Assad's Farewell Tour of Damascus?
Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad has appeared in public more often recently than in the past. And while one visit with his troops at the start of this year was billed by government media as a morale-boosting trip, I venture, to opine here, that Assad is taking a farewell tour of Damascus because the reality of Syrian affairs mandate that peace can only come to the Levant with his departure.
Moreover, Assad's pending fate has been emphasized by former leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, in Syria, Moaz al Khatib, who, cited in a Reuters report, has proclaimed that no solution to peace in Syria could come "without the departure of the head of the regime". The sentiments of Khatib, also the former Imam of Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, are stark for they represent blunt analyses of Assad's future role in Syria. Khatib once advocated direct talks with the Assad government offering Assad a negotiated exit from Damascus. He stepped down as head of the Syrian Opposition forces after being criticized for suggesting direct talks with the Syrian regime.
But as Russia attempts to compel its ally Assad to a peace, Syrian opposition groups are insisting on a political transition toward democracy in the form of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, as reported by the Associated Press, naturally eliminating any function by Assad.
Assad, who has rarely appeared in public since the start of Syrian war in March 2011, made two public trips in the past week. His slated morale-boosting trip reportedly with troops in Jobar, a contested locale, northeast of Damascus, has even been questioned as to its authenticity. Opposition intelligence reports suggest that the trip was more likely taken to Zablatani, a Syrian regime held town, and they based their findings upon landmarks photographed during the government publicized stunt.
On Sunday, Assad visited Al Afram Mosque in Damascus as Muslims paid respect to the Prophet Mohammad on the celebration of the Prophet's birthday. In October, Assad also appeared publicly on the celebration of the Eid holiday.
Assad is bidding farewell. With the war he has waged against his people about to enter a fourth year, with some 206,603 people killed, one million wounded and three million displaced, how could Assad stay? The August, 2013 gassing of 1,500 civilians including 421 children at Al Ghouta, east of Damascus, precludes Assad from Syria. The only unanswered question per Assad is in what jurisdiction will be be detained and held for trial for crimes against humanity.