Syrian rebels cut off Bashar al-Assad’s escape route

A rebel looks out onto the frontline Photo: WARREN ALLOTT

An eerie silence hangs over what was once a busy highway that cuts through the mountains and makes for Latakia city

By Ruth Sherlock, Latakia province The Telegraph

Abu Yassin, resident in one of the dozens of Sunni villages in Jebel Akrad drove his vehicle, the only one on the road, passed the carcases of burnt out tanks, abandoned government checkpoints and row upon row of empty villages.

In the distance war was raging: government helicopters circled over front line towns, dropping barrels filled with TNT and lethal metal debris on buildings below with deafening effect. Rebel fighters shot back with anti-aircraft guns hidden amid narrow buildings or in nearby forests that cover the mountainsides.

It is here; in this mountainous Mediterranean coastline of Syria’s Latakia province that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may well hope to make his last stand.

For centuries, this was his and his people’s homeland, the verdant terrain belonging to his minority Alawite sect. Now it is this enclave comprising the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartous and mountains to the east that the many in the President’s his sect see as their and his last chance of making a breakaway Alawite state to protect them against the Sunni majority rebellion.

But, travelling across the terrain this week The Daily Telegraph discovered that the rebels have already won control of much of his land, making the vision of a safe haven state – or a at leats a defendable one – more pipe dream than project.

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NOTE BY THE EDITOR: Just another good headline. I do not think that Latakia would offer an ‘escape’ for Bashar Al Assad.

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