News / Middle East

Syrian Minister Hospitalized in Lebanon

Syria's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar announces the results of the referendum on a new constitution in Damascus, February 27, 2012.
Syria's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar announces the results of the referendum on a new constitution in Damascus, February 27, 2012.
Lebanese officials say a key aide to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in the Lebanese capital to receive medical treatment for wounds suffered in a Damascus bomb attack last week. 
 
Authorities said Syrian interior minister Mohammed al-Shaar was flown to Beirut late Wednesday and transported to the city's American University Hospital under tight security.  They said Shaar was able to speak with Lebanese officials on his arrival, but there were conflicting reports about the extent of his wounds. 
 
Syrian state news agency Sana previously had reported that the minister was unhurt in the December 12 bomb attack on the interior ministry compound in the Syrian capital.  It said the attack killed five people and wounded more than 20. 
 
It was the second time that Shaar was caught up in an apparent rebel attack this year.  He also was wounded in a July 18 bombing that killed four of President Assad's top security officials in Damascus. 
 
Carnegie Middle East Center director Paul Salem said Syrian officials have been traveling to Beirut for medical treatment for years.  Syrian troops occupied Lebanon for almost three decades before withdrawing in 2005 and the current Lebanese leadership is sympathetic toward the Assad government. 
 
But Salem said Shaar's medical visit has drawn less sympathy from Lebanese opposition groups who support Syria's rebels.
 
"The opposition in Lebanon has complained about the fact that the interior minister is being welcomed in Beirut, given that the Assad regime is at war with much of its population.  So it has, obviously at the political level in Lebanon, drawn a considerable amount of controversy.  But that is part of the general political back and forth in Lebanon and, in itself, I do not think this event will escalate or lead to anything very significant," he said. 
 
Salem also said the Assad government has been relatively cohesive since the July assassination of the four security chiefs. 
 
"There have been no major defections from the security side of the regime.  Losing one or more of the commanders in the security sector will have a limited impact but will not be decisive.  The regime has proven, particularly in its major Alawite base, to be quite solid, although not able to maintain control of the country per say.  But it is still a very solid fighting force, and that will not be gravely affected if they lose one of these security leaders," he said. 

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid