By Peter Clifford © (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-2)
international news channels and both Opposition and Assad Loyalist websites are awash this morning, Thursday, with reports of a claimed attack on a convoy taking President Bashar Assad earlier today to attend prayers celebrating the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, a 3 day holiday.
Assad at Prayer Today or 2012?
What is known and confirmed by residents is that at least 7 Opposition mortar shells fell early this morning on the up-market Damascus area of Malki where the President and his family live.
The timing seems to be an attempt to target his motorcade which would normally be transporting him to Eid prayers at the Anas Bin Malek Mosque.
After the alleged attack, roads into the Malki area and around the mosque were blocked off by the army and activists released this video of smoke (but little else) arising from the Malki district, HERE:
Islam Alloush of the Opposition Liwa al-Islam Brigade originally claimed that rockets hit the president’s motorcade as it drove to the mosque in the Syrian capital for the Eid prayers and that “there are casualties”.
Countering the claims, the Syrian Information Minister, Omran Zoabi, said in a statement that the claims of an attack on the convoy were, “wholly untrue” and “dreams and illusions” by the Opposition.
Zoabi even later claimed that, “The president was driving his car himself, he attended the prayer and greeted people… everything is normal.”
But something is not normal. SANA, the Syrian state media, always makes great play of any speech or appearance in public of President Assad. Early this morning it had merely posted:
“SANA: Aug 08, 2013
Damascus, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad performed Thursday Eid al-Fitr Prayer at Anas Bin Malek Mosque in Damascus.”
But since the “attack” reports it has expanded this into several paragraphs.
Assad Praying with Grand Mufti. 2012 or 2013?
As the reports emerged, Syrian TV ran footage of what it claimed was “Live” coverage of Assad attending the mosque for prayers this morning, though the “Live” tag later disappeared.
You can see today’s “live footage” in this AL Jazeera report. Stop the video at 0.28, HERE: (and then watch carefully from there)
Then take a look at this video of Assad attending Eid prayers in 2012, which was broadcast live. Stop this one at 1.11,HERE:
Note that Assad and his companions to his right and left (the Grand Mufti) are all wearing the same suits in both shots. Plus Assad and his companion to his right are wearing exactly the same (lucky?) ties.
Coincidence or not?