria greatestthreat

6. Legitimacy vacuum in certain regime-held areas.

Residents in those areas with the lowest income levels were more likely to say that they trusted “no one” to resolve local disputes or crimes than anywhere else in the city. It is possible that the regime is aware of the growing frustrations of its residents as the Air Force Intelligence seems to be increasing its control in those areas.

7. Opposition legitimacy up for grabs.

Political support in opposition-held Aleppo is widely anti-Assad but highly divided between “No One,” “The Free Syrian Army” or the “Islamic Brigades” were legitimate representatives. Between September 2013 and January 2014 the Islamic Brigades rose the fastest in public perceptions of legitimacy.