Discussion in 'English Only' started by windwhisper, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. windwhisper Member


    I was reading a story titled "Syria -- The death of a coutry" in this week's The Economist when I came across the following sentence:
    (The story is not bylined.)

    At first, I thought "enclave" meant "group of people". But I couldn't find such explanations in my dictionaries, which all say it is a "territory" instead.

    So I'm wondering whether it means a "group" or a "territory". And if it does mean "group of people", does it mean the Alawite sect? If it means "territory", what does "the biggest militia" refer to?

    Could someone kindly enlighten me on this? Thanks!
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  2. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    My understanding of enclave is that it pertains to land or territory, not people
  3. windwhisper Member

    Hello SwissPete,

    Thank you so much for your reply. If it means territory, then what does "the biggest militia" mean here? I'm still puzzled. :confused: (Sorry, maybe I should reedit my question.)
  4. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    The sentence is oddly constructed. 'It' refers back to the regime.

    The regime would be the biggest militia , and it [=the regime] could well [=might be able to] fight on as the largest militia in a land of militias. It could fight on from an enclave, an area that the regime controlled that was surrounded by areas controlled by other forces.
  5. windwhisper Member

    Hello Cagey,

    Thank you so much for your answer. Now I understand it.

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