I told the sheikh that the opposition said Alawites controlled the regime. "This is rejected," he said. "It's for justifying the attack against the regime." He listed ministers, governors, and director-generals and insisted very few were Alawites and most were Sunni.
"Our president is Alawite and we suffer from this," he said. "There are four million Alawites," he claimed with some exaggeration. "We don't have even one per cent of the positions in the government." He and his guests said they believed Syria was being pressured so it would make a deal with Israel.