A recently published book by Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa, who has been out of sight since 2012, describes how Russia agreed to receive Rifaat al-Assad, who had a dispute in 1984 with his brother and late president Hafez over power when the latter suffered health problems. This means it would not be strange if Moscow repeated such an act of containing the Syrian crisis by granting President Bashar al-Assad safe passage or exile.
If the Russians had done today what they did in 1984, and if they had supported calls for Bashar to step down, they would have prevented a catastrophe.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
“I, upon the president’s request, found a decent exit for Rifaat to keep him out of Syria,” Sharaa wrote. “I contacted the French ambassador to arrange an official visit for Rifaat to France as vice president so he can then stay in Paris, but the Foreign Ministry refused to receive Rifaat. I later made the same request again, and we waited for a while but France did not alter its stance and this caused tension between us and them.”