The Sunday Times of London reported Syrian President Bashar Assad is drawing up contingency plans to flee Damascus and make a last stand on the Mediterranean shores.
A Russian source who met with the Syrian leader a number of times, told the newspaper the Syrian leader's army could fight on for months because of the support from the local population and the inhospitable mountain terrain.
Assad, a member of the Alawite minority sect in a country of predominantly Sunni Muslims, is preparing for the worst-case scenario and is ready to "fight to his last bullet," the source said. The same source added Russia would not send troops to support either side in the conflict that began in March 2011 and has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
Middle East intelligence sources told the newspaper at least seven Alawite battalions and one missile battalion, some equipped with chemical munitions, were deployed in the Alawite territories earlier this month.
Unconfirmed reports said Assad may have already moved members of his family to his ancestral home of Qardaha where they are being guarded by special forces loyal to the Alawites, the British newspaper said.Backed by WMDs, Assad may be able to hold off indefinitely.