Chaos in Damascus

A stunning bomb attack in Syria’s capital this week that killed four from President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle has shaken the faith of Alawite supporters in his ability to stave off an armed rebellion that has now encroached on Damascus. …

In Tartous, an Alawite stronghold on the Mediterranean seaside, many now worry their Alawite president will be unable to secure the fate of his 12 percent minority community. …

Some Alawites have joined the revolt. But most back Assad. There are staunch supporters, and those who begrudgingly accept him as protector, fearing Sunni sectarian retribution.