In a report from Damascus during the presidential election, the French Le Figaro newspaper claimed the former Information Minister from the era of Hafez Assad, Mohammed Salman, was among those who boycotted Bashar's re-election.
The report quoted Salman, who lives in the Mazzeh neighborhood, and is banned from travel, as saying that "these elections will not solve the crisis!"
Salman, who is Alawite, a Baathist and a cousin of the former brutal intelligence director, Ali Douba, said that "as long as the regime believes that the crisis can be solved by force, nothing will change," according to the report.
The reporter added that Salman has called, even before the outbreak of the revolution, for changes in policy so that Alawites would not pay for the consequences of the suicidal reversal of the status quo.
"Today, it has become absolutely necessary to stop the massacre, to put a new constitution for the country and to organize parliamentary elections followed by presidential elections, and not the ones that took place yesterday," Salman was quoted as saying.
The report said Salman represents a sort of split within the Alawite community, though opponents like him are rare because the Alawites feel they cannot retreat in front of the Islamists who have sworn to exterminate the "infidels".
"The extremists who have persuaded Bashar that he is capable of achieving a military victory would not allow him to ease the security cordon now," the report said.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer