Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad Israel news photo: Flash 90

Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family have been living on a warship, with security provided by Russia, intelligence sources told Saudi newspaper Al Watan.

The report has not been confirmed by other news sources.

According to the report, the family and Assad's aides live on the ship, which is floating in the Mediterranean Sea, and Assad travels to Syria by helicopter to attend official meetings and receptions.

When he flies to Syria, he lands at secret locations and is transported to the presidential palace under heavy guard, the sources said.

Assad's presence on the warship suggests he has been granted political asylum by Russia but there has been no official comment from Moscow, Al Watan added.

"It is necessary to make everybody, including the opposition, which is still categorically refusing any dialogue, to sit down at the negotiating table," Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty recently quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.

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