Alawites’ anti-Assad movement has been brewing for years, says head
'Assad has always claimed that Syria’s minorities – including Alawites and Christians, which make up about 10 percent of the population – would be defenseless in face of an uprising heavily hijacked by Islamists. But Hamira said that this narrative was false, and had long been propagated by Assad’s father Hafez, who ruled Syria for three decades until his death in 2000.
“Through lying and rumors…. [Hafez al-Assad] had implanted the idea that Alawites and Sunnis are not partners but enemies,” said the activist, adding that the Assad dynasty had always strived to present itself as a protector of minorities. “The truth showed that these minorities are the ones who are protecting the regime,” Hamira explained, claiming thousands of Alawites were killed to protect Assad’s “throne” and stay in power.
“The number of Alawites killed in comparison to their number [in proportion to Syria’s population] is very big. The regime is using them as fuel, they started thinking why my son is being killed but not those close to Assad’s family? No one is killed in Assad’s family,” he said. Kouch described protest slogans such as “you are in palaces and our sons in graves” as becoming more conspicuous. “Even in funerals, the [Alawite] families do not accept Assad’s relatives or those close to the regime, making it a form of protest,” said Kouch.
Both Hamira and Kouch agree that Assad’s “real supporters” come from different backgrounds - including Sunnis, who make the majority of the Syrian population. “Yes, of course, there are Sunnis who are still with Bashar Al-Assad…especially bourgeoisie of the Sunnis such as merchants from Damascus, Aleppo, even Homs cities,” Kouch said, showcasing how pledging political support to an embattled leader and personal interests interest and overlap.'