File photo shows a military truck heading up the road towards the hometown of then Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, who died on June 10, 2000, in Qardaha

 
File photo shows a military truck heading up the road towards the hometown of then Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, who died on June 10, 2000, in Qardaha
A military truck heads up the road towards the hometown of then Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, who died on June 10, 2000, in Qardaha in this June 11, 2000 file photograph. Assad means lion in Arabic and the writing accompanying the portrait of Assad reads "Welcome to Qardaha, the lair of the lion." Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's late 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