wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost2
Posted at 12:51 PM ET, 08/08/2012

Syrian Prime Minister escapes in the desert, reports say

This video from al-Jazeera allegedly shows Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab's convoy driving through the desert, as he escapes to Jordan.

The Post's Ahmed Ramadan provided the transcript for the video:

AJ reporter: The dust covering the biggest defection from the Syrian regime has been cleared, and in these images obtained by al-Jazeera, it shows the final stages of the defection. This is the Prime Minister Riyad Hijab's parade as it challenges the regime leaving Syria rather than hiding. The images posted show eight SUVs, with gunmen from the Free Syrian Army from the al-Motassem Billah battalion, that works mainly in Daraa, which is one of the battalions that took part in the operation that started in Damascus and finished on the Jordanian border.

Yasser al-Aboud on video chat: The operation was cumbersome, bothersome and very complex. It involved more than one battalion and brigade, ranging from the ones working in Damascus and its countryside to the ones in the southern regions. The number of cars used in the operation was big, and we also had huge camouflage operations, such as sending cars in more than one direction — some toward the north, some to the west and some to the east, while the official operation is moving toward the south. Also, we arranged for communications to be monitored by the regime to fool them into thinking that the defected PM is heading north to Turkey.

 AJ reporter: Here we see the PM with his family sitting with the host of FSA officer Yasser al-Aboud, rather than sitting in his usual place in the Cabinet. There were 35 members of his family present with him here. Meanwhile, Daraa was in the eye of the Syrian regime’s storm: under control, under shelling and suffering from power-cuts and communication motioning. For the first time, the regime deployed a number of snipers with night-vision weapons, especially that the defection of the PM has been discovered following his disappearance from the eyes of those around him.

Yasser al-Aboud on video chat: Many of the regime men who are in leadership positions are in the process of defecting; and there will be many defection operations soon. The defections will be witnessed on the political side more, such as in the parliament, the ministries and the diplomatic corps. The defection of Mr. PM has opened the door to anyone who wants to defect and delivered the message that this regime has completely collapsed and has became virtually dead. There are some remains to be swept, and we shall do it, God willing.

AJ reporter: Participating in the operation were the Yarmouk Brigade, al-Sahaba battalion and Abdullah bin Omar battalion. The Yarmouk battalion dedicated this operation to their leader Adham Abu al-Heij, who was killed in a clash earlier with the regime forces. The Free Syrian Army are looking forward that Daraa would turn to be a point of entrance to Damascus soon, rather than a point of exit.

More world news coverage:

- Syrian rebels feel abandoned by U.S.

- Defected Syrian PM arrives in Jordan

- Syria instability leaves U.S. at crossroads

- Read more stories from around the world

By Ahmed Ramadan  |  12:51 PM ET, 08/08/2012

Tags:  World

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company