Members of Syria's Alawite sect took to the streets in the city of Homs on Oct. 2 to protest the horrific twin bombing at an elementary school the previous day. Although the Alawites have generally been staunch supporters of Bashar Assad, now for the first time they took up anti-regime slogans. Demands included the resignation of the Homs governor and much of Assad's cabinet, if not Assad himself. A Syrian state TV reporter covering the protest was attacked by the angry marchers, who chanted "Liar, Liar, the Syrian media is a liar."
In an interview with Al Arabiya on Sept. 30, Free Syrian Army commander Abdel Ilah al-Bashir called upon "whoever has remained in the Syrian army, especially our families from the Alawite sect, to leave that sinking ship, in which they were used as fuel, and join the frontlines and assume their leading positions which await them in the Free Syrian Army lines…. After proving its moderation and patriotism, the Free Syrian Army is the only option for the Syrian people's salvation, regardless of their affiliations and sects." (Al Arabiya, Oct. 3)