by Elad Benari
As Syrian President Bashar Assad continues his brutal crackdown on anti-regime protesters, his London-based father-in-law said Sunday he is “horrified” by his son-in-law’s actions.
According to a report in the British Sunday Express, cardiologist Dr. Fawaz Akhras also said he is fearful for the safety of his British-born daughter Asma, 36, who married Assad 12 years ago.
Akhras’ concerns came amid are rumors that his daughter is being kept under virtual house arrest in Damascus by the president’s henchmen, who fear she might attempt to leave the country.
While he has refused to discuss the worsening situation in public, Dr. Akhras reported told friends in the British Syrian Society he is now in an “impossible position”, caught between family loyalty and worldwide condemnation of the increasing brutality of his son-in-law’s regime.
The doctor has been telling friends he fears his daughter may be harmed if or when the regime falls, according to the Sunday Express.
Asma, a former investment banker, went to primary school in Ealing, west London. She graduated from King’s College London in 1996 with a degree in computer science. She still has a British passport.
The Sunday Express reported that her father is desperate for her to return to London with his three grandchildren. The report also said that Dr. Akhras is concerned for his own safety and that of his wife Sahar, fearing the possibility of revenge attacks from Syrians who have had relatives murdered or tortured by Assad’s army.
On Sunday it was reported that Syrian government forces barred workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross from entering the Baba Amr district in the city of Homs on Sunday, as they carried out “mop-up” operations.
Human rights activists in Syria reported that security forces loyal to Assad raped and executed civilian residents in the quarter as part of those operations. The onslaught followed the heavy shelling and rocket fire that had killed veteran American journalist Marie Colvin a week earlier, as well as French photographer Remi Ochlik.
On Saturday, Syrian forces executed 47 Syrian soldiers who tried to defect in the city of Idlib. The bodies of the soldiers were then dumped in al-Seeha lake near Idlib by Assad loyalist forces, a local coordination committee from Idlib reported.
Also on Sunday, Israel formally offered to assist Syrian civilians hit by Assad’s crackdown. Aid would be provided via the Red Cross.
“The state of the Jewish people cannot sit idly by while in a neighboring state atrocities are taking place and people are losing everything,” said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Israel’s ability to help is limited, Lieberman said. However, he pledged, the Foreign Ministry will find a way to help regardless.
“Even if Israel cannot intervene in what is being done in a state with which we have no diplomatic ties, we have a moral obligation to at least give humanitarian aid, and to stir the world to act to end the slaughter,” Lieberman declared.Elad Benari
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