Bashar al-Assad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bashar al-Assad
بشار الأسد
Bashar al-Assad (cropped).jpg
President of Syria
Incumbent
Assumed office
17 July 2000
Prime Minister
Vice President
Preceded by Abdul Halim Khaddam (Acting)
Regional Secretary of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
Incumbent
Assumed office
24 June 2000
Deputy
Leader Abdullah al-Ahmar
Preceded by Hafez al-Assad
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
Incumbent
Assumed office
21 June 2000
Personal details
Born Bashar Hafez al-Assad
(1965-09-11) 11 September 1965 (age 49)
Damascus, Syria
Political party Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
Other political
affiliations
National Progressive Front
Spouse(s) Asma al-Akhras
Children Hafez
Zein
Karim
Alma mater Damascus University
Profession Ophthalmologist
Politician
Religion Alawi Islam
Website The President
Military service
Allegiance  Syria
Service/branch Syrian Armed Forces
Years of service 1988–
Rank Syria-Mushir.jpg Marshal
Unit Republican Guard (until 2000)
Commands Syrian Armed Forces
(supreme commander)
Battles/wars Syrian Civil War (2011–)

Bashar Hafez al-Assad (Arabic: بشار حافظ الأسدBaššār Ḥāfiẓ al-ʾAsad, About this sound pronunciation Levantine pronunciation: [baʃˈʃaːr ˈħaːfezˤ elˈʔasad]; born 11 September 1965)[1] is the President of Syria, General Secretary of the Ba'ath Party and Regional Secretary of the party's branch in Syria. He has served as President since 2000, when he succeeded his father, Hafez al-Assad, who led Syria for 30 years until his death.

Assad graduated from the medical school of Damascus University in 1988, and started to work as a physician in the army. Four years later, he attended postgraduate studies at the Western Eye Hospital, in London, specializing in ophthalmology. In 1994, after his elder brother Bassel—who was being groomed to succeed his father[2]—was killed in a car crash, Bashar returned to Syria. Assad would later claim that he never supported an Assad dynasty, and that his brother had no position in Syrian politics when his father was there.[3] Assad entered the military academy, taking charge of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in 1998. In December 2000, Assad married Asma Assad, born Akhras. Assad was reconfirmed by the national electorate as President of Syria in 2000 and 2007, after the People's Council of Syria had voted to propose the incumbent uncontested each time.[4][5] The Assad government has described itself as secular,[6] while experts have contended that the government exploits ethnic and sectarian tensions in the country to remain in power.[7][8] In 2010, Syria banned face veils at universities,[9] like Europe.[10] Following the uprising against Assad rule in 2011, Assad partially relaxed the veil ban.[11]

The Syrian opposition, the United States, Canada, the European Union and the majority of the Arab League have called for al-Assad's resignation from the presidency.[12][13] During the Syrian Civil War, Assad was personally implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity by the United Nations,[14] and was the top of a list of individuals indicted for the greatest responsibility in war crimes for prosecution by the International Criminal Court.[15] In November 2014, the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced that evidence would be brought against Assad.[16] In late April 2014, Assad announced he would run for a third term in Syria's first multi-candidate direct presidential election in decades, amid serious concerns by the European Union, the United States and other countries regarding the legitimacy of this vote and the effect it will have on peace talks with the Syrian Opposition.[17][18] He was sworn in for his third seven-year term, on July 16, 2014, in the presidential palace in Damascus.[19]

Early life[edit]

Bashar al-Assad was born in Damascus on 11 September 1965, the son of Aniseh and Hafez al-Assad.[20] His father, born to a poor family of Alawite background, rose through the Ba'ath Party ranks to take control of the Syrian branch of the Party in the 1970 Corrective Revolution, culminating in his rise to the Syrian presidency. Hafez al-Assad promoted his supporters within the Ba'ath Party, many of whom were of also Alawite background.[20][21] His last name in Arabic means "the lion".[22]

Unlike his brothers, Bassel and Maher, and sister, Bushra, Bashar was quiet and reserved and says that he lacked interest in politics or the military;[23] he was said to have been bullied by his older brother Bassel.[24] The Assad children reportly rarely saw their father,[25] and Bashar later stated that he only entered his father's office once while he was in power and he never spoke about politics with him.[26] He received his primary and secondary education in the Arab-French al-Hurriya School in Damascus.[23] In 1982, he graduated from high school and went on to study medicine at Damascus University.[27]

Medicine[edit]

In 1988, Assad graduated from medical school and began working as an army doctor in the biggest military hospital, "Tishrin", on the outskirts of Damascus.[28][29] Four years later, he went to the United Kingdom to begin postgraduate training in ophthalmology at the Western Eye Hospital, part of the St Mary's group of teaching hospitals in London.[30] Bashar at the time had few political aspirations.[31] His father had been grooming Bashar's older brother Bassel as the future president, but he never declared this intent.[32] Bashar, however, was recalled in 1994 to the Syrian Army, after Bassel's death in a car accident.

Rise to power[edit]

The Al-Assad family around 1994. At the front are Hafez al-Assad and his wife, Anisa. At the back row, from left to right: Maher (commander of the Republican Guard), Bashar, Bassel, Majid, and Bushra

Soon after the death of Bassel, Hafez Assad made the decision to make Bashar the new heir-apparent.[33] Over the next six and half years, until his death in 2000, Hafez went about systematically preparing Bashar for taking over power. Preparations for a smooth transition were made on three levels. First, support was built up for Bashar in the military and security apparatus. Second, Bashar's image was established with the public. And lastly, Bashar was familiarized with the mechanisms of running the country.[34]

To establish his credentials in the military, Bashar entered in 1994 the military academy at Homs, north of Damascus, and was propelled through the ranks to become a colonel in January 1999.[28][35][36] To establish a power base for Bashar in the military, old divisional commanders were pushed into retirement, and new, young, Alawite officers with loyalties to him took their place.[37]

Parallel to his military career, Bashar was engaged in public affairs. He was granted wide powers and became a political adviser to President Hafez al-Assad, head of the bureau to receive complaints and appeals of citizens, and led a campaign against corruption. As a result of his campaign against corruption, Bashar was able to remove his potential rivals for president.[28]

In 1998, Bashar took charge of Syria's Lebanon file, which had since the 1970s been handled by Vice President Abdul Khaddam, one of the few Sunni officials in the Assad government, who had until then been a potential contender for president.[37] By taking charge of Syrian affairs in Lebanon, Bashar was able to push Khaddam aside and establish his own power base in Lebanon.[38] In that same year after minor consultation with Lebanese politicians, Bashar installed Emile Lahoud, a loyal ally of his, as the President of Lebanon and pushed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri aside, by not placing his political weight behind his nomination as prime minister.[39]

To further weaken the old Syrian order in Lebanon, Bashar replaced the long serving de facto Syrian High Commissioner of Lebanon, Ghazi Kanaan, with Rustum Ghazali.[40]

Presidency: 2000–present[edit]

Coat of arms of Syria.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Syria

On 27 May 2007, Bashar was approved as president for another seven-year term, with the official result of 97.6% of the votes in a referendum without another candidate.[41]

In his foreign policy, Assad is an outspoken critic of the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.[42] Until he became president, Assad was not greatly involved in politics; his only public role was head of the Syrian Computer Society, which introduced the Internet to Syria in 2001. Al-Assad was confirmed as president by an unopposed referendum in 2000. He was expected to take a more liberal approach than his father.

Immediately after he took office a reform movement made cautious advances during the Damascus Spring, which led al-Assad to shut down Mezzeh prison and declare a wide ranging amnesty releasing hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood affiliated political prisoners.[43] However, security crackdowns commenced again within the year.[44][45]

Economy[edit]

As a result of the Syrian Civil War, "government-controlled Syria is truncated in size, battered and impoverished".[46] Economic sanctions (the Syria Accountability Act) were applied long before the Syrian Civil War by the United States, and were joined by the European Union and other countries at the outbreak of the civil war, causing the regime to slowly disintegrate.[47] These sanctions were reinforced in October 2014 by the EU and US.[48][49] Industry in parts of the country that are still regime held is heavily state-controlled, with economic liberalization being reversed during the current conflict.[50] The London School of Economics has stated that as a result of the Syrian Civil War, a war economy has developed in Syria.[51]

A 2014 European Council on Foreign Relations report found that:

"The Syrian economy lies in ruins. Assets and infrastructure have been destroyed, half of the population lives below the poverty line, and the human development index has fallen back to where it stood 37 years ago. It is estimated that even with average annual growth rate of 5 percent it would take nearly 30 years to recover Syria’s 2010 GDP value."

—Jihad Yazigi[52]

A United Nations commissioned report by the The Syrian Centre for Policy Research states that two thirds of the Syrian population now lives in "extreme poverty".[53] In October 2014 a $50 million mall opened in Tartous provoked criticism from regime supports, and was seen as part of the Assad regime's policy of attempting to project a sense of normalcy throughout the civil war.[54] A regime policy to give preference to families of slain soldiers for government jobs was cancelled after it caused an uproar,[55] while rising fuel prices and corruption caused protests in regime controlled areas.[56]

Human rights[edit]

Billboard with portrait of Assad and the text 'God protects Syria' on the old city wall of Damascus in 2006

A 2007 law required internet cafes to record all the comments users post on chat forums.[57] Websites such as Wikipedia Arabic, YouTube and Facebook were blocked intermittently between 2008 and February 2011.[58][59][60]

Human Rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have detailed how Assads's government and secret police routinely tortured, imprisoned, and killed political opponents, and those who speak out against the government.[61][62] Since 2006 it expanded the use of travel bans against dissidents. In that regard, Syria is the worst offender among Arab states.[63]

In an interview with ABC News in 2007 he stated: "We don't have such [things as] political prisoners," yet the New York Times reported the arrest of 30 political prisoners in Syria in December 2007.[who?][64] Foreign Policy magazine editorialized on his position in the wake of the 2011 protests:[65]

"During its decades of rule... the Assad family developed a strong political safety net by firmly integrating the military into the government. In 1970, Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, seized power after rising through the ranks of the Syrian armed forces, during which time he established a network of loyal Alawites by installing them in key posts. In fact, the military, ruling elite, and ruthless secret police are so intertwined that it is now impossible to separate the Assad government from the security establishment.... So... the government and its loyal forces have been able to deter all but the most resolute and fearless oppositional activists. In this respect, the situation in Syria is to a certain degree comparable to Saddam Hussein’s strong Sunni minority rule in Iraq."

In 2014, Senator Richard Black wrote a letter to Bashar al-Assad praising him for his fight against "criminals linked to al-Qaeda" and thanking him for his "heroic rescue of Christians."[66]

Foreign relations[edit]

Assad meets with U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman in 2009.
Assad with Russian Prime Minister (then President) Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

The Middle East Quarterly noted that "As in the case of Iraq, there are lingering questions of Syrian payments to French politicians. Many French politicians join associations and charitable boards both for financial and political gain."[67][clarification needed]

The United States, European Union, the March 14 Alliance, Israel, and France accuse Assad of providing practical support to militant groups active against Israel and against opposition political groups. The latter category would include most political parties other than Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad.[68] According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, Assad claimed the United States could benefit from the Syrian experience in fighting organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood at the Hama Massacre.[69]

Assad opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq despite a long-standing animosity between the Syrian and Iraqi governments. Assad used Syria's seat in one of rotating positions on the United Nations Security Council to try to prevent the invasion of Iraq.[70] Following the Iraq invasion by US and allied forces, Assad was accused of supporting the Shia insurgency in Iraq. A US general accused him of providing funding, logistics, and training to Iraqi and foreign Shia fundamentalists to launch attacks against U.S. and allied forces occupying Iraq.[71]

Assad argued that Syria's gradual withdrawal of troops from Lebanon, beginning in 2000, was precipitated as a result of the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and ended in May 2005.[72]

Assad met with U.S. scientists and policy leaders during a science diplomacy visit in 2009 and he expressed interest in building research universities and using science and technology to promote innovation and economic growth.[73]

In 2011, Assad told the Wall Street Journal that he considered himself "anti-Israel" and "anti-West", and that because of these policies he was not in danger of being overthrown.[42]

Involvement in Lebanon[edit]

Despite gaining re-election in 2007, Assad’s position was considered by some to have been weakened by the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon following the Cedar Revolution in 2005. There has also been pressure from the U.S. concerning claims that Syria is linked to terrorist networks, exacerbated by Syrian condemnation of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah military leader, in Damascus in 2008. Interior Minister Bassam Abdul-Majeed stated that, "Syria, which condemns this cowardly terrorist act, expresses condolences to the martyr family and to the Lebanese people."[74]

Arab–Israeli conflict[edit]

In a speech about the 2006 Lebanon War in August 2006, Assad said that Hezbollah had "hoisted the banner of victory," hailing its actions as a "successful resistance."[75]

In April 2008, Assad told a Qatari newspaper that Syria and Israel had been discussing a peace treaty for a year, with Turkey as a go-between. This was confirmed in May 2008, by a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. As well as a peace treaty, the future of the Golan Heights is being discussed. Assad was quoted in The Guardian as telling the Qatari paper:

... there would be no direct negotiations with Israel until a new US president takes office. The US was the only party qualified to sponsor any direct talks, [Assad] told the paper, but added that the Bush administration "does not have the vision or will for the peace process. It does not have anything."[76]

According to leaked American cables, Assad called Hamas an "uninvited guest" and said "If you want me to be effective and active, I have to have a relationship with all parties. Hamas is Muslim Brotherhood, but we have to deal with the reality of their presence," comparing Hamas to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood which was crushed by his father Hafez al-Assad. He then claimed Hamas would disappear if peace was brought to the Middle East.[77][78]

Assad has indicated that the peace treaty that he envisions would not be the same kind of peace treaty Israel has with Egypt where there is a legal border crossing and open trade. In a 2006 interview with Charlie Rose, Assad said "There is a big difference between talking about a peace treaty and peace. A peace treaty is like a permanent ceasefire. There's no war, maybe you have an embassy, but you actually won’t have trade, you won't have normal relations because people will not be sympathetic to this relation as long as they are sympathetic with the Palestinians: half a million who live in Syria and half a million in Lebanon and another few millions in other Arab countries."[72]

During the visit of Pope John Paul II to Syria in 2001, Assad requested an apology to Muslims for the medieval Crusades and criticised Israeli treatment of Palestinians. Comparing their suffering to that endured by Jesus Christ in Palestine, Assad claimed that followers of Judaism "tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Muhammad."[79][80][81][82][83] Responding to claims that his comment was antisemitic, Assad said that whereas Judaism is a racially heterogeneous religion, the Syrian people are the core of the Semitic race and therefore are opposed to the term antisemitism. When offered to retract his comment implying that the Jews were responsible for Jesus' suffering, Assad replied, "As always, these are historical facts that we cannot deny," and stressed that his remarks were not anti-Jewish.[84] In February 2011, Bashar backed an initiative to restore 10 synagogues in Syria, which had a Jewish community numbering 30,000 in 1947 but has only 200 Jews today.[85]

International public relations[edit]

Bashar al-Assad wearing the "Grand Collar" of the National Order of the Southern Cross, accompanied by then Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brasília, June 30, 2010

In order to promote their image and media-portrayal overseas, Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad hired American and United Kingdom based PR firms and consultants.[86] Notably, these secured photoshoots for Asma al-Assad with fashion and celebrity magazines. These firms included Bell Pottinger Group and Brown Lloyd James, with the latter being paid $5,000 a month for their services.[86][87]

At the outset of the Syrian Civil War, Syrian government networks were hacked by the group Anonymous, revealing that an ex-Al Jazeera journalist had been hired to advise Assad on how to manipulate the public opinion of the United States. Among the advice was the suggestion to compare the popular uprising against the government to the Occupy Wall Street protests.[88] In a separate e-mail leak several months later by the Supreme Council of the Syrian Revolution, it was revealed that Assad's consultants had coordinated with an Iranian government media advisor.[89]

After the Syrian Civil War began, the Assad regime began a social media campaign which included an online presence on Facebook, YouTube, and most notably Instagram.[87] A Twitter account for Assad was reportedly activated, however it remained unverified.[90] This resulted in much criticism, and was described as "a propaganda campaign that ultimately has made the [Assad] family look worse".[91] The Assad regime has arrested and forced disappeared pro-regime activists for creating Facebook groups that the regime disproved of,[92] as well as appealed directly to Twitter to remove accounts it disliked.[93] The social media campaign as well as the previously leaked e-mails lead to comparisons with Hannah Arendt's A Report on the Banality of Evil.[94][95][96]

In the Summer of 2014, the Syrian Ministry of Defense provided photos to the Material Evidence. Syria. Ukraine exhibition that took place in Berlin and New York City,[97] a self described "photo journalism" exhibition critical of democracy efforts in Ukraine and Syria that sought to ask questions such as "Who is taking advantage of the Syrian war and of what happened to this country?".[98]

In October 2014, images from some 27,000 photographs of torture committed by the Assad regime and smuggled out of the country by a Syrian Army defector during the Syrian Civil war were put on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.[99][100]

In November 2014, the Quilliam Foundation reported that a propaganda campaign launched "with the full backing of Assad" spread false reports of European jihadist deaths in order to draw attention away from Assad regime war crimes. Using a picture of a Chechen fighter from the Second Chechen War, pro-Assad media reports disseminated to Western media outlets leading them to publish a false story regarding the death of a non existent British jihadist.[101]

Al Qaeda and ISIS[edit]

Assad's relationship with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State has been subject to much attention. Terrorism expert Peter R. Neumann has stated that "In the years that preceded the uprising, Assad and his intelligence services took the view that jihad could be nurtured and manipulated to serve the Syrian government’s aims".[102] During the Iraq War, the Assad regime was accused of training jihadis and facilitating their passage into Iraq, with these infiltration routes remaining active until the Syrian Civil War; US general Jack Keane has stated that "Al Qaeda fighters who are back in Syria, I am confident, they are relying on much they learned in moving through Syria into Iraq for more than five years when they were waging war against the U.S. and Iraq Security Assistance Force".[103] Iraqi president Nouri al-Maliki threatened Assad with an international tribunal over the matter, and ultimately lead to the 2008 Abu Kamal raid and United States airstrikes within Syria during the Iraq War.[104]

During the Syrian Civil War, multiple parties in the conflict have accused Assad of collusion with the Islamic State to some degree. Several sources have claimed that ISIS prisoners were strategically released from Syrian prisons at the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011.[105] The Assad regime has bought oil directly from both ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front.[106] United States Secretary of State John Kerry has stated that the Assad regime has tactically avoided Islamic State forces in order to weaken moderate opposition such as the Free Syrian Army,[107] as well as "even purposely ceding some territory to them [ISIS] in order to make them more of a problem so he can make the argument that he is somehow the protector against them".[108] The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces has stated that the Assad regime has operatives inside ISIS,[109] as has the leadership of Ahrar ash-Sham.[110] ISIS members captured by the FSA have claimed that they were directed to commit attacks by Assad regime operatives.[111]

The U.K.’s Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant concluded at the outset of the American-led coalition intervention in Syria that "ISIS is a monster that the Frankenstein of Assad has largely created".[112] French President Francois Hollande stated regarding the airstrikes, "Assad cannot be a partner in the fight against terrorism, he is the de facto ally of jihadists".[113]

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi disputes such assertions, arguing that "ISIS has a record of fighting the regime on multiple fronts", many rebel factions have engaged in oil sales to the Syrian government because it is "now largely dependent on Iraqi oil imports via Lebanese and Egyptian third-party intermediaries", and while "the regime is focusing its airstrikes [on areas] where it has some real expectations of advancing" claims that it "has not hit ISIS strongholds" are "untrue". He concluded: "Attempting to prove an ISIS-regime conspiracy without any conclusive evidence is unhelpful, because it draws attention away from the real reasons why ISIS grew and gained such prominence: namely, rebel groups tolerated ISIS."[114]

The Syrian Arab Army and other loyalist forces clashed most recently with ISIS forces at the strategic battle of Tabqa Military Airbase, where ISIS won. Most contemporary clash between Assad forces and ISIS was at second battle of Shaera gas field where ISIS forces tried to capture this field and gain new source of revenues, however government forces repelled ISIS attack and recapture gas field, just like at first battle in Summer 2014.

Syrian Civil War[edit]

Main article: Syrian Civil War
Protests in Douma, a Damascus suburb, 8 April 2011

Protests in Syria started on 26 January 2011. Protesters called for political reforms and the re-instatement of civil rights, as well as an end to the state of emergency which had been in place since 1963.[115] One attempt at a "day of rage" was set for 4–5 February, though it ended uneventfully.[116] Protests on 18–19 March were the largest to take place in Syria for decades and the Syrian authority responded with violence against its protesting citizens.[117]

On 18 May 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an Executive order putting into effect sanctions against Assad in an effort to pressure his government "to end its use of violence against its people and begin transitioning to a democratic system that protects the rights of the Syrian people."[118] The sanctions effectively freeze any of the Syrian President's assets either in the United States proper or within U.S. jurisdiction.[119] On 23 May 2011, EU Foreign ministers agreed at a meeting in Brussels to add Assad and nine other officials to a list affected by travel bans and asset freezes.[120] On 24 May 2011, Canada imposed sanctions on Syrian leaders, including Assad.[121]

On 20 June, in a speech lasting nearly an hour, in response to the demands of protesters and foreign pressure, Assad promised a national dialogue involving movement toward reform, new parliamentary elections, and greater freedoms. He also urged refugees to return home from Turkey, while assuring them amnesty and blaming all unrest on a small number of saboteurs.[122]

Destroyed vehicles on an Aleppo street in 2012.

In August, Syrian security forces attacked the country's best-known political cartoonist, Ali Farzat, a noted critic of Syria's government and its five-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and dissent. Relatives of the severely beaten humorist told Western media that the attackers threatened to break Farzat's bones as a warning for him to stop drawing cartoons of government officials, particularly Assad. Farzat was hospitalized with fractures in both hands and blunt force trauma to the head.[123][124]

By the end of January 2012, it was reported that over 5,000 civilians and protesters (including armed militants) had been killed by the Syrian army, militia (Shabiha) and security agents, while 1,100 people had been killed by the anti-government forces.[125]

Pro-Assad demonstration in Lattakia, 2011

On 10 January 2012, Assad gave a speech in which he accused the uprising of being plotted by foreign countries and claimed that "victory [was] near". He also said that the Arab League, by suspending Syria, revealed that it was no longer Arab. However, Assad also said the country would not "close doors" to an Arab-brokered solution if "national sovereignty" was respected. He also said a referendum on a new constitution could be held in March.[126]

On 27 February, Syria claimed that a referendum on an update to the nation's constitution, hailed as 'a showpiece of reform' received 90% support. The referendum imposes a fourteen-year cumulative term limit for the president of Syria. The referendum has been claimed as meaningless by foreign nations including the US and Turkey, and the European Union announced fresh sanctions against key government figures.[127] On 16 July 2012, Russia voicing concern at the blackmail on Syria by the western nations, laid to rest any speculations that it was distancing itself from Assad. Moscow also vowed not to allow a UN resolution pass that aims at sanctions against Syria.[128]

On 15 July 2012, the International Committee of the Red Cross had officially declared Syria to be in a state of civil war,[129] as the nationwide death toll for all sides was reported to have neared 20,000.[130]

Assad gave several TV interviews during the Syrian crisis, appearing on Syria TV, Addounia TV, Syrian News Channel, RT, Russia-24, ABC, ARD and Ulusal Kanal.

On 6 January 2013, Assad, in his first major speech since June, said that the conflict in his country was due to "enemies" outside of Syria who would "go to Hell" and that they would "be taught a lesson". However he said that he was still open to a political solution saying that failed attempts at a solution "does not mean we are not interested in a political solution."[131][132]

After the fall of four regime military bases in September 2014,[133] which were the last regime footholds in Raqqa province, Assad received significant criticism from his Alawite base of support.[92] This included remarks and symbolic gestures made by Douraid al-Assad, cousin of Bashar al-Assad, demanding the resignation of the Syrian Defence Minister following the massacre by the Islamic State of hundreds of regime troops captured after the ISIS victory at Tabqa Air base.[134] This was shortly followed by Alawite protests in Homs demanding the resignation of the governor,[135] and the dismissal of Assad's cousin Hafez Makhlouf from his security position leading to his subsequent exile to Belarus.[136] Growing resentment towards Assad among Alawites is fuelled by the disproportionate number of soldiers killed in fighting hailing from Alawite areas,[55] a sense that the Assad regime has abandoned them,[137] as well as the failing economic situation exacerbated by regime corruption.[56] Figures close to the Assad regime have begun voicing concerns regarding the likelihood of its survival, with one recently stating; "I don’t see the current situation as sustainable ... I think Damascus will collapse at some point."[133]

Personal life[edit]

Bassel al-Assad, older brother of Bashar, had died in a car accident.
Bashar and Asma al-Assad.

Assad speaks fluent English and basic conversational French, having studied at the Franco-Arab al-Hurriyah school in Damascus.[138] In December 2000, Assad married Asma Assad, born Akhras,[139] a British citizen of Syrian origin, from Acton, London.[140] On 3 December 2001, they became the parents of their first-born child, named Hafez after the child's grandfather Hafez al-Assad. Zein was born on 5 November 2003, and Karim on 16 December 2004.[141] Assad resides in the Presidential Palace.

Honours and awards[edit]


Award or decoration Country Date Place Note Ref
Reale ordine di francesco I.png Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I  Two Sicilies 21 March 2004 Damascus Dynastic order of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. [142][143][144]
Nastrino Medaglia di Benemerenza d'Oro dell'Ordine Costantiniano di San Giorgio.jpg Gold Benemerenti Medal of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George  Two Sicilies 21 March 2004 Damascus Highest medal for merit to the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George [142]
ITA OMRI 2001 GC-GCord BAR.svg Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic  Italy 11 March 2010 Damascus Highest ranking honour of the Republic of Italy. Revoked by the President of the Republic on 28 September 2012 for "indignity".[145] [146]
VEN Order of the Liberator - Grand Cordon BAR.png Collar of the Order of the Liberator  Venezuela 28 June 2010 Caracas Highest Venezuelan state order. [147]
Order of the Southern Cross Grand Collar Ribbon.png Grand Cross of the National Order of the Southern Cross  Brazil 30 June 2010 Brasília Brazil's highest order of merit.
Order of the Cedar - Grand Cordon (Lebanon) Ribbon.png Grand Cordon of the National Order of the Cedar  Lebanon 31 July 2010 Beirut Second highest honour of Lebanon. [148]
High Medal of Honor of the Islamic Republic of Iran  Iran 2 October 2010 Tehran Highest national medal of Iran. [149][150]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lesch 2011, p. 4.
  2. ^ Rafizadeh, Majid (April 17, 2013). "How Bashar al-Assad Became so Hated". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.voltairenet.org/article172116.html
  4. ^ "Syrians Vote For Assad in Uncontested Referendum". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 28 May 2007. 
  5. ^ "Syria's Assad wins another term". BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). 29 May 2007. 
  6. ^ Peace Out of Reach: Middle Eastern Travels and the Search for Reconciliation, Stephen Bronner - 2007 - p 63
  7. ^ Lesch 2011, p. 50.
  8. ^ "Flight of Icarus? The PYD’s Precarious Rise in Syria" (PDF). International Crisis Group. May 8, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2014. "The regime aims to compel people to take refuge in their sectarian and communitarian identities; to split each community into competing branches, dividing those who support it from those who oppose it" 
  9. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-10684359
  10. ^ http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0720/Veil-ban-Why-Syria-joins-Europe-in-barring-the-niqab
  11. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/apr/06/syria-relax-veil-ban-teacher
  12. ^ Bassem Mroue (18 April 2011). "Bashar Assad Resignation Called For By Syria Sit-In Activists". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Arab League to offer 'safe exit' if Assad resigns". CNN.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  14. ^ "UN implicates Bashar al-Assad in Syria war crimes". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  15. ^ "Assad tops list of Syria war crimes suspects handed to ICC: former prosecutor". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  16. ^ Jermey Bob, Yonah (November 16, 2013). "Special Lebanon Court permits prosecutor to bring evidence against Assad in Hariri case". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Assad seeks re-election as Syrian civil war rages". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  18. ^ "UK's William Hague attacks Assad's Syria elections plan". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  19. ^ http://gulfnews.com/news/region/syria/al-assad-sworn-in-in-farcical-inauguration-1.1360537
  20. ^ a b Zisser 2007, p. 20.
  21. ^ Patrick Seale (15 June 2000). "Hafez al-Assad". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  22. ^ Houghton Mifflin 2003, p. 74.
  23. ^ a b Zisser 2007, p. 21.
  24. ^ Ciezadlo, Annia. "Bashar Al Assad: An Intimate Profile of a Mass Murderer". The New Republic. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  25. ^ Khalaf, Roula. "Bashar Al Assad: behind the mask". The Financial Times. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "Syria". National Geographic. November 2009. p. 9. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  27. ^ Leverett 2005, p. 59.
  28. ^ a b c Асад Башар : биография [Bashar Assad: A Biography]. Ladno (in Russian). Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  29. ^ Beeston, Richard; Blanford, Nick (22 October 2005). "‘We are going to send him on a trip. Bye, bye Hariri. Rot in hell’". The Times (London). Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  30. ^ Leverett 2005, p. 60.
  31. ^ Minahan 2002, p. 83.
  32. ^ Tucker & Roberts 2008, p. 167.
  33. ^ Zisser 2007, p. 35.
  34. ^ Leverett 2005, p. 61.
  35. ^ Zisser 2007, p. 30.
  36. ^ "CNN Transcript - Breaking News: President Hafez Al-Assad Assad of Syria Confirmed Dead". CNN. 10 June 2000. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  37. ^ a b Ma'oz, Ginat & Winckler 1999, p. 41.
  38. ^ Zisser 2007, p. 34–35.
  39. ^ Blanford 2006, p. 69–70.
  40. ^ Blanford 2006, p. 88.
  41. ^ "Syria". United States Department of State. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  42. ^ a b Issacharoff, Avi (1 February 2011). "Syria's Assad: Regime strong because of my anti-Israel stance". Haaretz (Tel Aviv). Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  43. ^ Leverett 2005, p. 80.
  44. ^ "Syria: 'A kingdom of silence'". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  45. ^ Ghadry, Farid N. (Winter 2005). "Syrian Reform: What Lies Beneath". Middle East Quarterly. 
  46. ^ Hadid, Diaa (November 2, 2014). "Assad's Syria Truncated, Battered, but Defiant". Abc News. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  47. ^ "Syria 'disintegrating under crippling sanctions'". BBC News. February 19, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  48. ^ Croft, Adrian (October 21, 2014). "EU targets ministers, UAE firm in latest Syria sanctions". Reuters. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  49. ^ Korte, Gregory (October 16, 2014). "Tightened sanctions target Syrian human rights abuses". USAToday. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  50. ^ Al-Khalidi, Suleiman (July 4, 2012). "Syria reverts to socialist economic policies to ease tension". Reuters. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  51. ^ "Local ceasefires best way to ease Syrians' suffering: researchers". Reuters. November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  52. ^ Yazigi, Jihad (April 7, 2014). "Syria's War Economy" (PDF). European Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  53. ^ Al-Khalidi, Suleiman (May 28, 2014). "Syria's economy heads into ruin: U.N. sponsored report". Reuters. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  54. ^ Daou, Rita (October 17, 2014). "Glitzy mall sparks anger from Assad backers". Agence France Presse. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  55. ^ a b Hadid, Diaa (November 1, 2014). "Syria's Alawites Pay Heavy Price as They Bury Sons". Associated Press. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  56. ^ a b "Alawites find their voice against Assad". Al Monitor. October 29, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  57. ^ "Bashar Al-Assad, President, Syria". Reporters Without Borders. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  58. ^ "Red lines that cannot be crossed – The authorities don’t want you to read or see too much". The Economist. 24 July 2008. 
  59. ^ Jennifer Preston (9 February 2011). "Syria Restores Access to Facebook and YouTube". The New York Times. 
  60. ^ "Internet Enemies - Syria". Reporters Without Borders. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  61. ^ "A Wasted Decade". Human Rights Watch. 16 July 2010. p. 8. 
  62. ^ "2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Syria". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 8 April 2011. 
  63. ^ "How Syria controls its dissidents – Banning travel". The Economist. 30 September 2010. 
  64. ^ Cambanis, Thanassis (14 December 2007). "Challenged, Syria Extends Crackdown on Dissent". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  65. ^ Michael Bröning (7 March 2011). "The Sturdy House That Assad Built". Foreign Affairs. 
  66. ^ http://www.buzzfeed.com/miriamberger/virginia-state-senator-richard-black-wrote-a-letter-fawning
  67. ^ Olivier Guitta (Fall 2005). "The Chirac Doctrine". Middle East Quarterly. 
  68. ^ "Assad sets conference conditions". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 1 October 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  69. ^ "Bashar Assad Teaches Visiting Members of U.S. Congress How to Fight Terrorism". Middle East Media Research Institute. 16 January 2002. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  70. ^ "Iraq war illegal, says Annan". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 16 September 2004. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  71. ^ Thomas E. Ricks (17 December 2004). "General: Iraqi Insurgents Directed From Syria". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  72. ^ a b "An hour with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad". Charlie Rose. 27 March 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  73. ^ Turekian, Vaughan (2014-09-22). "Beginnings". Science & Diplomacy 3 (3). 
  74. ^ "Bomb kills top Hezbollah leader". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 13 February 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  75. ^ Rogers, Paul (11 October 2006). "Lebanon: the war after the war". openDemocracy. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  76. ^ Walker, Peter; News Agencies (21 May 2008). "Olmert confirms peace talks with Syria". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2008. "Israel and Syria are holding indirect peace talks, with Turkey acting as a mediator..." 
  77. ^ Roee Nahmias (30 November 2010). "Assad: Iran won't attack Israel with nukes". Ynetnews. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  78. ^ Meris Lutz (2 December 2010). "Syria's Assad seems to suggest backing for Hamas negotiable, leaked cables say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  79. ^ "Syria and Judaism: The disappearance of the Jews". The Economist. 10 May 2001. Retrieved 1 June 2011. "The pope's pilgrimage in the steps of St Paul was widely seen as a success, even if it did not elicit an apology to the Muslim world for the medieval crusades. Syria's president, Bashar Assad, basked in international praise for his religious tolerance. But, notably, this tolerance was not extended to Judaism. Welcoming John Paul, Assad compared the suffering of the Palestinians to that of Jesus Christ. The Jews, he said, "tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Muhammad." The pope was taken on a detour to the town of Quneitra, flattened by the Israelis in their partial withdrawal from the Golan Heights, and called upon to bless the president's vision of a Christian-Islamic alliance to vanquish the common threat of colonising Jews." 
  80. ^ "Polish experience shaped Pope's Jewish relations". CBC News. April 2005. Retrieved 7 May 2011. "The decision to beatify Pius IX, the pope who kidnapped a Jewish child in Bologna and who put Rome's Jews back in their ghetto, was one question mark. John Paul's silence in 2001 when Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said Jews had killed Christ and tried to kill Mohammad was another." 
  81. ^ "Pope appeals for Mideast peace". Damascus: CNN. 5 May 2001. Archived from the original on 29 May 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  82. ^ Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 107th Congress, First Session. Government Printing Office. May 2001. p. 7912. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  83. ^ "ADL Urges World and Religious Leaders to Denounce Syrian President's Anti-Jewish Diatribe Delivered in Presence of the Pope". Anti-Defamation League. New York. 6 May 2001. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  84. ^ "'Scharon plant den Krieg'" ['Sharon is planning the war']. Der Spiegel (in German). 9 July 2001. Retrieved 23 June 2011. "Was soll denn das? Wir Araber sind doch selbst Semiten, als Nachfahren von Sem, einem der drei Söhne Noahs. Kein Mensch sollte gegen irgendeine Rasse eingestellt sein, gegen die Menschheit oder Teile von ihr. Wir in Syrien lehnen den Begriff Antisemitismus ab, weil dieser Begriff diskriminierend ist. Semiten sind eine Rasse, wir gehören nicht nur zu dieser Rasse, sondern sind ihr Kern. Das Judentum dagegen ist eine Religion, die allen Rassen zuzuordnen ist." 
  85. ^ Derhally, Massoud A. (7 February 2011). "Jews in Damascus Restore Synagogues as Syria Tries to Foster Secular Image". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 May 2011. "The project, which began in December, will be completed this month as part of a plan to restore 10 synagogues with the backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and funding from Syrian Jews." 
  86. ^ a b Bill Carter; Amy Chozick (10 June 2012). "Syria’s Assads Turned to West for Glossy P.R.". The New York Times. 
  87. ^ a b Ajbaili, Mustapha (September 14, 2013). "Assad makes PR comeback, targets ‘American psyche’". Al Arabiya. Retrieved October 11, 2014. "Assad’s regime also activated its YouTube channel and multiple Facebook accounts." 
  88. ^ Sean Gallagher (8 February 2012). "Anonymous exposes e-mails of Syrian presidential aides". Ars Technica. 
  89. ^ Booth, Robert; Mahmood, Mona; Harding, Luke (March 14, 2013). "Exclusive: secret Assad emails lift lid on life of leader's inner circle". The Guardian. Retrieved October 12, 2012. "Before a speech in December his media consultant prepared a long list of themes, reporting that the advice was based on "consultations with a good number of people in addition to the media and political adviser for the Iranian ambassador"." 
  90. ^ Dewey, Caitlin (July 30, 2013). "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad joined Instagram. Here are his first photos.". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  91. ^ Jones, Allie (August 30, 2013). "The Failed Public Relations Campaign of Bashar al Assad's Family". The Wire. Retrieved October 11, 2014. "a propaganda campaign that ultimately has made the family look worse" 
  92. ^ a b Dziadosz, Alexander; Heneghan, Tom. "Pro-government Syrian activist arrested after rare public dissent". Reuters. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  93. ^ "Assad emails: 'Fares closed all your Twitter accounts'". The Guardian. March 14, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  94. ^ Jones, Johnathan (September 6, 2013). "The Syrian presidency's Instagram account shows the banality of evil". The Guardian. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  95. ^ Mackey, Robert (March 15, 2012). "Syria’s First Couple and the Banality of E-Mail". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  96. ^ Khalaf, Roula (March 18, 2012). "Assad: faithful student of ruthlessness". The Financial Times. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  97. ^ Cush, Andy (August 11, 2014). "Who's Behind This Shady, Propagandistic Russian Photo Exhibition?". Gawker. Retrieved October 11, 2014. "The first obvious sign that the items on display might not be exactly objective comes from the placards below a few of the photos: "provided by the Syrian Ministry of Defense."" 
  98. ^ "‘Material Evidence. Syria. Ukraine’ on display in Berlin (PHOTOS, VIDEO)". RT. June 6, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  99. ^ Isikoff, Michael Abdel (October 13, 2014). "Inside Bashar Assad's Torture Chambers". Yahoo News. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  100. ^ "Photos Presented to the House Foreign Affairs Committee by "Caesar" at Briefing on "Assad's Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy"". House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  101. ^ "Assad allies invent British jihadist death for political ends – think tank". RT. October 6, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  102. ^ Neumann, Peter. "Suspects into Collaborators". London Review of Books. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  103. ^ Scarborough, Rowan. "Al Qaeda ‘rat line’ from Syria to Iraq turns back against Assad". The Washington Times. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  104. ^ Daragahi, Borzou. "Iraq alliances twisted by Syria conflict". Financial Times. Retrieved 24 September 2014. "Just five years ago, Mr Maliki threatened to drag the Assad regime to an international tribunal for facilitating the flow of al-Qaeda militants into Iraq to disrupt the US military presence and attack Shia civilians. Mr Assad’s support for extremists wreaking havoc in Iraq in 2008 had grown so egregious that the US launched air strikes against suspected militants inside Syrian territory." 
  105. ^ Cordall, Simon Speakwell. "How Syria’s Assad Helped Forge ISIS". Newsweek. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  106. ^ Kelley, Michael, B. "It’s Becoming Clear That Assad Fueled The Al-Qaeda Surge That Has Kept Him In Power". Business Insider. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  107. ^ "Kerry: There Is Evidence That Assad Has Played "Footsie" With ISIL". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved 24 September 2014. "JOHN KERRY: Regrettably Congressman, no we're not going to be undercut, because. If Assad's forces indeed do decide to focus on ISIL significantly, which they haven't been doing throughout this period, one of our judgements is there is evidence that Assad has played footsie with them, and he has used them as a tool of weakening the opposition. He never took on their headquarters, which were there and obvious, and other assets that they have. So we have no confidence that Assad is either capable of or willing to take on ISIL."" 
  108. ^ Baker, Aryn. "Is the Assad Regime in League with al-Qaeda?". Time. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  109. ^ "Has Assad infiltrated rebel forces inside Syria?". Channel Four News. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  110. ^ Ridley, Yyonne. "EXCLUSIVE: Shaikh Hassan Abboud's final interview". Middle East Monitor. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  111. ^ "Al-Qaeda detainees reveal ties with Assad". Al Arabiya News. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  112. ^ Hullah, Henry. "New leader of the Free Syrian Army: We warned the Americans about ISIS". CNN. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  113. ^ "French leader calls Assad a 'jihadist ally'". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  114. ^ Al-Tamimi, Aymenn Jawad (2014-02-11). "The Assad Regime and Jihadis: Collaborators and Allies?". Middle East Forum. Retrieved 2014-09-30. 
  115. ^ "Q&A: Syrian activist Suhair Atassi". Al Jazeera. 9 February 2011. Archived from the original on 12 February 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  116. ^ "'Day of rage' protest urged in Syria". MSNBC. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  117. ^ "In Syria, Crackdown After Protests". 18 March 2011. Archived from the original on 22 March 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  118. ^ "Administration Takes Additional Steps to Hold the Government of Syria Accountable for Violent Repression Against the Syrian People". United States Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 18 May 2011. "Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order (E.O. 13573) imposing sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and six other senior officials of the Government of Syria in an effort to increase pressure on the Government of Syria to end its use of violence against its people and to begin a transition to a democratic system that protects the rights of the Syrian people." 
  119. ^ Oweis, Khaled Yacoub (18 May 2011). "U.S. imposes sanctions on Syria's Assad". Reuters. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. "The U.S. move, announced by the Treasury Department, freezes any of the Syrian officials' assets that are in the United States or otherwise fall within U.S. jurisdiction and generally bars U.S. individuals and companies from dealing with them." 
  120. ^ "EU imposes sanctions on President Assad". BBC News (BBC). 23 May 2011. 
  121. ^ "Canada imposes sanctions on Syrian leaders". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 24 May 2011. 
  122. ^ "Speech of H.E. President Bashar al-Assad at Damascus University on the situation in Syria". Syrian Arab News Agency. 21 June 2011. 
  123. ^ Nour Ali (25 August 2011). "Syrian forces beat up political cartoonist Ali Ferzat". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  124. ^ "Prominent Syrian Cartoonist Attacked, Beaten". Voice of America. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  125. ^ Khaled Yacoub Oweis (13 December 2011). "Syria death toll hits 5,000 as insurgency spreads". Reuters. 
  126. ^ "Syria's Assad blames 'foreign conspiracy'". BBC News (BBC). 10 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  127. ^ Martin Chulov in Beirut (27 February 2012). "Syria claims 90% of voters backed reforms in referendum". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  128. ^ Aneja, Atul (17 July 2012). "Russia backs Assad as fighting in Damascus escalates". The Hindu (Chennai). 
  129. ^ "Syria in civil war, Red Cross says". BBC News (BBC). 15 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  130. ^ "Syrian death toll tops 19,000, say activists". The Guardian (London). 22 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  131. ^ "Al-Assad: Enemies of Syria 'will go to hell'". CNN. 6 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  132. ^ Listening Post (6 January 2012). "Syrian Live Blog". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  133. ^ a b "Bashar Assad may be weaker than he thinks". The Economist. October 16, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2014. "In Latakia and Tartus, two coastal cities near the Alawite heartland, posters of missing soldiers adorn the walls. When IS took over four regime bases in the east of the country this summer, slaughtering dozens of soldiers and displaying some of their heads on spikes in Raqqa, IS’s stronghold, families started to lose faith in the regime. A visitor to the region reports hearing one man complain: "We’re running out of sons to give them."" 
  134. ^ Westhall, Syliva. "Assad's army stretched but still seen strong in Syria's war". Reuters. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  135. ^ Hadid, Diaa. "Activists Say Assad Supporters Protest in Syria". Associated Press. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  136. ^ Aziz, Jean (October 16, 2014). "Assad dismisses security chief of powerful 'Branch 40'". Al Monitor. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  137. ^ "Car bomb wounds 37 in government-held area of Syria's Homs". Reuters. October 29, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  138. ^ http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/04/how-bashar-al-assad-became-so-hated/275058/
  139. ^ "The road to Damascus (all the way from Acton)". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 31 October 2001. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  140. ^ "Syria factfile: Key figures". The Daily Telegraph (London). 24 February 2003. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  141. ^ http://www.nndb.com/people/089/000029999/
  142. ^ a b "President al-Assad- Duke and Duchess of Calabria". Arabicnews.com. 22 March 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  143. ^ President Bashar al-Assad of Syria becomes first Muslim Head of State to be invested into the Order of Francesco I. Duke of Calabria receives highest Syrian decoration on behalf of the Constantinian Order. Damascus – March 2004. Constantinian.com
  144. ^ SYRIA-ASSAD-BOURBON Mediafaxfoto.ro, 21 March 2004
  145. ^ ATTO CAMERA INTERROGAZIONE A RISPOSTA SCRITTA 4/17085 Banchedati.camera.it (Italian)
  146. ^ Al-Assad S.E. Bashar Decorato di Gran Cordone Presidenza della Repubblica (Italian)
  147. ^ "Gobierno Nacional condecoró al Presidente sirio con Orden del Libertador" (in Spanish). El Correo del Orinoco. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  148. ^ President Michel Suleiman hosts Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz Marada-news.org, July 31, 2010
  149. ^ "Iran Awards Syrian Leader Highest Medal of Honor". Voice of America. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  150. ^ "Syrian President Awarded Iran's Medal of Honor". CBN News. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Articles