Assad wife in Syria as Israel vows to block refugees

Published July 19th, 2012 - 02:21 GMT
Asma and Bashar Assad
Asma and Bashar Assad

Israel will prevent refugees from entering the Golan Heights, warned Thursday the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, during a site visit. Israeli officials closely monitor the deteriorating situation in neighboring Syria and they are worried about a possible overflow beyond the border, following the suicide bombing that killed three strongmen of Bashar al-Assad regime.

Ehud Barak said that the Syrian refugees, already fleeing to Turkey and Jordan may go also to the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel from Syria in 1967. "We will block the influx of refugees," said Israeli Defense Minister in a statement.

Israeli attempts to lock in the Golan have been unsuccessful lately. Twice in 2011, hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists tried to enter the territory from Syria, provoking clashes with Israeli security forces. The deteriorating situation in Syria worried Israel also because of the presence of jihadists there who might use the chaos to attack Israel.

Meanwhile, the Syrian ambassador to Russia, Riyad Haddad, denied Thursday reports that Asma al-Assad, the wife of President Bashar al-Assad arrived in Moscow. "This information is absolutely false. The president's wife is not in Moscow," Haddad told reporters in Moscow.

The diplomat said Asma al-Assad is in Damascus with her husband and other family members.

Asma, married to Mr. Al-Assad in December 2000, was born, raised and educated in Britain. The couple has three children.

Earlier Thursday, a British newspaper had reported that Asma, 36, arrived in Russia while her husband was away in Damascus after the bombing on Wednesday, without naming sources.

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