Syria President Bashar Al-Assad is been shaken by meetings held by Russia with members of his Alawite community, NEWSru has revealed.
The Russian site reported the meetings were held at the headquarters of the Russian diplomatic mission to the United Nations in Geneva, with participants saying they had received death threats as a result of their participation in the talks.
Al-Assad, they added, perceives these meetings as a threat to his status as a legitimate representative of the Alawite sect and as a defender of its interests, especially since the delegations have been engaged in direct exchanges with a major military and political ally.
The Russian news website referred to reports about Russia's willingness to have meetings with all the conflicting parties in Syria via its diplomats, to learn about the different positions and visions regarding the country's future, while adhering to the centrality of the state.
The talks, participants said, would pave the way for wider negotiations to define the future of Syria.
The news website explained that the pressures currently exerted on the Alawites have generated an opposition current within the sect against Al-Assad, noting that the crisis of Bashar Al-Assad's cousin, Rami Makhlouf, who has been accused of corruption, revealed the extent of internal differences within the president's family.