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The Kalbiyya, or Qalbiyya, are a tribe, or tribal confederation, of the Alawite community of Syria.

Alawite background[edit]

Main article: Alawites

The Kalbiyya are a tribe, or tribal confederation, of the Alawite community in Syria.[1][2] The Alawites, also known as Nusayris, are a prominent mystical[3] religious group who follow a branch of the Twelver school of Shia Islam.[4][5][6] They are divided into four tribes, sometimes described as tribal confederations: the Matawira, Haddadin, Khayyatin and Kalbiyya.[1][2][7]


At the beginning of the 19th century, the Kalbiyya had a reputation for lawlessness and were in open conflict with the Ottoman authorities.[8] In the 1850s, an English missionary, Samuel Lyde lived among them and built a mission and school.[9]He subsequently published a negative but popular account of his time there, in which he wrote that he was convinced that they were like St Paul's description of the heathen: "filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness".[10] He criticized their brigandage, feuds, lying and divorce[10] and claimed that "the state of [their] society was a perfect hell upon earth".[11]

The Kalbiyya consisted of five branches: Rashawneh, Junaydi, al-Nawasireh, al-Jurud, and al-Qarahilah. The Junayd family typically provided the confederation's leadership and was based at Tell Salhab, near Masyaf.[12]

Role in Assad government[edit]

The 1963 Syrian coup d'état was led by three Alawites: Salah Jadid, Muhammad Umran and Hafez Al-Assad.[13] Assad was from the Kalbiyya tribe,[14] Umran from the Khayyatin, and Jadid from the Haddadin.[13] Following Assad's seizure of sole power in 1970 (the Corrective Movement), part of his strategy was to concentrate control in the hands of members of the Kalbiyya tribe.[13] In practice, active participation in the Assad government has, since then, been limited to members of the Kalbiyya tribe.[15]


  1. ^ a b Khoury, Philip S. (1992). Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East. p. 138. ISBN 978-0520070806. 
  2. ^ a b Commins, David (2004). Historical Dictionary of Syria. p. 28. ISBN 978-0810849341. 
  3. ^ "Lebanon: current issues and background, John C. Rolland)". 2003. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Kramer, Martin. "Syria's '‘Alawis and Shi‘ism". In their mountainous corner of Syria, the ‘Alawī claim to represent the furthest extension of Twelver Shi'ism. 
  5. ^ Fisk, Robert. "This election will change the world. But not in the way the Americans imagined". The Independent UK. Archived from the original on 6 May 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2006. But outside Iraq, Arab leaders are talking of a Shia "Crescent" that will run from Iran through Iraq to Lebanon via Syria, whose Alawi leadership forms a branch of Shia Islam. 
  6. ^ The Plain of Saints and Prophets: The Nusayri-Alawi Community of Cilicia and its sacred places, by Gisela Procházka-Eisl, Verlag, 2010, page 81
  7. ^ Bar, Shmuel (2006). "Bashar’s Syria: The Regime and its Strategic Worldview" (PDF). IPS. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Moosa, Matti (1987). Extremist Shi'ites: The Ghulat Sects. p. 276. ISBN 978-0815624110. 
  9. ^ Moosa, Matti (1987). Extremist Shi'ites: The Ghulat Sects. p. 277. ISBN 978-0815624110. 
  10. ^ a b "Secretive sect of the rulers of Syria". The Telegraph. 5 August 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Pipes, Daniel (1992). Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition. p. 165. ISBN 978-0195060225. 
  12. ^ Batatu, p. 377.
  13. ^ a b c Bengio, Offra (ed.) (1998). Minorities and the State in the Arab World. p. 135. ISBN 978-1555876470. 
  14. ^ Anthony H. Cordesman (2002). Peace and War: The Arab-Israeli Military Balance Enters the 21st Century. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 337. ISBN 978-0-275-96939-4. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  15. ^ Tejel, Jordi (2008). Syria's Kurds: History, Politics and Society. p. 58. ISBN 978-0415424400. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalbiyya — Please support Wikipedia.
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7 news items

Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:02:07 -0700

A single photograph of a three-year old boy named Alan Kurdi, lying dead on a Turkish beach, has rocked the conscience of the world. The picture will remain seared in our collective memory forever, just as the image of a nine-year-old girl running ...

Boston Review (blog)

Boston Review (blog)
Tue, 11 Jun 2013 12:58:29 -0700

[M]ost Alawite villages—with the exception of Qardaha, the home of Assad's tribe, the Kalbiyya—have developed little." In fact, after two years of war, Alawites' lives are even more difficult. Many Alawites who oppose the regime have died fighting ...

Fair Observer

Fair Observer
Sun, 26 May 2013 18:52:30 -0700

The official Alawites included the Kalbiyya, the Khaiyatin, the Haddadin, and the Matawirah tribes. As Syria fell into civil war, the fractures within the Alawite community became visible. Assad's own Kalbiyya tribe has remained comparatively more ...


Wed, 30 Sep 2015 08:44:23 -0700

Iniţial a fost un zvon. Nu existau dovezi, dar se discuta discret despre creşterea activităţii militare a Rusiei în Siria. Apoi au început să fie publicate imagini neclare. Pentru publicul larg n-a însemnat mare lucru. De multe ori, imaginile din ...
Middle East Forum
Mon, 23 Apr 2007 12:18:31 -0700

Mari kings were tribal, the ancient equivalent of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein defining himself as Tikriti, the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad relying on members of his 'Alawite al-Kalbiyya tribe, or the Saudi king naming his kingdom after the ...
Fri, 09 Oct 2015 19:26:15 -0700

บรรพบุรุษตระกูล Al Assad เป็นชนเผ่า Kalbiyya เผ่าเล็กๆ อยู่บนเขาในหมู่บ้าน Qardaha ทางเหนือของซีเรีย ในปี 1920 ได้เปลี่ยนนามสกุลมาใช้ Al assad แปลว่าสิงโต ลูกชายในตระกูลนี้สูงใหญ่ ล่ำบึ้ก แข็งแรงมาก ชอบการต่อสู้และสู้ได้เก่ง เรียนหนังสือก็เก่ง. Hafez al-Assad .


Sun, 18 Mar 2012 08:27:11 -0700

Su padre, criado en el seno de una modesta familia perteneciente a la tribu Kalbiyya y a la minoritaria secta alauí (una rama del islam que muchos musulmanes no consideran como tal), había ido ascendiendo en el seno del partido Baaz (socialista y ...

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