The American magazine "Foreign Policy" reports that the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, has allowed his exiled uncle Rifat al-Assad to return to Syria to ensure his survival in power, by reconciling the Alawite sect, which reduced its support following the country's economic crisis.
The magazine revealed in a Thursday article that "Assad allowed his uncle to return to Syria and escape the impasse that led him to prison in France, not because he was generous to him, but because of his desire to maintain himself and ensure his survival in power," he added.
By respecting the laws of the tribe, Bashar al-Assad intended to appease his Alawite community, whose support had waned in the wake of the deepening economic crisis in the country.
The newspaper explained that "during the three decades that Rifat al-Assad lived in Europe, he maintained some influence in the Alawite-controlled areas, and opposed his nephew's succession to power, believing he was constitutionally entitled to take power after his brother Hafez's death."
"When anti-regime protests erupted in 2011, Rifat formed an opposition political current called the Syrian National Democratic Council, with other defecting members of the Syrian Ba'ath party, to appear clean in the eyes of the host country and show Russia a suitable alternative to Bashar al-Assad."
Despite this, the magazine wrote that "Rifat al-Assad's past did not let him go, as the French legal system condemned him and accused him of embezzlement and money laundering, and sentenced him, and in September the court upheld the verdict, so Rifat, 84, did not "There was a choice but to reconcile with his nephew, who had opposed his return to Syria all these years, instead of spending the last years of his life in a French prison cell."
The magazine noted that "Rafat al-Assad was not allowed to return to Syria until he swore allegiance to his nephew, and promised him not to participate in any political or social activities."
The magazine quoted one of its sons, Firas al-Assad, as saying that "Bashar al-Assad allowed his father to return" to prevent him from revealing the dark secrets of the Assad regime."
Rifat's second son, Rival al-Assad, said his father "remains very popular", adding that "if my father does not have strong political power left in Syria, then why was he asked not to get involved in politics? This means that Rifat al-Assad still has a large number of Loyal and supportive of Syria. "