(DAMASCUS, Syria) — Will Syrian President Bashar al-Assad soon follow his mother out the door?
According to various foreign published reports, his mother, Anisa Makhluf, has gone to live with al-Assad’s only sister, Bushra al-Assad, in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
It was last July that Bushra al-Assad’s husband and the president’s brother-in-law, Gen. Assef Shawkat, was killed by a bomb blast in Damascus, along with three other high-ranking members of the Syrian regime.
The departure of Bashar’s mother could be considered a major blow to the Syrian leader since he relies heavily on the advice of family members.
Bashar’s only living brother, Maher, heads the Syrian army’s Fourth Brigade, which has battled rebel forces who are determined to remove the president from power.
In another sign of Bashar’s declining influence, large groups of businessmen and wealthy Syrians with close links to the government have also sought refuge in Dubai.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN