By Nabil Al Mulhem
Damascus – Albawaba.com
Security services in Syria have received orders to arrest Rifa’t Assad upon his expected arrival in Damascus to attend the funeral of his brother president Hafez Assad, who died Saturday.
Security sources told Albawaba.com that the move was to be taken as a precaution to prevent any “undesirable security troubles,” that might arise after his arrival, “especially in view of the fact that his supporters have not been eradicated completely from Syria.”
The late Assad ousted his brother from his post as vice president in March,1998, after a history of dispute and power struggle between the two.
In 1983, Rifa’t allegedly attempted to overthrow Assad, taking advantage of a heart attack that the president had, but survived.
No action was taken immediately against Rifa’t, who was apparently so powerful that Assad had to appoint him as his deputy in 1984. In less than two years, the president forced his brother out of Syria, but the latter remained officially in office even when he was in exile in Europe.
Rifa’t visited his homeland briefly in 1995 to attend the funeral of his mother.
About six months ago, supporters of the ousted vice president rioted in the city of Latakia, but were suppressed by the army. The official statement then was that Rif’at’s men were using a private seaport for illegal operations, and protested a crackdown on them by the security forces.
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