Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has expressed willingness to grant Syrian President Bashar Assad
asylum when the latter's regime is ousted, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal reported Monday. The publication is associated with movements opposing the regime in Damascus.
As the civil war in Syria drags on, it appears that Tehran no longer believes that Assad will be able to hold on to power. Larijani reportedly made the remarks while discussing the Syrian president's future with officials in Iraq.
"Larijani honestly told senior Iraqi officials that Iran will continue to stand by Assad," the paper quoted a source familiar with the meeting.
"(...) Larijani emphasized Tehran's commitment to support Syria until the end, and expressed willingness to host Assad in case matters reach the point of no return," the paper added.
Larijani (Photo: EPA)
According to report, the Iranian parliament speaker conveyed the same message on behalf of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during his last meeting with the embattled Syrian leader. Assad did not respond to the offer, saying only that he faces two options: Death or victory.
The source told Al-Mustaqbal that Larijani's tone indicated his visit to Damascus one of farewell.
Meanwhile, the Syrian air force continued to pound rebel bases in suburbs of Damascus. At least 56 were killed in the clashes on Sunday night, including 27 civilians. The Syrian news agency SANA also reported that a car bomb exploded in Homs, killing 15 civilians.