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Syria: The end of Assad?

Those bombings in downtown Damascus today look ominous given the targets. But does it mean that Assad is nearer to being toppled? Robert Fisk, veteran Middle East correspondent writing his latest op-ed piece for The Indpendent thinks not.
They have gone for the jugular now. The brother-in-law of the President, the Defence Minister, a massive bomb close to – or in – the headquarters of the military apparatus run by the President's own brother. Assassinations take time to plan, but this was on an epic scale, to match the bloodbath across Syria.
al-Assad's own sister, Bushra, one of the pillars of the Baath party, loses her husband in a massive explosion in the very centre of Damascus. No wonder the Russians talk about the "decisive battle".
It won't be a replay of Stalingrad, but the tentacles of the rebellion have now moved towards the heart. And, of course, there are massacres to come. Why else would thousands of Syria's citizens flee to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp yesterday, to seek protection from the most betrayed citizens of the Arab world?
And there is hatred enough to maintain this savage strike at the Syrian government. Eight months ago, during one of the massive pro-regime demonstrations in the Rawda district, I walked past the very intelligence-security establishment which was bombed yesterday.

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