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As the violence continues to escalate in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad is sending a clear message that he has no intention of giving up power.
So far, international mediation efforts have failed.
But it seems Assad's government has tried to exploit the deep sectarian divisions in the country to their advantage by pitting minorities such as Christians and Alawites against the Sunnis.
In order to have tight control of the regime, close family members have been placed to positions of power and officials and commanders belong to the Alawite sect.
Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull reports.