Transformation of the Syrian conflict into a Shia vs. Sunni sectarian
confrontation across the Middle East has been aggravated by extremists within
both religious factions. The patron of Assad in Syria, Iran, and its Shia
followers in numerous countries, have appealed insistently for support to the
Damascus dictatorship, although the Alawite sect that rules Syria has only been
considered within Shia ranks since the 1970s, and until the 20th century was
viewed as outside Islam altogether…….