This may give some insight
Weeks spent with Syrian rebels reveal a force of Sunni Muslim civilians
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/06/2...an-rebels.htmlKHAN SHEIKHOUN, Syria — They are doctors, they are teachers. They are students and the unemployed. They are farmers and pharmacists.
The armed rebellion that has plunged Syria into what one U.N. official has called a civil war has been cast by the Syrian government as led by Islamic extremists, and the lack of a clear understanding of who the rebels are has been cited by Western governments as one reason not to arm them.
But a month of traveling with the rebels in northern and central Syria reveals that the armed opposition here is based as much on geography and ethnicity as religion. Some of the rebels are pious, but many more are not.
“They are poor people who have been harmed by the government,” said Abu Hamza, the leader of a group of fighters in this battered city on the highway between the central city of Hama and the northern city of Idlib. “Most of them are not extremists.”
Syria’s strong central government has for decades brutally repressed dissent to its one-party rule. Since the time of Hafez Assad, the father and predecessor of Bashar Assad, the current president, the upper echelons of the country’s government and military have been dominated by Alawites, a Shiite Muslim sect that makes up about 10 percent of the population in a country where 70 percent of the people are Sunni Muslim Arabs.
edit: Anyone wants some Debka?
Saudis will be rolling through Iraq and Jordan in 48 hours.
Syria’s opposition on Friday reported the deadliest 24-hour period so far in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and said rebel fighters had seized two Syrian generals, including the highest-ranking officer to fall into insurgent hands. The two Syrian generals who were reported seized appeared in a rebel video with three masked fighters who ordered them to identify themselves. They said they were arrested by rebels on June 22 and 23 in Damascus, and the video, posted on the Internet, showed close-ups of their identity cards and what appeared to be bruising on their faces.
One said he was Maj. Gen. Faraj Shehadeh al-Makt, a pilot identified by the rebel video as the highest-ranking officer seized by the insurgency so far.
A government news Web site, Syria Online, said a lieutenant general — an even higher rank — by the same name had been abducted in the Adawi area, near the capital, by an “armed terrorist group” that had stopped his car.
There was no official mention of the second officer shown in the rebel video, who identified himself as Brig. Gen. Ahmad Silaybi and said that he worked at a notorious prison as a counterterrorism expert.
From this article:
Here's a little info:http://www.shrc.org/data/aspx/d0/3620.aspx
If the FSA were smart, they'd use those guys as a chip to negotiate or exchange prisoners.
Are there any vids of these fireworks?
Assad better have a clear route from his palace to the Alawi region if he wants to have any chance to making it out of this alive, at this rate
And Alawite mountains would help him how? If things go south for Assad that only Alawite areas will be under his control, he may as well pack his stuff and GTFO to Tehran.
Alawite state was a reality in 30s under French control and history has the tendency to repeat itself.
I bet that instead of packing his stuff to Iran, Assad is busy relocating huge Syrian weapons warehouses into future Alawite border. With a support of Russia/China/Iran and access to Mediterranean, Alawites could live decades even being surrounded by hostile Sunnis.
To be frank this scenario is their only chance not to be massacred after Assad's fall.
That Alawite state would be overran like Sirte in Libya, in matter of maximally month. And future Alawite borders are full of sunnis, or do you think that heŽd start clensing sunnis from Lattakia where they are majority? Their biggest chance now is to stage a military coup and resolve situation like in Yemen, if I had to guess that is most likely scenario.
The Syrian army assault on the rebellious Sunni village of al-Haffa in Latakia province, which has left it a ghost town, exemplifies this move toward religious war. Latakia is heavily Alawite, and protecting members of this religious group from Sunni dominance is one of the latent functions of the regime.
The death squads, Shabiha, deployed by the regime against the towns of Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair in recent weeks are drawn from the Alawi sect. Many of the Sunnis being targeted have been organized by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair are largely Sunni hamlets surrounded by powerful Alawi towns.
In Lybia clans that initially supported Ghadafi switched sides and left Ghaddafi own clan alone. Still it took great effort from NATO to conquest tiny Libya .
In Syria the situation is different : Alawi clans won't side with Sunnis , no matter what.
I am well aware of that, however there is difference of pushing out sunnis from Alawite areas by militias that are only loosely controlled by government and other push them out of Lattakia, large and imporatant city where they are in majority.
And in Libya things were different, but that is for longer discussion.