They kill Alawites as easily as they kill Sunnis, the Assads have no religion, sect, or no loyalty other than to themselves. They are sociopaths, pure and simple, they have not taboos. The price for ending their oppression will be heavy indeed.
In regard to the retirement of Defense Minister Ali Habeeb, there are proliferating rumors now that he actually died of a “heart attack.” There are also speculations that he was killed, some say, by Maher Al-Assd on account of Habeeb’s alleged connections with the Americans. After all, he was the general who led the Syrian forces who took part in the First Gulf War in 1990. None of this can be verified of course, but we probably don’t have long to wait before we learn of the fate of General Habeeb. The General, an Alawite, was replaced by his deputy, General Yaseen Rajhah, a Christian. The move seems to come as part of continuing consolidation process at the top, a digging-in of the collective heels of a regime bent on fighting to the last Syrian.