Damasco se apresura para llenar el vacío de poder

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

La muerte del presidente sirio Hafez al-Assad abre un nuevo capítulo en la turbulenta historia de Oriente Medio. Le tocará a su segundo hijo, Bashar al-Assad, un medico oculista formado en Inglaterra, llenar el vacío dejado por el padre.

Share this Entry
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Times
From MICHAEL THEODOULOU in Nicosia and ROSS DUNN in Jerusalem

THE Syrian authorities, determined to fill the power vacuum left by the death of President Hafez al-Assad, moved with dizzying speed yesterday to confirm his largely untested son as his undisputed successor.

Bashar al-Assad, 34, was elevated from colonel to lieutenant-general and named Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, one of the country´s most powerful institutions.

As a public outpouring of grief swept through the Syrian capital Damascus yesterday, the other key pillar of power, the Baath Party, said that it had decided unanimously to nominate Bashar as its candidate to succeed the astute «Lion of Damascus».

The First Vice-President, Abdel-Halim Khaddam, a veteran politician who had served President Assad for more than a quarter of a century, had taken on the role of acting President.

If, as was virtually certain, the Baath Party´s nomination is approved, parliament is due on June 25 to issue a decree for a referendum in which voters will be asked to accept or reject Bashar. Approval would give him ostensible popular support to replace his father, who had been preparing Bashar for the highest office in recent months without formalising the succession.

Yesterday there was tight security at strategic road intersections in Damascus but the capital remained calm as the country began an official day of mourning.

Crowds dressed in black packed the streets to display their sorrow for the loss of a man many Syrians called the «Father of the Nation» and the architect of a modern Arab republic. Many appeared dazed and confused as preparations were made for him to be laid to rest tomorrow in his home village of Qerdaha, northwest of the capital.

Syrian television showed men, women and children weeping uncontrollably and some even fainting.

There were also shows of support for the expected heir to the presidency, Bashar, as thousands of teenagers, their fists clenched, vowed to sacrifice themselves for their new leader with their «souls and blood». Led by drummers and bearers of black flags, mourners marched to Shami Hospital, where President Assad was briefly taken after his fatal heart attack on Saturday, and to Rawda, the quiet neighbourhood where he had set up home. Soldiers formed a security cordon around the area and pushed back the crowds, who chanted in unison: «The pain is big but the hope [in the future] is also big. With our soul and our blood we will redeem you, O Bashar.»

The Syrian parliament also paid tribute to President Assad, saying that he had symbolised the hopes, suffering and wisdom of the nation.Syrian state-run television showed MPs weeping at the news of the President´s death.Most government offices in Syria were closed yesterday – usually a working day – and private businesses and shops also remained shut.

The Syrian administration has declared 40 days of official mourning and verses of the Koran are being recited on state radio and television. Mosques and churches devoted their services yesterday to the memory of the late President. The Syrian leader´s body is to be carried in a casket that will move in a slow procession to Ommayyad Square for a final farewell from the people. The corpse will then be flown to Latakia and from there the casket will be transported to Qerdaha for burial in the family plot.

Before being laid to rest, his body will be placed in the village´s main mosque, where foreign leaders will be able to file past to pay their last respects. Leaders who have confirmed that they will attend the funeral include King Abdullah of Jordan, President Lahoud of Lebanon, whose country is effectively controlled by Syria, and Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State.

Share this Entry


Apoye a ZENIT

Si este artículo le ha gustado puede apoyar a ZENIT con una donación

@media only screen and (max-width: 600px) { .printfriendly { display: none !important; } }