Obvious discrimination in public sector hiring has caused frustration among Sunnis, but the fact that Alawis are generally more assured of getting jobs does not mean that they have a higher standard of living since government salaries are relatively low.
Hafez al-Assad used the Alawi community to build his political system, but he did not seek to create prosperity for Alawis because he knew that their loyalty to the regime was mostly based on economic dependence.
But it is indisputable that Syria has since been gripped by a civil war between Sunnis and Alawis, and that other minorities have become collateral victims.
Syria’s descent into intercommunal conflict has resembled the Lebanese civil war and, more recently, the ethno-sectarian fragmentation of Iraq.
An automatic prohibition lasts for six to 12 months, depending on the number of convictions for tobacco sales offences.