As the civil war in Syria continues and the ethnic tension is rising, the country’s Sunnis are threatening the Alawite minority against their continued support of President Bashar Assad, who is an Alawite himself.
Mamoun al-Homsy, a former Syrian MP and one of the country’s opposition leaders, has reportedly recently distributed a recorded message to the Alawite community in Syria, in which he warns its members against supporting Assad.
In the message, al-Homsy called on the Alawites to immediately renounce Assad, warning them that if they do not do so, “Syria will become the graveyard of the Alawites.”
He also stressed that Syria’s Sunni Muslims “will not remain silent” over Assad’s crimes, adding that they intend to abide by the rule of “an eye for an eye” and will “teach you (Alawites) a lesson that you will not forget.”
Meanwhile, the Lebanese-based As-Safir newspaper has reported that the U.S. government is well aware of the danger of widespread revenge against the Alawite minority in Syria after the expected downfall of the Assad regime.
According to the newspaper, this issue was the focus of the talks that were held between U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and Syrian opposition leaders in Switzerland on December 6.
The report, which published the protocol of the talks, said that Clinton urged the Syrian National Council, which the U.S. recognizes as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, to work for unity and promise to act to protect minorities after the overthrow of the Assad government.
Meanwhile, opposition sources in Syria said Thursday that a top Syrian army general, Mustapha a-Sheikh, has abandoned his post. A-Sheikh is in charge of chemical weapons deployment in eastern Syria. According to the sources, a-Sheikh escaped over the border into Turkey in recent days.
A-Sheikh's defection came on the background of what opposition activists said was an increasing frustration among many army soldiers at being deployed to fight against Syrian citizens.
Also on Thursday, the Arab League sent an advance team to Syria to prepare for the arrival of observers who will monitor Assad’s compliance regime with the League's demand to end clashes with opposition forces.
The 10-member team, headed by top League official Samir Seif al-Yazal, includes financial, administrative and legal experts, according to the Reuters news agency, and is tasked with ensuring the monitors will have open access and be able to move freely about the country.