A correspondent for Al-Monitor in Syria writes: Al-Monitor spoke with a young girl during the funeral for her brother, who was killed in a recent battle. She said, “In spite of everything, Assad is our choice and we will not back down on this. The conspiracy against Syria is huge and there is no substitute for Assad, with his political expertise and alliance with Russia and Iran. Without Assad, we will all meet a bad fate and perhaps be killed at the hands of terrorists in the same way that the soldiers of the 17th Regiment were killed in Raqqa.”
This girl summarized the position of many Alawites up until now. However, social media networks show that some supporters of the Syrian regime are growing angry at the corruption and its spread throughout the governmental institutions, while thousands of young men die fighting for their country. One regime supporter wrote on a Facebook page created to protest corruption in Tartus, “The son of a poor man does not own a house, and dies as a martyr in war, while the son of a governmental official builds castles.” So far, their expressions of anger remain limited to Facebook.
In one of the Alawite villages in the countryside of Latakia, sadness and despair are evident on faces everywhere. A village resident in his 60s who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity said, “At least half of the village’s youths are spread among the fighting fronts. Dozens have been killed, and the authorities weren’t even able to recover the bodies of some of them. Assad is leading the sons of the Alawite sect to certain death.” Asked why they fight for Assad and support his authority, even though he is leading them to death, he replied, “Although I believe that Assad is leading the Alawites to death, only a minority of the village residents share this opinion. Even I don’t dare to say this in front of many of them. Most Alawites believe that there is no alternative to Assad, and that they cannot stop fighting alongside him. The extremism of most Islamic opposition brigades pushes [Alawites] to cling tightly to their positions.” [Continue reading…]