Friday, March 18, 2005


Trouble In Syria?

I'd take this with a grain of salt, but here it is anyway. From the Lebanese Foundation for Peace:
The regime of President Bashar Assad has come under severe strain over the decision to pull back forces from Lebanon and, according to an unconfirmed report, Assad has fled Damascus to regroup in Aleppo.

Lebanese opposition sources said the Assad regime has been divided over the decision to withdraw thousands of troops from Lebanon. The sources said some elements of the military have refused to follow orders for the pullout of troops as well as intelligence agents from both central Lebanon and the eastern Bekaa Valley.

Syria's military increased deployment around Damascus due to tension within the regime. The opposition Lebanese Foundation for Peace said the Syrian military has undergone a split, with a rebel faction having taken control over parts of the capital, Middle East Newsline reported. The rebel faction was said to be led by Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan and Firas Tlas, the son of former Defense Minister Mustapha Tlas. The sources said this group, which included Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Rustom Ghazaleh and Maj. Gen. Ali Madi, has rebelled against Assad's decision to withdraw from Lebanon.

"Around 3 a.m. [Wednesday], Damascus time, the Syrian Air Force bombarded two military airfields around Damascus, the air force base of Dumair, and the air force base of Katana," the opposition Lebanese Foundation for Peace said. "Also, late night around 3 a.m., the Syrian Air Force bombarded military positions of the Syrian Army west of the city of Homs."

There was no confirmation of this report. There were no unusual military movements reported in Damascus on Thursday.

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