Defection of Assads mother seen as sign of regime falling apart

Aniseh Makhlouf who holds a "Queen of Hearts" card on Al Arabiya's "Lion's Den" has defected. (Al Arabiya)

President Bashar al-Assad’s mother Aniseh Makhlouf and other members of his inner circle have fled to the United Arab Emirates as the regime of the embattled president appeared to disintegrate, recent reports confirmed.

Aniseh has joined her daughter, Bushra, who had previously fled to Dubai, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat quoted Robert Ford, U.S. ambassador to Syria until the break of the relations between the two countries.

Aniseh, the widow of late president Hafez al-Assad, is believed to be in her late seventies.

Her daughter Bushra fled Syria with her children following the killing of her husband Assef Shawkat who was the deputy Minister of Defense of Syria. He was killed in a targeted operation by opposition forces in July 2012.

Ford was also quoted by CNN earlier this week as saying: "Members of the regime, little by little, are flaking off.” “They themselves know they are losing," he added, stressing that Aniseh’s latest escape to UAE was a sign that Assad’s regime was crumbling.

Syrian residents in the Gulf emirate said Bushra had enrolled her five children at a private school in Dubai where she had moved in September.

Analysts say that Assad is increasingly relying on the tightly-knit circle surrounding him, which includes Maher, his only brother still alive and who commands the army’s notorious Fourth Brigade.

Assad’s two other brothers Bassel and Majd are dead. The embattled president also relies on relatives from his mother’s side, analysts say.

A large number of businessmen and wealthy Syrians who had close ties with the regime have fled the deadly bloodshed in Syria to Dubai in the past few months.

More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria’s 22-month conflict, according to the United Nations.

The conflict has sent some 600,000 people fleeing the country, most of them to neighboring countries, according to the world body.

Aniseh Makhlouf holds a "Queen of Hearts" card on Al Arabiya's "Lion's Den"; an interactive info-graphic gallery which features and tracks prominent members of the Syrian regime and Assad's inner circle.

The deck of cards offers systematic updates on the "status" of listed and emerging figures of the Assad’s regime.

[To know about the latest defections inside the Syrian regime, follow us on The Lion’s Den][http://english.alarabiya.net/index/static/lionsden_en]

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Last Update: 15:08 KSA 18:08 - GMT 15:08
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