Al Arabiyas Lions Den tracks Assads inner circle

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Al Arabiya News Channel’s English portal has released a new interactive gallery which helps readers keep track of defections, deaths and arrests within the inner-circle of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Under the title “The Lion’s Den” (“Assad” is Arabic for “Lion”), visitors of www.alarabiya.net/English can now view and interact with a constantly updated info-graphic which serves as a guide to members of the Baathist Syrian regime.

As for its design, the “Lion’s Den” is illustrated through a deck of interactive playing cards, with each card indicating the name, title, picture and current status of Assad’s inner-circle and government officials.

Using playing cards has previously been employed during the 2003 United States-led war in Iraq, when the U.S. military developed a set of playing cards to help troops identify the most-wanted members of (late) president Saddam Hussein’s government, high-ranking Baath party members of the Revolutionary Command Council.

The “Lion’s Den” can be viewed by clicking on the designated banner on Al Arabiya’s English website or on the following link: http://english.alarabiya.net/index/static/lionsden_en

In March 2011, the arrest and torture of children who had painted anti-government graffiti in the southwestern city of Daraa sparked the uprising against the Syrian regime. Syrians nationwide took to the streets demanding reforms, including the resignation of long-time President Bashar al-Assad. The government cracked down on demonstrations, killing and arbitrarily arresting people.

Today, more than 60,000 people were reportedly killed since the 21-month revolt erupted, and about 1.2 million Syrians have been displaced within the country, according to figures produced by the United Nations.

Throughout this period, many defections have occurred within the Assad regime as well as within the ranks of his former army. A resistance front made up of rebel military officials has been formed and is now known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The opposition has successfully been able to eliminate other key figures of the Syrian regime, causing the previously rock-solid rule of the House of Assad to tremble in a way that it has never experienced since Bashar’s father (and late Syrian president), Hafez, claimed power in 1971.