Syria's Assad 'isolated, fearful' as regime on 'brink of collapse': Report

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 29, 2012 07:40 hrs

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is thought to be isolated and fearful as his regime is apparently on the verge of crumbling around him, a report has said.

After months of nearly continuous setbacks for his government, Assad vanished from public view in recent weeks, giving no interviews or speeches and making no "live" appearances on state-run media.

U.S. and Middle Eastern officials now believe that Assad is nearly as invisible within the shrinking world of his presidency, restricting contacts to a small circle of family members and trusted advisers, the Washington Post reports.

According to analysts and news accounts, Assad is now focusing on his personal safety than on forgoing any public effort to rally his beleaguered forces.

Middle Eastern intelligence officials, citing accounts from defectors that could not be verified, said Assad has ceased going outdoors during daylight hours, apparently out of fear that he will be hit by a sniper's bullet or other fire, the Post said.

The paper also pointed out that Assad's words, however, continue to convey a resolve to remain in power.

In his last televised interview in early November, the Syrian president vowed to "live in Syria and die in Syria."

He showed no change of heart and little willingness to compromise during private meetings with U.N. officials who traveled to Damascus this week to discuss a plan for a transitional government, the paper said. (ANI)

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