As­sad los­ing Arab sup­port

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

SYRIA IS rapidly los­ing the sup­port of other Arab na­tions as its army con­tin­ues to at­tack cities and towns where there are s u p p o r t e r s o f democ­racy. In a blow to Syrian Pres­i­dent B a s h a r a l - As­sad, Saudi Ara­bia an­nounced on Sun­day that it was re­call­ing its en­voy from Damascus. The Saudis cited their concern over the crack­down on pro­test­ers in ma­jor cities the pre­vi­ous week, in­clud­ing Hama and Deir a-Zoor, de­spite the start of Ra­madan. Hu­man rights groups are now es­ti­mat­ing the num­ber of civil­ians killed since demon­stra­tions broke out five months ago at over 2,000.

Kuwait also an­nounced it was re­call­ing its am­bas­sador, while the Arab League ex­pressed “grow­ing concern” over the events in Syria.

An­other for­mer Syrian ally to crit­i­cise the regime has been Tur­key, which in re­cent years strove to im­prove the rela- tions be­tween the two coun­tries. The Turk­ish gov­ern­ment has shel­tered over 10,000 refugees and al­lowed Syrian op­po­si­tion par­ties to op­er­ate openly.

The main ex­cep­tion to the break­ing of ranks among Syria’s for­mer Mus­lim al­lies is Iran. Not only has Iran con­tin­ued to de­fend Mr As­sad, the Is­lamist repub­lic is also be­lieved by in­tel­li­gence sources to be aid­ing the Syrian se­cu­rity forces with equip­ment and ad­vis­ers.

Is­raeli De­fence Min­is­ter Ehud Barak said last week: “Pres­i­dent As­sad’s fate has been sealed.” He added that he was not sure if As­sad’s de­par­ture would be a good thing for Is­rael. “None of us know what will come af­ter­wards.”

PHOTO: AP

Iso­lated: As­sad

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