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Assad planning to flee?

Published August 22nd, 2012 - 06:24 GMT

A senior Syrian official said Tuesday for the first time the regime was ready to discuss a departure of President Bashar al-Assad in negotiations with the opposition to resolve the bloody conflict in Syria. The surprise announcement made in Moscow by the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Qadri Jamil.

"During the negotiation process, we can discuss all the issues,"said Jamil after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. But he said during a press conference that to ask the "resignation (Mr. Assad) as a condition for opening a dialogue means de facto that it is impossible to open this dialogue."

The US Department of State expressed its greatest skepticism about the possible discussions on the resignation of the Syrian president. "We have seen information about this press conference by the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister. Frankly, we did not see anything terribly new," said the spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. On his part, the President of opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), Abdel Basset Sayda said it is "studying" the formation of a "transitional government" which will be open to all segments of Syrian society, including the Alawite community which backs Bashar al-Assad. However, he stressed there will be no discussion with Assad himself.

Meanwhile, Israeli intelligence sources are quoted Wednesday as saying by the Yedioth Ahronot newspaper that Asaad is planning to flee the country and already started the arrangement for this.

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