Syrian defector says Assad planning exit

Oct. 9, 2012 at 6:07 AM
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ANTAKYA, Turkey, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A former member of Syrian President Bashar Assad's media office who defected to Turkey says Assad and his family are preparing to escape to Russia.

Abdullah al-Omar, a former staff member of Assad's media office, told al-Jazeera he was privy to many of the regime's secrets before his defection in September.

"Russia is preparing more than 300 apartments for Assad's extended family. I know that after 60 days the Assad family will escape gradually," he told Qatar's Arab-language television station in an interview in southern Turkey this week.

Assad will be the last to leave the country and will only do so after he receives international guarantees that he won't be subjected to prosecution, al-Omar claimed.

Speaking of events in Syria, al-Omar said "the regime uses deception to control the people's minds."

Intelligence agencies in the country coordinate activities with the president's office, he said. Many bombings reported in the media are orchestrated by the regime, which plants prisoners and bodies of people who have already died at the scene of the blasts, blaming the actions on terrorists, he said.

Overnight Monday, a series of blasts rocked Damascus.

A car bombing in front of the Syrian air force intelligence compound in a Damascus suburb was followed by clashes between opposition and regime forces, Xinhua News Agency reported. Hours later, a bomb exploded in another Damascus suburb. The number of casualties was still being determined, the Chinese news agency said.

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