Ashes of Hama
by Lefevre, Raphael
When the convulsions of the Arab Spring first became manifest in Syria in March 2011, the Ba’athist regime was quick to blame the pro- tests on the ‘Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ and its ‘al-Qaeda affiliates.’ But who are these Islamists so determined to rule a post-Assad Syria? Little has been published on militant Islam in Syria since Hafez Assad’s regime destroyed the Islamist movement in its stronghold of Hama in February 1982. This book bridges that gap by providing readers with the first comprehensive account of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s history to date. In this ground-breaking account of Syria’s most prominent, yet highly secretive, Islamist organisation, the author draws on previously untapped sources: the memoirs of former Syrian jihadists; British and American archives; and also a series of wide-ranging interviews with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s historical leaders as well as those who battled against them – many speaking on the record for the first time. Ashes of Hama uncovers the major aspects of the Islamist struggle: from the Brotherhood’s radicalisation and its ‘jihad’ against the Ba’athist regime and subsequent exile, to a spectacular comeback at the forefront of the Syrian revolution in 2011 – a remarkable turnaround for an Islamist movement which all analysts had pronounced dead amid the ruins of Hama in 1982.