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Assad Moving Offices and Missile Launchers, Says Opposition

Preparing for a Western military strike, the Syrian government has reportedly moved political offices to schools and universities.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 8/30/2013, 11:21 PM

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
AFP photo

The Syrian government has moved its political offices to schools and universities to seek safe haven in case of a military attack by the West, Al Arabiya reported on Friday, citing the country’s opposition.

President Bashar Al-Assad’s armed forces have also moved their scud missiles and launchers from a military base in northern to Damascus to unidentified regions, the opposition added.

The opposition Local Coordination Committees (LCC) said that the Assad regime has also cut off power supply in Mount Qasioun and the People’s Palace military units located in the capital.

On Thursday, residents and a source from the opposition Free Syrian Army in Damascus told Al Arabiya that headquarters belonging to Syria’s command forces and the country’s air force, which are close to security complexes in western Kafrsousa, were partially evacuated.

A “large number” of military defectors have also been reported by the opposition.

Syrian National Coalition spokesman Khaled Saleh said that his main opposition group “has evidence that a large number of officers have defected last night, wore civilian clothes and left the country.”

While the West is still tiptoeing towards making a decision on a military strike, insisting it will not seek regime change, the head of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Al-Jarba, said any military intervention by the West against Assad will eventually overthrow his regime.

On Friday, French President Francois Hollande gave a boost to U.S. hopes of forging an international coalition for possible strikes against Syria after British lawmakers rejected any involvement in military action.    

Hollande said the British vote would not affect his government's stance.    

"France wants firm and proportionate action against the Damascus regime," he said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper, hinting an attack was possible by Wednesday.

Later in the day, in a live statement about Syria which many believe lay the groundwork for a strike in Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Assad of killing 1,400 people, including at least 400 children, in last week chemical attack.

Kerry, who called Assad “a thug and a murderer”, said that U.S. intelligence had concluded that the Syrian regime was behind the attack and urged the world to take punitive action.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)