Syrian Ruling Party Daily Slams Rifa't Assad

Published June 17th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The newspaper of the ruling Syrian Baath Party on Saturday launched an implicit attack on the banished brother of the late president Hafez Assad who is challenging the succession line in Damascus. 

"Those who are watching us must know that their poisoned words will signify their eternal fall. They have signed their end, in the eyes of the masses, with their latest shameful positions," Al-Baath said. 

Rifa't Assad, the late president's brother, issued a statement last week claiming the right to rule Syria instead of Assad's son Bashar. 

The paper's remarks came as Syria's ruling Baath Party was preparing Saturday to hold its ninth congress -- the first in 15 years -- expected to elevate Bashar, 34, to the party's leadership as part of steps to propel him into the presidency. 

The party has selected Bashar as its sole candidate to the top job and parliament changed the constitution to let him run at the age of 34 instead of 40. 

In the hours following Assad's death on Saturday at the age of 69, caretaker president Abdel Halim Khaddam also issued two decrees promoting Bashar general and naming him commander in chief of the army. 

Rifa't lives in exile in Europe and has threatened to carry out a "new corrective movement" in Syria -- in reference to the movement that brought his older brother Hafez to power in a coup in 1970 - DAMASCUS (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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