Russian official: Assad ready to go, brother lost legs

Published August 14th, 2012 - 08:46 GMT

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is ready to give up his powers, said the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mikhail Bogdanov, according to the Saudi Al-Watan newspaper.

Bogdanov told the Arabic daily that now the only role of Russia is to ensure a smooth transition of power in Syria.

The Russian diplomat also revealed that the president's brother, Maher Assad, was seriously injured in the explosion that killed several security officials in Damascus last month.

According to the article in Al Watan daily, Maher Assad, who is the commander of the 4th Division of Syria's Republican Guards, which are in charge of protecting the capital, lost his legs and suffered life-threatening injuries in the explosion. Four senior officials were killed in an explosion which took place at the headquarters of national security, including Deputy Defense Minister General Assef Shawkat, who was married to Assad's older sister.

Meanwhile, Washington is still undecided about the possible creation of a no-fly zone in Syria. "The president and his team did not neglect any solution, and we try to find, with all our partners and with the Syrian people, a path to political change in Syria," Jay Carney spokesman for the White House, said in a press briefing.

Recently, speculation emerged about the possible imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria. On Sunday, after her meeting with Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not given a definitive answer to this question, arguing that such a decision required "intensive analysis of the situation and an important work of operational planning. "

Mr. Carney did not directly answer the question, but said the Obama administration continued to regard the current approach, which includes major economic sanctions and international pressure on the Assad regime, as " the most appropriate route."

"We consider, however, all options available to us, and we will continue to do so," he added.

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