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May 6, 2015 / 17 Iyar, 5775
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Assad’s Sister Defected

Bushra al-Assad, sister of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has fled Syria with her children, an informed source told Al Arabiya English on Tuesday. Her husband, Assef Shawqat, who was the deputy chief of staff of the Syrian military, was assassinated in July.

According to the opposition website All4Syria.info, Bushra left Syria to Dubai. Apparently she fled to the UAE in the past, during a short family quarrel with her brother, Bashar.

The pro-Syrian Lebanese daily Ad-Diyar reported that Bushra, a pharmacist, was on her way to Dubai, but didn’t specify whether it would be her final destination.

According to Al Arabiya, Bushra escaped Syria amid reports of internal strife within the Alawite sect, to which the president and most of the military, intelligence, and government leadership belong.

After the assassination of her husband, Bushra expressed great anxiety about her own and her children’s safety. A recent palace “quasi-coup” within the ranks of the Alawite leadership has driven Bushra to flee Syria.

According to Ad-Diyar, “some Alawite leaders are worried that the whole sect would eventually be implicated by President Assad in crimes against civilians,” and this has turned some of them against him. It appears that a “front of Alawite officers” has been formed to negotiate with the rebels’ Free Syrian Army on overthrowing the president.

Bushra feared becoming a target of those Alawites gone rogue, who were implicated by her husband in killing civilians.

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