Assad's mother leaves Syria

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 21, 2013 06:17 hrs

Sydney: The mother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has reportedly left the war-torn country and joined her daughter in Dubai, according to an activist and expatriates in the United Arab Emirates.

The Age quoted Syrian expatriates, as saying that Anisa Makhluf has been living next to her daughter, Bushra, Assad's only sister, in Dubai for about 10 days.

Bushra's husband, General Assef Shawkat, an army deputy chief of staff, was killed along with three other high-ranking Syrian officials in a July 18 bombing at the National Security headquarters in Damascus.

In September, Syrian residents in the Gulf emirate said that Bushra had enrolled her five children at a private school in Dubai where she had moved.

Makhluf's departure from Syria is said to be an indication of Assad losing support even from within his family, said Ayman Abdel Nour, head of the newly-formed group Syrian Christians for Democracy and editor-in-chief of opposition news website

According to analysts, Assad is increasingly relying on the tightly-knit circle surrounding him, which includes his only living brother Maher, who commands the army's notorious Fourth Brigade.

Assad also relies on relatives from his mother's side, analysts say. His two other brothers, Bassel and Majd, both died before the current conflict.

More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria's 22-month conflict, according to the United Nations. The conflict has seen some 600,000 people flee the country, most of them to neighbouring countries, according to the world body.

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