Duraid Assad, the cousin of Syrian president Bashar Assad, revealed that his father, Rifaat, was interested in taking part in the country’s political process.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Duraid revealed that his father “was looking forward to building Syria – a Syria which all national political forces can take part in a comprehensive political operation” in shaping the country’s future.
Hinting at the role played by Bashar’s wife, Asma, in the conflict with the president’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, Duraid said Rifaat’s family has nothing to do with what is taking place in Syria today.
“Just as Rifaat had distanced himself from developments in Syria for 36 years, due to the major political dispute with the ruling power and the way it has handled several political, economic and social files, he and his family are distancing themselves from what is happening in Syria today,” said Duraid.
Rifaat is the younger brother of late president Hafez Assad and staged a failed coup against him in 1984. He has been in exile in France ever since.
The 82-year-old, dubbed the "Butcher of Hama" for allegedly commanding troops who put down an uprising in central Syria in 1982, has been under investigation in France since 2014. He is standing trial in Paris for crimes allegedly committed between 1984 and 2016, including aggravated tax fraud and misappropriation of Syrian funds.
Indirectly referring to the dispute between Bashar and Makhlouf, Duraid said his father “is above all petty disputes,” adding: “We are, once again, rising above our wounds and pain.”
On Saturday, Duraid waded into the Assad-Makhlouf dispute, hinting at Asma’s role in the conflict.
“The wife, who brings her husband closer to her family, is taking him away from his own and weakening him in front of everyone,” he remarked. His statement drew sharp criticism, forcing him to declare that he was not targeting anyone in specific and that people can interpret it in any way they want.