Bashar Assad shot by his own bodyguard?
Rumours and conspiracy are rife in a Syria which has no command structure
Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, embattled dictator Bashar al-Assad has only been seen in public a handful of times. The opposition, it seems, are now using this to their advantage in spreading rumours about the death of the tyrant - at the hands of his own bodyguard no less.
Yesterday, rumours started to circulate about Assad's death, with various Arab news outlets claiming that his Iranian bodyguard had shot him.
On attempting to confirm such rumours, journalists were met with confusion and denial: pretty standard in Assad's Syria, but it looks like the rumours of his death have been greatly exaggerated.
The Israel News Agency website said that news of Assad's death had been confirmed by "Russian media sources". It reported that he had been shot at "point-blank" range by his bodyguard and died in hospital in Damascus "from heart failure resulting from massive blood loss" on Saturday night.
Online updates however reported that the Syrian leader’s shooting was false and that he was alive and in high spirits. The conflicting reports highlight the chaos that continues to engulf the country, which has been mired in a bloody civil war for two years.
Still, in Syria, where information is often hard to come by or passed along by word of mouth, it seems whoever wanted the rumours out and about have begun a new phase in a propaganda war against the country's dictator.
In an information vacuum like this - there is always the chance it could lead to defections, the abandonment of posts, and the intervention of foreign forces. For the Free Syrian Army - any of the above may help.
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