File photo of Syrian Muslim Sheikhs praying around the tomb inside the marble mausoleum where the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad is buried, in his hometown of Qardaha

 
File photo of Syrian Muslim Sheikhs praying around the tomb inside the marble mausoleum where the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad is buried, in his hometown of Qardaha
Syrian Muslim Sheikhs pray around the tomb inside the marble mausoleum where the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad is buried, in his hometown of Qardaha village in this June 14, 2000 file photograph. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's father Hafez, who led Syria from 1970 until his death in 2000, lies in a grandiose mausoleum at Qardaha, a town of 5,000 nestled amid pine-clad hilltops. His rule brought wealth and advantage, not least jobs in the army and police, to the long disadvantaged Alawite community, which makes up about 10 percent of Syria's population. Recent events around Qardaha, however, suggest to some observers, including Western diplomats, that clan rivalries, thousands of deaths among Alawite fighters and economic crisis could break the loyalty of leading Alawite commanders, even as the community finds itself increasingly a target of rebel anger. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi/ Files