"Would he send his own sons to die?" asks Umm Hussein, from Jabla, of Bashar Assad, following the funeral 20-year-old son's funeral.
Her son died in Deir Bealbaa, in Homs, after enlisting in the army before the revolution, like many others of his Alawaite sect, because he didn’t finish his studies.
As Umm Hussein utters her quesiton, she fails to register the picture of Assad hanging on the wall beside her son's picture, showing him smiling and carrying his weapon close to Tal Kalakh in the Homs governorate.
But it grabnted her full attention when she ended a quarrel between her daughter, who began to insult the president, crying, and a cousin who defended him, saying that "we should keep him in his glorious position". Umm Hussein may have been afraid of strangers, or of the red lines that sanctify the "sacrifice for the sect".
This is a scene that has become frequent in the Alawite coastal villages whose citizens generally fight within what is officially called the National Defense Forces which support Assad. The people of the coastal villages are expressing anger over the death of their relatives see daily funerals held by the army to honor the "martyrs of the country".
In the small village where Umm Hussein lives, 50 fighters have been killed in regions they hadn’t visited before in Syria.
Sahar, whose brother-in-law was killed in Akraba when the regime stormed it, says that "he sends them to death" – referring to Assad.
"He knows that this war is not going to end. He deprived my niece from her father, and he hasn't lost a single member of his family."
Ahmad, a dentist who lives in Damascus, recently travelled back to Tartus to attend the funeral of his brother who was killed in Dier El-Zor. At the funeral, he says, "I couldn’t bear the speech of one of the villagers who was praising Assad," asking him to stop and to "respect the death of his brother."
Umm Rami, from Jabla, recalls a young man that was arrested and sent to Adra prison, despite being Alawite, because he "insulted the president and blamed him for the death of many Alawite young men." She lowers her voice as she speaks: "People should pay attention to what they say."
Raed, 20, on the other hand, didn’t appear to care about arrest when he spoke about the murderous and terrifying actions of Hilal al-Assad: "May God damn this family," he says.
The relatives of the pro-regime fighters don’t hide their fears of terrorists and jihadists with their long beards who who want to eliminate the Alawites. One woman narrated a story about one of her husband's friends, a soldier who was fighting in Homs.
"He killed himself when he saw the jihadists coming towards him because he was wounded and he couldn’t escape. He knew that they were going to tear him into pieces with their knifes," he says.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer