By Nabil Al Mulhem
Damascus – Albawaba.com
Syrian capital appeared quiet Sunday, a day after the death of its leader for 30 years, Hafez Assad on Saturday.
Voiced prayers from mosque minarets, scenes of women in black, together with the black flags on the roofs of buildings and the photos of the late president posted on car windscreens drew a picture of the deep grief pervading the country as it mourns Assad.
In the meanwhile, the General Trade Union in Syria staged a march in front of its Damascus headquarters, where members from all over Syria gathered to mourn Assad and pledge allegiance to his son, Bashar, who is the strongest candidate to take over presidency in succession to his father.
Photos of the late Assad and Bashar were raised at the procession while workers chanted “long live Bashar’,” a sign seen by observers as a pledge of loyalty to the president-to-be.
It was noticed also that Protocol Police were stationed in large numbers along the road to the Airport, amidst a hush up on the identities of the Arab and international figures to attend Assad’s funeral, scheduled for Tuesday.
According to several sources, those arriving Sunday will not include any of the top leaders who have announced they will be present at the funeral. Authorities here ordered all five-star hotels to be emptied completely and be ready to receive the mourning guests.
In the same context, sources at the French Embassy in Damascus told Albawaba.com that President Jacque Chirac will take part in bidding farewell to the late Assad.
Assad will be buried in his hometown of Kerdaha, next to his son, Bassil, who was killed in a car accident in 1994.
Assad’s body is, for the time being, at Shami Hospital, which is surrounded by extensive police presence. More police units are guarding Assad’s residence and the Republican Palace.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)