Syrian Government Denies Attack on Assad Convoy

Rebels in Syria said they attacked a convoy in which President Bashar al-Assad was riding, but regime airs video of president soon after.

David Lev ,

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
AFP file

Rebels in Syria said Thursday they successfully attacked a convoy that included a vehicle in which President Bashar al-Assad was riding. In a statement, broadcast on Al-Arabiyeh television, a rebel spokesperson said that the attack happened in Damascus, and that the convoy had been hit by a large explosive.

“We are not sure that the dictator Bashar Assad was hurt in the attack,” said the spokesperson. “We pray that we was killed.”

He apparently was not, because Al-Arabiya later showed live images of Assad attending services in a mosque in Damascus. The claim that the images were live could not immediately be confirmed, Western analysts said, although they added that it was not uncommon for Assad to send out “phony” presidential convoys in which he himself did not ride, but could be targets for attack.

On Wednesday, 62 members of the radical Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra were killed in battles with the Syrian army. The battles took place in a suburb east of Damascus, where the army ambushed the Islamists. Syrian human rights groups confirmed the story.