The Russia Analyst knows for a fact that the household 'help' of the Assads has been by tradition mostly Christian rather than members of the Assad's own Allawite sect of Shi'a Islam for decades -- an American friend and neighbor met then young Bashir in the early 1980s while speaking with members of Hafez al-Assad household staff (Saddam Hussein's foreign minister Tariq Aziz was an Iraqi Christian). There have been persistent rumors and allegations spread by radical Sunnis for decades that the Assads and many Allawis are crypto-Christians, and the late December/early January Christmas celebrations by Muslims and Christians alike in liberated Syrian cities (contrasted with the absence of Christmas festivities in 'free Syrian' rebel-held areas) and Iraq were more cheerful than usual this year -- perhaps because many Mideast Christians and Muslims felt hope that these terrible wars against Salafi sectarians might be drawing to a close soon.
For further reading and listening:
The Saker: Russia and Islam, or How the Russians Make Muslim Allies (something the Orthodox Christian Tsars also did for centuries)
A Saker appeal to his non-religious readers from 2014 (relevant to certain commenters at RM who wish to understand Mideast geopolitics without all this God/eschatology talk)