They wanted to make clear, they said, that members of all Islamic sects in Syria were "brothers and sisters" - and that the Alawites "should not be associated with the crimes the regime has committed".
The document claims that Alawites are not Shia, and
The leaders also acknowledge that Alawites have incorporated elements of other monotheistic religions into their traditions, most notably Judaism and Christianity, but say they should "not be seen as marks of deviation from Islam but as elements that bear witness to our riches and universality".
That doesn't sound like a group confident of their tribe's leader.
But maybe I'm wrong, and this is really a peace gesture from Assad. I don't see how it would work, but there are plenty of subgroups I don't see. (Our government seems just as blind: we trained "moderates" who promptly joined the "radicals." Maybe Assad knows some radicals he could cleave off.)
(*)But not ISIS. It should be interesting to see if the Russians covertly support the Kurds, to attack the Turks, who have apparently been supporting ISIS under the table. The Great Game is complicated.